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TRUMP!

Finally! A Republican candidate who is not embarrassed by his success but actually constantly cites it as why he should be president. Finally, a candidate who is not ashamed of his wealth but constantly reminds everyone how much he has. Finally, a candidate who does not talk in canned, pre-determined sound bites focus grouped to death. Finally, a true outsider candidate who says what the voters have been saying for years: to hell with DC and the DC political class! Finally, a candidate willing to take on the liberal media, the activists, and a man completely emboldened in a debate on illegal immigration to actually make the distinction between legal and illegal immigration. Finally, a candidate who is not cowed by political correctness nor shamed by people claiming to be “offended”—indeed, he seems to be fueled by offense. This man is no Mitt Romney, nor yet a John Boehner or Mitch McConnell, or (God forbid) a George W. Bush. This man is Donald Trump! He is the man the voters of America have been crying for all these years, a man who will dispense with the nonsense and bullshit proffered by politicians, the man who will speak the truth, the man who will knock The Establishment on its ass and make America great again!

But why must it be Donald Trump? How is it that the one person in the entirety of America who has the means, will, and wherewithal to run this style of campaign Donald f*cking Trump? How is it that to run the campaign that will finally restore substance to presidential politics is the least substantive man in America? Sure, Donald slays the political BS that has infected every politician to travel to the swamp of Washington DC, but Trump replaces that bland, flaccid, meaningless BS with his own turgid invective, a different variety of BS but one that is equally BS.

When asked for evidence, he demurs, but who needs evidence for his claims when half the electorate already believes what he is saying? He speaks in platitudes yet he uses the right words, words the electorate themselves use, confirming their biases and affirming their beliefs. He plays to their ignorance and in so doing comes off as ignorant himself, but if there is one thing Donald Trump isn’t, it has to be ignorant. I have to believe that deep down, this entire act is just that—an act, carefully coordinated and carefully planned, but served up as ever with typically Trump panache and made to look like he is just making it up as he goes along.

Yet, to call Trump supporters ignorant is to miss the greater point. Undoubtedly, some of them are ignorant, but so are many Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters, but ignorance does not entirely explain the Trump phenomenon, nor does Trump’s pandering to nationalist sentiments. No…while I do think this is an emotional outburst, it has some real grievances belying it.

Trump’s candidacy is that of a petulant child’s; from the rhetoric to the stated goals, aims, and methods, it is as if an overgrown child were running for president. How’s Trump going to whip Putin into shape? Throw a tantrum. Yet the support behind Trump too is a tantrum. It is the Republican electorate telling the Republican Party: fuck you. The GOP voters are tired of phony candidates using phony words to talk about their phony conservatism, candidates who once elected either do nothing they said they would or go completely against their stated principles. So in the quest for honesty and a real fire-breather, the turned to Trump—a man who’s finely tuned ear for opportunity sensed a gap in the marketplace of ideas and GOP candidates, and boy did he fill it.

As much as I think Trump is as phony as all the other candidates, I am disturbed by how appealing he is even to me. I too like the message he sends to the political elites, and I definitely like how he has changed the verbiage used in political conversation. For too long, conservatives and even libertarians, have been forced to use the left’s preferred language in the debate about illegal immigration—conflating legal and immigration and erasing the line between the two, implying that to be against one is to be against both, and that all immigrants are perfectly good people seeking only a better life, and that to be in favor of an organized, coherent, and enforced system of legal immigration is somehow to be “anti-immigrant”.  Trump has smashed that paradigm completely—and in so doing has brought the widespread sentiments of many Americans to the fore. He has mentioned the fact that not all of the many immigrants who come to America are entirely wholesome people, that some of them do commit crimes or smuggle drugs. Trump made it clear that not every immigrant was a criminal or rapist, but, as usual, the activists, the professionally and permanently offended, the career politicians, and even many journalists have proliferated the slander that Trump is anti-immigrant who thinks all immigrants are rapists. As a big businessman, I guarantee you Trump is not; he loves the idea of being able to import a permanent underclass who will obey his every fruitful command lest he arrange to have them deported.

I am not a fan of Trump or his immigration policy. Building a wall along the entire 2000+ mile border is impractical and likely would be ineffective at any rate; his plan to deport some 12 million illegals is likewise completely impractical, and moreover, not every illegal immigrant should be deported, not even most of them—only those, in my opinion, who have committed serious crimes or who have taken advantage of our welfare system should be deported, the same standards found in Europe. Nevertheless, his is a refreshing breath of new life into a stale debate. Whether anything good actually comes of it remains to be seen.

And that is more or less how his candidacy should be viewed: wait and see whether anything good actually comes of it. As of now, Trump has proved surprisingly invulnerable to anything and everything that is thrown at him by those who dislike him. Trump enjoys widespread support among the GOP base, and if the primaries were held today, Trump might win. Even in a few months, Trump may end up the nominee. That is an exceedingly unlikely possibility, but it is possible, however remote. However, it is almost certain that Trump will withdraw before then. I don’t think Trump really wants to be President—I don’t know for sure, as peering into Donald Trump’s mind is the scariest thing imaginable.

-SL

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2 Comments

  1. […] of all, if you can’t guess, I am very much anti-Trump. While I was for a time willing to tolerate his presence on the political stage and thought that it might even be healthy for our otherwise stale politics, […]

  2. […] and dismissed out of hand. Several weeks ago—shortly before the first caucuses/primaries—I considered Trump to be a mixed bag; sure there were lots of things about Trump I disliked, but I thought he may yet do some good or, […]

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