Trump Versus Everyone
Who trumps whom?
The apologists are out in full force. Liberals, Democrats, Republicans (both “Conservatives” and Party Leftists), media pundits, and bloggers have called for Donald Trump’s apology. Many even want his head! Over what? Trump committed the mortal crime of suggesting that John McCain was not a war hero. Actually, Trump acknowledged that he was probably a war hero, but only because he got captured, not because of an overt act of heroism. I think he has a point – and so do a lot of other veterans.
There are three dynamics at work here. The first, is the idea that anything connected with military service must be revered. Like the mandatory guilt that white people are obliged to feel over the issue of slavery, the treatment of Vietnam veterans has given rise to a similar guilt over treatment of our military – even mandatory adulation in all cases. The term “hero” is loosely tossed around to anyone serving, when they themselves would be the first to deny such a characterization. The elevation to hero status of Sgt. Bergdahl is an example of how that can go wrong. Sometimes, things are not what they appear to be and it’s essential to get all the facts.
The second dynamic is the knee-jerk over-reaction tendency fostered by the 24-hour news cycle, and exacerbated by the presence of social media. Couple that with the tendency to take statements out of context, or to ignore the full remarks, and it’s easy to turn a lit match into a bonfire. And bonfires make for better headlines. This is especially true with media response to remarks made by conservatives; much more understanding is afforded Liberals, who simply “misspeak,” or “mis-remember.”
The third dynamic is the “condemn-apologize-forget” cycle that has been honed to perfection in the political arena. One can say almost anything, as long as the transgression is followed by a public “mea culpa.” There will, of course, be hollow demands that the transgressor resign, meet with the offended person or group offended by the slur, and take classes in sensitivity or donate money to a related cause. Opponents of the transgressor are expected (often demanded) to show feigned outrage and condemn the offending remarks, thereby elevating their own moral standing.
Well, the American voters – including veterans – are getting tired of the games politicians and media play.
Why Trump is Appealing?
The “experts” have been predicting that Trump will fizzle out; that he is a temporary phenomenon and that has no staying power. Are they wrong?
The country is in trouble and the people know it. There are likely 20 million people here illegally. Trump pulls no punches in pointing it out. The “professionals” want to ignore it, claim that deportation is impractical, punishment is unfair and STILL do nothing about solving the problem.
The country is $18 trillion in debt. It is only on this basis that the stock market has performed well, corporate profits have risen and a modest recovery in jobs has occurred. It’s an apparition. Donald Trump points it out while the “professionals” choose not to discuss it.
The Iran “deal” is a joke, and a very dangerous one indeed. Trump will call it what it is and reject it out of hand, as any thinking person would. The professionals will fuss over nuances and worry about Obama vetoing their actions – and let it pass to the detriment of the American public and the world.
Republicans were elected in overwhelming numbers in the past two elections and what have they done?., Nothing. Trump knows this and the American people know this. Trump points it out, while the “professionals” continue to do nothing.
Congress receives an 8-9% approval rating and the same people who have overseen its activities for the past 20 years are still there; and a number of them now want to be president. Experience in politics is turning out to be a weak predictor of accomplishment. Trump is laying the blame squarely on the “professionals” and the people know that that is where the blame belongs.
THE CORRUPT POLITICAL PROCESS
The public is fed up. They are fed up with the political elite, the media elite and the Hollywood elite. They are tired of “experts” telling them how things are better when they know things are not. They are unemployed, or underemployed, or working two part-time jobs while experts tell them unemployment is down. They buy eggs and milk and gas, and they pay utility bills that tell a different picture of inflation than the official version. They see vast wealth acquired by paper pushers, many of whom are bureaucrats and politicians while they struggle to keep their homes. They don’t believe politicians anymore. Trump is not a politician.
It’s all about money – how much you can extort from donors, and how much you can return in benefits to them. Trump is a multi-billionaire. He doesn’t need the money, but he does know how the game is played. $1 billion seems to be the new price tag of a presidency, but by funding much of his own campaign, Trump can say he is less beholden to special interests. People like that. Having all the money and none of the answers may not work anymore.
Playing by rules. People are fed up with a genteel congress that smiles and tips hats to each other while accomplishing nothing worthwhile for the country or its people. They’d prefer some healthy dissonance and positive achievement. Trump raises hell, and gets things done.
Experience is not an indicator of performance; it simply enables self-service. People don’t want to hear how long you have been there; they want to know what you have done! They are tired of platitudes and phony accomplishments. Trump says what he means, and means what he says. That is a refreshing change from the status quo.
Changed views; wrong views. Trump has flip-flopped on his views, and even political party. So what – they all have. Obama was against gay marriage before he was for it. Most of the country agrees with Trump’s assessments on illegal immigration, veterans care, and a strong military; he simply needs to refine those views and present them as concrete initiatives. To the degree Trump can put aside that which is perceived as favoring “big business” (of which he is a part), he may garner more support for his positions. His next attacks should be on the obscene tax system, the size and regulatory abuses of the federal government, and the violations of personal freedom. It wouldn’t hurt to flip-flop on the 2nd Amendment, on which he has been luke-warm.
