Enough has been written about how Donald Trump is breaking or rewriting or ignoring all the rules. Or operating in 3 dimensions while everyone else is operating in 2 dimensions.

I see something in Trump, though, that is very familiar to me. It’s the concept of creating chaos in your opponent’s house as a revolutionary tactic.  Or to put it another way, being a disrupter.

The now deceased Abbie Hoffman and Trump seemingly have little in common. While Hoffman rejected capitalism Trump embraces it.

Yet they both employed the same tactic. Hoffman tried to create chaos in the economic system, but never really succeeded. Trump has succeeded in creating utter chaos in everyone else’s house (Republican Party, Fox News, other candidates, basically anyone who crosses his path).  

That’s only half the equation, though. It’s not just enough to create chaos in others. The second part is to create community within your own house. Hoffman never was good at that; in business Trump has been good at building his own house.

I first wrote about this just after Obama took office, using a passage from Hoffman’s book, Steal This Book. (Text here) Here’s my post, from February 9, 2009, “Steal This Country”:

As an early teen, I was fascinated with Abbie Hoffman’s “Steal This Book.” The book, by the 60’s radical Yippie, was a guide to using the capitalist system to destroy the capitalist system. Hoffman gave advice on how to cheat various institutions, such as the post office (e.g., mail an envelope to yourself without a stamp, with the return address of the person you want it to go to, and the post office will send it “back” to the returnee for free) all with the goal of disrupting civil society. For someone growing up in a nice suburb, this was mind-blowing stuff.

The introduction to Steal This Book lays out the philosophy of how to destroy the system from within by attacking those who benefit from capitalism (the “rich”) to give to all others by creating chaos:

Steal This Book is, in a way, a manual of survival in the prison that is Amerika. It preaches jailbreak. It shows you where exactly how to place the dynamite that will destroy the walls.

The first section-SURVIVE!-lays out a potential action program for our new Nation. The chapter headings spell out the demands for a free society. A community where the technology produces goods and services for whoever needs them, come who may. It calls on the Robin Hoods of Santa Barbara Forest to steal from the robber barons who own the castles of capitalism. It implies that the reader already is “ideologically set,” in that he understands corporate feudalism as the only robbery worthy of being called “crime,” for it is committed against the people as a whole. Whether the ways it describes to rip-off shit are legal or illegal is irrelevant. The dictionary of law is written by the bosses of order. Our moral dictionary says no heisting from each other. To steal from a brother or sister is evil.To not steal from the institutions that are the pillars of the Pig Empire is equally immoral.

Community within our Nation, chaos in theirs; that is the message of SURVIVE!

Steal This Book

The thing is, the chaos never got Hoffman very far, despite some fame. Ultimately the chaos consumed his own house too.

Similarly, just because Trump has succeeded so far in creating chaos in everyone else’s house doesn’t mean the chaos won’t consume Trump’s campaign as well.