It's a major principle of military strategy to encourage your opponent to commit the bulk of his forces to attack you at your strongest point. This pins them in place, fixing their attention and resources while the rest of your forces sweep into the opponent's weaker flanks, left with little or no support.
There are some who think this type of strategy is confined to the military battlefield, which is a mistake, because if war is as Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz wrote, "A continuation of politics by other means," then the converse would seem to be true — politics is a type of war and the tactics in one are also useful in the other.
Consider the situation with congressional impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Democrats continue to attempt to force the president into their congressional committee stronghold, hoping this will hold him in place while they attack from all other directions.
It's an increasingly desperate move as public interest with the process slips away and House Democrats realize that without the president's participation they can't restrict him or attract interest. Instead they are the ones glued in position while he is free to move and tweet at will.
Some have a better understanding of the strategy. While most are fixated on national politics and tedious sideshows, they are changing fundamental approaches to governance in America.
Unsurprisingly, a major player in this flanking movement from the left is billionaire and social engineering enthusiast George Soros.
Up until a few years ago, he and groups associated with him were pouring money into secretary of state elections, to place their choice of candidate into offices that set the rules for voting and do the counting.
They had some success there and in the last three years they've turned their attention to local races for district attorney or states' attorney equivalents.
Mr. Soros has discovered that instead of directly changing a state's laws, it's simpler and often cheaper to capture the offices that enforce them. After all, if a law isn't enforced, for all practical purposes it doesn't exist.
So he and groups associated with him have been pouring large amounts of money into races that traditionally weren't that expensive, surprising opponents and placing people in office whose agendas are very different from the usual law-and-order candidates who compete for those positions.
For example, this last election, thanks to Mr. Soros and like-minded progressives, San Francisco's new chief prosecutor is a former public defender, Hugo Chavez translator and son of radical Weather Underground parents imprisoned in 1981 for their part in an armed car robbery resulting in three deaths. He was raised by two other former Weather Underground members, Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.
His platform is unusual for a district attorney, even in San Francisco, stating he does not intend to prosecute so-called quality-of-life crimes such as, public urination and defecation, prostitution and camping in public. He does not have a terrific relationship with law enforcement as typified by a supportive city supervisor who led the chant of "---- the police" at his victory party.
This is not an aberration. It's been happening at various places across the United States, like the four most populous counties in Virginia, which just elected Soros-backed, progressive DAs who promised to stop prosecuting marijuana possession, asking for the death penalty, cooperating with immigration authorities and asking for cash bail.
The political action committee funded by Soros also spent $1.7 million on the election of a likeminded Philadelphia district attorney and had put more than $408,000 toward the election of the Chicago prosecutor involved in the Jussie Smollett case.
There is a lesson here for everyone interested in political change — don't get lured into fighting the battle where your opponent wants it fought while they slowly win the battle elsewhere.
Meanwhile, in Colorado there was much time and effort put into trying to recall the governor which required such an enormous amount of signatures to be gathered in a short amount of time it made it very difficult to succeed. All this distraction drew attention away from a much more achievable flank attack of stopping the agenda by putting that effort into defeating a couple of vulnerable state senators.
Lastly, when considering tactics think efficiency and frugality. Soros and like-minded groups struck conservatives' unprotected flank and changed the application of law for more Americans than live in the state of Colorado — and likely spent about half what Jared Polis personally paid to be elected governor.
Rick Wagner is a Grand Junction attorney. Email him at email@example.com. His weekly political talk show airs on KNZZ 1100 AM/92.7 FM on Saturdays at noon.