Governor versus Senator versus Outsider/Businessman. Both public positions enable power garnered from spending the public treasury, as opposed to private funds.. Efficiency, effectiveness and responsibility don’t seem to enter into the process in the public arena as they do in the private sector. Perhaps it’s time for a new source of experience altogether.
Damaging the Republican Brand. The GOP “brand” has been damaged by years of Party cronyism by the likes of McConnell, Boehner, Graham, and Hatch. There is nothing that Trump could do to cause more harm to the Republicans. He is not sucking oxygen out of the room; he is breathing in fresh air that is sorely needed! Americans don’t want another political suck-up; only Party leaders do. That leads to effective control of the Party, but it results in lousy leadership of the country.
Enlarging the tent. Pandering to special interests has not worked well, nor should it. Trump knows the way to attract minority voters is to give them results that affect their lives too: jobs, family and neighborhood security, and real economic growth. All the politicians talk about creating jobs; Trump is the only one doing any actual hiring!
Electability. If Obama did one positive thing it is that he showed ANYONE could be elected president. He was the least qualified candidate in history. He ran on hype; on hope and change. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he ran in the primary against Ms. Clinton who was equally unqualified. And frustrations of the Bush era seem miniscule when considering the legacy Obama is leaving to his successor.
The Little Guy. Even though he is a billionaire, Trump is perceived as the underdog. The more the Party hates him and the more the media derides him, the more the public rallies to his cause. He is the American ice hockey team playing against the Russians – and when he wins, the crowd goes wild. The experts STILL seem not to have figured that out. They may not until after he takes the oath of office.
Third Party Threat. One thing that could derail the Trump train to success could be any talk of a Third Party run. People love a winner, they detest a sore loser. Playing the part of spoiler by running – or even discussing a run – as a Third Party candidate will be poison for Trump. Either he wins or he loses – as a Republican. If he plays it smart, his odds look better than most.
THE REPUBLICAN COMPETITION
The “Establishment: More of the Same”
These are the “Establishment Republicans” who have been running the country for the past 60 years – running it into the ground. Their solutions and ideas are pedestrian, more of the same and the reason the country is in the mess that it is in. They are yet another version of George Bush; they are little distinguished from Democrats with whom they seek to work in “bi-partisanship” (though Democrats show little such inclination when they are in power). These are the candidates of the Republican Party, the US Chamber of Commerce and the mainstream media. They MUST not win.
Religious Right: Preaching the Solution
These are also “establishment Republicans,” but with a strong reliance on religion and values. Their appeal is polarized, depending on whether voters believe that government should be dictating personal behavior and values, or whether government ought to maintain broad societal norms, and butt out of personal choices and behavior. Americans are Godly people with Christian traditions, but they don’t like “holier-than-thou” leadership.
The Real Deal: True Conservatives
These are the “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” true conservative Republicans. They have the bold ideas, the youthful energy and the commitment to founding principles to return the country to its traditions and greatness. It is from this group that the next president SHOULD come. Trump could fit in, but it remains to be seen.
Nice Guys: Finishing Last
These are the “Mr. Rogers” of the candidate pool. They are nice, intelligent and accomplished. They simply lack the persona of strength, conviction and purpose required of a leader. People like Washington and Reagan didn’t simply possess the respect of others – they commanded it. When dealing with adversaries like Putin and the Mullahs of the Middle East, a commander-in-chief better damn well look like one and act like one. These gentlemen just don’t.
Trump: Lots of Cash, Brash and Willing to Trash
Trump is in a category by himself. He has no political experience, has some questionable and conflicting views, and has an ego that may limit surrounding himself with the best people. He resonates with a large portion of the American public, yet turns off an equal or greater number. Of course, Hillary has the same issue but that is largely ignored by the media and the “experts.” Do not count him out.
Tweedle-Dumb and Tweedle-Just Plain Stupid
Take your pick: Obama Socialist, Mere Leftist, Hard Core Progressive, or Democrat Socialist. Whichever you like, you will have more big government, more “nanny state,” more destruction of traditional values, more vulnerability to attack, more damage to education, more taxes, more economic doldrums, more Muslim atrocities, more racism, and more America in decline. This country can’t afford even four more years of this ideology. Democrats need to return to the tradition of Harry Truman and JFK if they are to become relevant again; they can’t move any further Left.
The Most Dangerous Woman in America
No, I don’t know why either. She remains unqualified by accomplishment, untrusted by her actions, and uninspiring by her nature. Still, she is the champion of the Left.
Ho-Hum: The Rest
They appear to be there only to give a sense that this is a competition, and not a coronation. It’s not working.
Progressive Establishment: Waiting in the Wings
If Hillary gets elected to jail, instead of to office, it is a certainty that either or both of these will become candidates. Who knows, even Al Gore may resurrect himself.
Trump is real. He is in the race to win and is not to be underestimated. Neither are the American people, who see something in Donald Trump they have not seen for a very long time. It is important to remember that this country was founded by people a lot more like Trump than the “polished” and “experienced” candidates to which we have become accustomed. There is a lot more love for John Adams than for John McCain – and Trump knows that. It is a serious mistake to think that he cannot prevail; as serious as it was to think the Americans could not win against the British.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right.”
- Thomas Paine