Monday, August 13, 2018

OK, this is really starting to look culty

Trump recently doubled down on his earlier Tweet-attack on Harley-Davidson. This time, he basically called for a boycott of Harley-Davidson.

To be clear, no Harley-Davidson competitors are choosing to manufacture bikes in the U.S. because of Trump's trade war. In fact Indian, which most people seem to think will be the beneficiary of any Harley boycott, will also be shifting some manufacturing to Poland. But Trump's not lacing into Polaris. I wonder why?

Forget the fundamentally Bizarro-world situation of a sitting President calling for the boycott of a venerable American company – this looks more and more like the behavior of a cult leader, not a mere politician.

In every cult, there's a moment where the leader forces his followers to give up something they dearly love. It's often money;but it could be foods followers love, or sex – or followers might even have to give their spouse to the cult leader.

What the followers have to give up doesn't matter, as long as it's something they love. You wouldn't think that such a request from the Dear Leader would strengthen bonds with his followers, but it does, because it puts the followers in a sunk-cost dilemma.

Once Trump's followers choose him over their beloved Harleys, they'll be his for life.

Could it backfire? Sure. If someone pushed back effectively, they could make the GOP pay by costing it a seat or two in Wisconsin. I can't really see Matt Levatich taking that assignment on – he's got enough on his plate right now. But a smart Wisconsin Democrat could use Harley-Davidson as leverage to weaken GOP support in a critical swing state.