One doesn’t need to completely understand physics to be aware of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. It was first articulated by German physicist Werner Heisenberg in 1927 and it states “that the position and velocity of an object cannot be measured exactly, at the same time, even in theory.” In other words, you can know where an object is, or you can know how fast it is going, but you cannot know both facts at the same time. This means something to physicists. I’m a bit uncertain about it.
But within the realm of political science, and politics, there should be, and probably will be, a proposal for the Trump Uncertainty Principle. You may know where he stands on a given issue, but you cannot know for how long he will maintain that position. And you cannot know both concepts at the same time.
As a prime example of the Trump Uncertainty Principle, let’s take immigration and DACA. Throughout his campaign, Trump vigorously supported the concepts of restricted immigration, building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico (that Mexico would pay for) and deporting everyone who was in the country illegally, including those who had been brought here as children by their parents. First he began wavering on the wall. After repeated statements from current and former leaders of Mexico that they were not going to pay for his wall, he decided to have the American taxpayers pay for it, and that “somehow” Mexico would reimburse us later. Ann Coulter, author of the book “In Trump We Trust” learned that Trump could not be trusted and had major conniption fits all over the news and on social media.
Then Trump decided to rescind Obama’s executive order regarding the status of DACA children and sent out his Attorney General Jeff Sessions to announce this decision in a major press conference. “Great” shouted his supporters, including the leaders of the GOP in Congress. “Boo” shouted most of the rest of the nation over this heartless act. Trump first lobbed the ball into Congress’s court and said they had six months to act. Wait, what? He wasn’t going to enforce it immediately?
Then following a dinner meeting at the White House that involved both the GOP and Democrat leaders, Trump sent out the following tweet – at the request of Nancy Pelosi:
For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about – No action!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2017
To add insult to the already injured feelings of the Ann Coulters, Sean Hannitys, and Mike Levins of the world, he made this concession to the Dems without receiving any assurances for funding of his precious wall. (Politico)
Next let’s take a look at Trump’s comments on the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. While Trump is known to tweet at the drop of a hat on just about anything, it took him several days to make a comment on the clashes between neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups and counter-protesters that ended with the death of a young woman by one of the neo-Nazis. His first comments were that there was blame “on many sides.” After outrage at his defense of the white supremacists by saying “there were some good people” there, he was forced to make an uncomfortable, scripted statement retracting these words. But it didn’t take more than a couple of days before he was back to saying that people “on both sides” were to blame for the violence.
The list of position changes by Donald Trump is unending. Remember the chants of “lock her up” during his campaign rallies? But immediately after the election he said that Clinton had gone through enough and he wasn’t going to pursue criminal charges against her.
The Trump Uncertainty Principle is now undeniable. You can only be sure of his position on any given topic the exact time that he makes it. But you cannot measure how he will proceed or if he will change it once again. No doubt his presidency will be studied in depth by the political scientists of the future. Are his inconsistencies the result of his lack of understanding of the issues, or is he just plain lying? Most likely both. But it would be in the interests of all Americans if any new healthcare legislation provided coverage for political whiplash.