Of Bridge And Presidential Politics

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Bridge is a popular card game, not so much for Millennials who prefer Candy Crush, but for their parents and grandparents. It has two main parts, bidding and play. Bidding is a process of deciding what you can do with the cards you have been dealt. Play is where you actually do what you bid.

Similar to politics, bidding is the primary process. Prospective nominees use the cards they have been dealt, meaning their positions, past statements, experience, and smarts, to craft a campaign and win their party’s nomination. The play is winning the actual election.

One interesting bridge bid is the 5 Notrump bid, which for bridge aficionados means “forcing to slam.” In politics as in bridge, Donald Trump’s bid to become President has aroused the ire of five noteworthy Republican presidential hopefuls, forcing them to slam The Donald.

First is Jeb Bush, who is “indignant” as “he takes Donald Trump’s remarks personally.” Second is Mitt Romney, calling Trump’s immigration remarks a “severe error.” Third is Marco Rubio, rejecting Trump’s comments as “offensive and inaccurate.” Fourth is Rick Perry, slamming Trump saying he “does not represent the Republican party.” Fifth, but not least, Chris Christie described The Donald’s words as “inappropriate.”

Good to see the establishment Republicans in a lather. Too bad their indignation is directed toward Donald Trump rather than toward Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. And Trump isn’t backing down either. Instead he is following Winston Churchill’s wisdom, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

5 Notrump also applies to five businesses folding like cheap suits and severing ties with Trump. Miss USA hosts and cohosts, Univision, NBC, Macy’s, and NASCAR. Yes the same NBC that reinstated Brian Williams and that gives a nightly voice to Al Sharpton has a problem with Donald Trump.

Bridge also has a term “dummy” referring to the partner of the winning bid. In politics, dummy might refer to politicians displaying faux outrage over Trump’s comments about illegals only to have it thrown back in their faces days later. Trump said about Mexico, “They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime.” Meaning that doctors, software engineers, and nuclear physicists aren’t crossing the border, but instead, “Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez — an undocumented immigrant, a repeat felon who has been deported five times to Mexico, according to immigration officials.”

Juan randomly shot 31-year-old Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier the other day. Will Mitt Romney call this a “severe error”? Will Marco Rubio describe the shooting as “offensive and inaccurate”? Will Jeb Bush be “indignant”? Ask Ms. Steinle’s parents whether Trump or the 5 Notrumps are the real dummies.

Finesse is a bridge term referring to tricking an opponent into wasting a good card. Did Mr. Trump finesse the 5 Notrumps into revealing their weakness on illegal immigration and the problems such immigration brings to America? When an illegal criminal who should be in prison in his home country murders the next Kate Steinle, it will be another finesse for The Donald.

Trump Fit in bridge refers to a player and partner having at least eight trump cards. In politics, a Trump Fit is the major media obsession since Trump announced his candidacy. Whether liberal Don Lemon on CNN, or Republican establishment cheerleaders on cable TV, everyone has their panties in a wad over Trump’s candid remarks. Was it because he was articulating an inconvenient and unspeakable truth? Or was it because his comments weren’t vetted by a bunch of political consultants and their focus groups, moderated to reflect tolerance, diversity, sensitivity, and sustainability?

Another applicable bridge term is void, meaning no cards in a suit. In politics and business, this is called an “empty suit.” While this may apply to most politicians, it is especially true for the 5 Notrumps as revealed by their politically expedient, but intellectually dishonest criticisms of Trump. If Mitt Romney demonstrated similar outrage during his presidential campaign, or if Governor Christie voiced such criticism of President Obama rather than hugging him days before the election, The Donald might be stumping for Romney’s reelection rather than pointing out the obvious flaws in current immigration policy.

The last bridge term is game forcing, a bid that requires continued bidding until game is reached. Trump may be doing just that. Will Donald Trump win the Republican nomination? Doubtful. But at least he discussing important issues that the other candidates prefer to be swept under the rug. And he is making enemies in the process. “I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made,” said FDR. If Trump can count among his enemies the five political and business Notrumps, he must be doing something right.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Twitter @retinaldoctor.