Donald Trump, Impeachment, and John Boyd's OODA Loop

This Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016 photo shows an Israeli Air Force F-15 plane in flight during a graduation ceremony for new pilots in the Hatzerim air force base near the city of Beersheba, Israel. Anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria into Israeli-controlled territory early on Friday, following a series of Israeli airstrikes inside Syria, the Israeli military said. The military said its warplanes struck several targets in Syria and were back in Israeli-controlled airspace when several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria toward the Israeli jets. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)


The late USAF Colonel John Boyd was a controversial figure in the Air Force. People loved him or hated him. No body heard his name and shrugged and said “meh, whatever.” He revolutionized the way that the Air Force looked a aerial warfare but his major contribution outside the very narrow milieu of fighter aircraft operations is what is known as the OODA Loop. OODA, short for observation, orientation, decision and action. This is basically what he means. You have to collect data by some sensory means (observation). Then you have to convert that data that is something meaningful in the context of what is happening. With that analysis/synthesis complete, you have to determine a course of action that you can carry out. And you have to act. Most organizations are pretty good at the first O. The second O may or may not happen because of personalities or biases. The D may never happen. Your chances of the A taking place are much less than being hit by lightning. The larger and more complex the organization is, the more likely it is to get bogged down while the people in charge of the second O demand more of the people doing the first O. This is what my wife the mechanical engineer calls “analysis paralysis.” The main idea is that the person or organization that can work its way through the OODA loop fastest can create a situation where your opponent is reacting to what you already did while you are able to anticipate your opponent’s future courses of action because you are limiting them by your current actions.

Right now, the Democrats are trying to screw up enough courage to undertake an impeachment hearing for President Trump. I say trying because there are a lot of egos involved and the 2020 election looms large. They are concerned about what their rabid frothing base does if they don’t impeach. They are concerned about what sane voters do if they insist on impeachment. Right now they are in sensory overload on the first O of the process. Not so with the Trump White House.

Donald Trump’s campaign aides expected months ago that Democrats would try to impeach the president — and he needed a way to exploit it.

So this summer, Trump 2020 officials spliced news clips of Democrats discussing impeachment into a 90-second video montage, punctuated by the president imploring supporters to help him “stop this nonsense.” Aides quietly filed the spot away until last week, when it was released as part of an online counteroffensive to the impeachment push that brought in 50,000-plus new donors and raked in $8.5 million in two days — the campaign’s biggest digital haul since its June launch.

The push demonstrates how Trump, in less than three years in office, has perfected a grievance machine that converts deep-seated outrage on the right into fundraising dollars and new support. As Trump confronts the gravest threat to his presidency yet, his campaign is stoking — and monetizing — the anger of a Republican base that has long seen the president as under siege.

With the White House choosing to forgo an impeachment-focused war room, much of the messaging is being outsourced to the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee. The two organizations, working closely with one another, have sent out dozens of statements, tweets, and video clips designed to cast the president as the prey of a Democratic Party out to destroy him. On Monday, the RNC unveiled a rapid response program focused on impeachment.

Not the key points. In a very short period of time they have analyzed the situation, decided that the best way of keeping unity in Congress is by firing up the Republican base rather than sucking , and they are working like maniacs to do that…and raising money in the process.

Compare and contrast:

Democrats have generally been more reluctant to fundraise off impeachment, though several Democratic candidates have sent out appeals tied to the investigation. Spokespersons for the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said they’d taken steps to raise money from their supporters but declined to provide specifics on how much they’d taken in.

Some Democrats express discomfort about the prospect of financially capitalizing off what they describe as a serious process.

“Democrats just aren’t as motivated and excited by the specter of removing the president as they are by soundly defeating him next year. And there’s a conscious effort to avoid overly politicizing a legal process,” said Daniel Scarvalone, a veteran Democratic digital strategist. “I wouldn’t be shocked if Democrats continued to tiptoe around the issue, because there just isn’t as much upside for it as there is for Republicans.”

This, of course, is bullsh**. The reason they are reluctant to capitalize on it is because they know their House majority is dependent upon a small number of Democrats who flipped GOP seats in Red and Purple districts and they don’t want to make those folks run on impeachment. They also know that about half the country opposes impeachment. And there is some truth in the fact that joyfully celebrating impeachment makes it look exactly like the shabby, scrofulous partisan act that it is rather than some high-minded defense of the Republic.

But that is only part of the story. The real story here is the way the Trump campaign can move from concept to action.

Brad Parscale had just boarded a Jet Blue flight earlier this month when the paper straw he was using ripped in half.

As he tried to keep his iced tea from spilling onto his suit, the annoyed Trump campaign manager tweeted that he was “so over paper straws.” Prodded by his wife not to leave it at that, Parscale emailed his staff from the air with an idea: Let’s sell plastic Trump straws.

In short order, the campaign sent an email to supporters with the subject line, “Making straws great again.” By the time Parscale landed in Florida, the presidential straws were already in production and an advertising campaign was up and running. The first batch sold out within hours.

No meetings. No focus groups. No consultations with enviro-whackos about what Greenpeace will think of this. Just see the opening and act.

Trump may be impeached by the House but he will not be convicted by the Senate. This certainty gives them options that the Democrats do not enjoy.

Unlike the 2016 campaign when Trump had to rely upon a wide variety of grifters to run his campaign–some foisted off on him by the GOPe and some who’d clung to him like lint to Velcro for sometime…he goes into 2020 surrounded by people he trusts and who’ve had their baptism of fire, who’ve spent their time in the pressure cooker. They are loyal and you don’t find the self-serving leaks coming out of Parscale’s operation that bedeviled Trump in 2016. In short, they have the ability to work inside OODA loop of the Democrats, to capitalize on blunders and to do damage control.

If Trump wins in 2020, the real story will be how his campaign was able to act with great decisiveness to good and bad news and turn it into votes and money.

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