Watching the Machiavellian-esque tactics that led to the rise of Donald Trump as the front-runner for the GOP nomination for President of the United States, I ask myself: why did it take me so long to dust off the keyboard and write another blog that some 4 people are going to read?
All whinging aside, spewing my opinions into the blogosphere is the least I can do (literally). And while I do not support Trump in anyway whatsoever, this is not about bashing him. This is about looking at his understanding of the presidency, issues facing our country, and other substantive platforms of his campaign as he has presented them during the debates, interviews, and on his website.
Note: As readers of this blog well know, I normally source my quotes with direct links. However, I refuse to give Trump any more free air time, so you can check my sources with the Great Google, but rest assured, they are direct quotes with all relevant context.
First, he seems to have a flawed understanding of the presidency and how the Executive Branch works in conjunction with the other two branches.
If he becomes president, Trump vows to “open up our libel laws” so “we can sue them and win lots of money.” Putting aside the fact that one of his apparent goals as President of the United States is to “win money,” the president doesn’t actually get to write or amend laws. That’s the job of Congress (the Legislative Branch). As part of the Executive, his job is to ensure the land’s laws are enforced. That’s two different things.
Trump also states that “On day one of the Trump administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare.” Perhaps he is unaware of the 60 times this has been tried by the GOP (tried and failed). Perhaps he is unaware of the non-binding nature of such a request (again, 2 separate branches). Most importantly, perhaps he–and many of his supporters–are unaware of the benefits they’ll be stripped of should the Affordable Healthcare Act actually be repealed (like actually having insurance to cover their expenses).
Second, he seems to misunderstand the Constitution and its Bill of Rights.
One of only 6 issues stated for his platform, the 2nd Amendment comes in second-to-last on his list. Trump avows: “The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Period.” But, of course, that’s not what it actually says. The Amendment begins with the clause “A well-regulated Militia,” and for more than 2 centuries, the Supreme Court made this important distinction for the regulation of arms by the Federal government. Not until 2008 did the (activist) Court reinterpret the Constitution as applying to the individual. But I guess one only complains about “activist” courts when they go against one’s own opinions.
He (among others) also likes to call out those who protest at his rallies as violating his own right to free speech, this also isn’t correct. The First Amendment protects against the government restricting a person’s speech (which it did not against Trump), and at the same time charges the government to protect other’s ability to speak out and simultaneously not be “vetoed” by protesters (which it protected on both accounts). If Trump decided to cancel because he could not handle the protesters, then that’s on him, not the government, and certainly not the protesters.
Third, while he “knows words” and has “the best words,” he still seems to have trouble with the meaning of his words.
Recently he referred to “Bernie, our communist friend.” Communism is a political philosophy, while Senator Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist. The former is a centralized government that has no private property, the latter is a push for social equality within a capitalist economic system (admittedly with Sanders’ self-clarification). None of Sanders’ issues, stances, or speeches indicate his preference for the tenets of Communism.
He also called the US media “the most dishonest people in the world.” While he may be accurate with some networks (Fox News is a notable example), his statement is clearly and wildly ridiculous at face value. Has he not listened to anything coming out of North Korea? Saudi Arabia’s “Anti-Witchcraft Unit”? (Yeah, that’s a real thing with a hang up about Harry Potter). Disney movies?
Further, Trump consistently calls our military “very weak,” and steadily “being decimated.” Even though top-ranking military personnel disagree with him (and tell Congress to stop buying equipment they don’t need), the numbers are telling: in 2015, the US spent more on the nation’s military than the next SEVEN nations combined. How can this possibly be called “weak” or “decimated?”
Finally, Trump calls himself a “unifier” of people. Yet he plans to build a wall to keep out Mexicans; ban Muslim immigrants (and put those in the country into a database); and calls women “dogs” and “ugly,” reduces their existence to a “young and beautiful piece of ass,” and justifies sexual assaults against them in the military. Having offended more than half the US population, who exactly is Trump unifying?
Fourth, and perhaps most disturbingly, Trump not only overestimates the threat of terrorist groups (like ISIS), but also advocates engaging in war crimes against the families of those groups’ members.
Since 2001, some 3,066 (or 3,380) Americans have been killed by terrorist attacks (the vast majority of which–2,902–occurred during the attacks on 9/11 itself). By contrast, during the same period, more than 400,000 Americans have been killed in the US by firearms. Every year, between 32,000 and 42,000 people die in automobile accidents. On average, for the past 15 years, more people in the US have died from bee stings per year than terrorist attacks. Yet there has been no campaign against driving or to eradicate bees. There has been a campaign to loosen the laws surrounding the very instrument of US deaths that outpaces terrorist attacks by a factor of 100. Of course, there is no convenient “other” to blame or direct our anger against in most of these cases (though I’m sure we’ll soon hear about building a giant net to protect us against the notorious African Killer Bees). Fear is a big motivator, but inevitably leads to poor decisions and policies (and the radicalization of even more terrorists).
Part of Trump’s campaign against ISIS is that “you have to take out their families.” The targeting of civilians is against the Geneva Conventions (of which the US is a signer), and charges for such crimes have been brought against such illustrious groups as the Taliban, North Korea, and the Nazis. Officers in the military have already voiced their opposition to such orders, and declared that their soldiers would refuse to follow such illegal orders. Trump rebutted by saying “they’re not going to refuse me. Believe me.” Let that sink in: Trump, as president, would plan on attempting to strong-arm the military into illegally targeting and killing civilian women and children.
And just try and ignore the irony of Trump advocating the exact same thing that an extremist cleric preaches (though the latter actually has the caveat that “killing women and children is usually not permissible”). Yes, Trump and terrorists want to use the same tactics against each other.
I could go on, but I’m weary–and you probably are, too. (Although comparing the clinical symptoms of Narcissism and Trump quotes would make for an illuminating drinking game, it would inevitably end in a blackout due to the copious amounts of alcohol one would have to imbibe).
This tirade isn’t about how others would be a better president (that’s a different post to look through THAT thorny problem), but rather about how Trump would make a very poor, dangerous, and seemingly amoral president. The election of the President of the United States is not a reality show, and we need to stop treating it as such.
I realize that Trump resonates for a lot of people out there, be it with their anger, misconceptions, or just plain prejudiced views. That anger, pain, and confusion are very real, and it will remain a wound in our nation’s psyche if we can’t begin to address and heal our citizens’ anxiety, whatever form it takes.