Trump's political formula is brilliant, bold and effective

Trump understands that the left is driven by emotion Photos 1

Trump's opposition to flag burning only helps him, hurts Democrats

Justice Scalia joined with the majority opinion of the Supreme Court holding that flag burning represents protected speech, but he also said that if he were king he would ban flag burning. So Scalia essentially highlighted the supremacy of the rule of law while acknowledging his bias against flag burning.

Donald Trump seems to have played some version of this same game. Trump tweeted that flag burning should result in one year in jail or loss of citizenship. One can imagine, however, Trump saying in his next 60 Minutes interview that while he favors such sanctions for the act, he accepts the holding of the Court and defers to the rule of law.

It seems that Trump has chosen an area of controversy in which he has located a credible escape hatch, namely, the Scalia explanation for opposing flag burning. This escape hatch allows Trump to boldly state his opposition to flag burning, a position a majority of Americans share, while at the same time acknowledging his inability to impose such sanctions.

The Washington Post looked at this in an article titled, Donald Trump's basic position on flag-burning isn't really all that controversial. The author pointed out that polling from a decade ago, the most recent polling, showed a majority thought flag burning should be illegal. While they favored a legal ban, a majority opposed the method of a constitutional amendment to ban the practice. The author reasoned that there is little reason to assume public opinion has changed substantially.

It is a good bet that a majority still holds the opinion that the practice should be illegal but would oppose a constitutional amendment banning it. I surmise that many people view a constitutional amendment as warranted in only the most serious matters and only on rare occasions, almost never, and this issue does not arise to such status. I also surmise that while the American public would oppose a constitutional amendment it may in fact support the Court reversing its decision on this question, rendering such bans permissible by legislatures.

Either way, Trump is in a golden position. He gets to oppose the extraordinarily unpopular act of burning an American flag in stark terms, thereby garnering good will with a majority of Americans, while having no legal ability to do anything about it short of picking Supreme Court Justices who might reverse the Court's holding on the question. President-Elect Trump has already identified the pool of twenty-one candidates he will select from for the Court, so that hard part is done.

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Scalia said if he were king, he would ban flag burning, but he knows he's not king

The President-Elect, therefore, can reap the political reward of strongly advocating a majority position while his opposition protests his statement by doing what many Americans truly hate to see, burning the American flag. Elite opinion opposes Trump, so a normal politician might worry about offending the New York Times and other elite opinion institutions, but his entire candidacy represented a rejection of that very establishment, so he is free to utilize this political strategy.

Trumps opponents look terrible

People will remember these images of anger and rage because images stay with us better than words. Trump's tweet will not be remembered like these images of people burning flags will be, because it was in the written word, never spoken by him. To those who are not strong on this issue one way or the other, Trump will come out looking much better than his opposition. This is political jiu jitsu at its best.

After Stein appeal, Judge orders no hand-recount in Wisconsin   Romney's statement after dinner with President-Elect Trump Tuesday night   It looks like President-Elect Trump has found the man to replace Obamacare    Trump's flag desecration Tweet reflects a Clinton proposal 

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