Real estate mogul Donald Trump has taken the lead in the GOP presidential contest, but he won’t go all the way, or maybe even make it to the first primary. (Stu Burguiere won’t even mention him on air anymore.)
In fact, all the arguments I hear for supporting Trump overlook massive problems with what Trump stands for – if he stands for anything, which is ultimately the biggest hole in his candidacy.
Donald Trump makes presidential announcement at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Sands/Getty Images)
Let’s take a look one by one:
1. “Trump talks tough, fights back, speaks his mind, and tells it like it is.”
Sean Hannity has been one of the clearest in making this case, saying that Trump is a fighter – unlike the rest of the GOP leadership, which is contemptibly timid.
The problem is that, before you speak your mind honestly, you have to make sure that your mind grasps the facts accurately. And Trump keeps saying things that are blatantly wrong.
Contrary to what he’s said, there’s no evidence the Taliban traded for Bowe Bergdahl have returned to the battlefield, U.S. GDP growth isn’t below zero for the first time ever, HealthCare.gov didn’t cost $5 billion, and it does, in fact, work.
Worse than that, Trump openly denigrates people.
He makes it sound like Mexican illegal immigrants are mostly rapists and drug-dealers, with “good people” being the exception among them. And then, in trying to rebuke Sen. John McCain’s unfair accusation that Trump followers are “crazies,” Trump made it sound like soldiers who wind up as POWs should be looked down on because they got captured.
2. “OK, Trump isn’t politically correct, so what? It’s not what he says, it’s just the way that he says it that gets him in trouble.”
No, it isn’t the way, it’s the what. If you can’t talk about the problem of illegal immigration without saying good people are a rarity among Mexican illegal immigrants, if you can’t criticize McCain without suggesting that POWs are phony war heroes, then you’re more than “politically incorrect,” you’re flat-out wrong. And you’re wrong in a way that slurs Mexicans and impugns soldiers who suffered for years in prison camps.
Similarly, Trump’s remarks on Bergdahl and GDP weren’t wrong on style (whatever that means), they were wrong on content. What he said just wasn’t true.
3. “But Donald Trump taps into a frustration with today’s politics, and today’s GOP in particular.”
That’s true, but taking out that frustration on Mexicans and POWs is only going to keep him away from the reins of power, leaving him less able to change anything politically. And it’s going to make his followers look like they, too, have something against Mexicans and POWs, which will reduce their political influence, making them even more frustrated.
This is not a virtuous cycle of political change, it’s just making things worse. The “silenced majority” Trump speaks for don’t want to be cast as anti-Mexican and anti-POW, do they?
4. “But Trump has brought up issues that the political establishment is ignoring, like illegal immigration, and trade issues with China.”
This is the closest thing to a legitimate argument for Trump’s presence in politics.
Yes, illegal immigration has gotten more attention that it would have without Trump (though this is in part because of the killing of Kate Steinle happening, by chance, so soon after Trump’s notorious remarks). Trump did a great thing – morally and politically – by giving people who had been victims of crimes committed by illegal immigration a venue to tell their story.
But notice, that involved Trump not speaking. Instead, he let others talk. This is when he’s been at his best. The second Trump gets up on the podium himself, however, he resorts to mangled rhetoric that – although it gets attention for certain causes – does so by attaching things like racism to them. That’s not helpful to those causes in the long run.
5. "Whatever, Trump is a conservative who’s going to change the country for the better.”
That’s true, if we believe his campaign slogan: “Make America Great Again!” But, if we’re going to delve any deeper than that, things get fuzzy.
And by “delve deeper” I mean “look at his campaign website.” You’ll find it has no “on the issues” section that outlines where Trump stands on taxes, foreign policy, defense spending, entitlement reform – even on illegal immigration and trade with China – on anything! Trump’s website mostly covers the media coverage of Trump. To find a list of his political positions, you have to resort to Wikipedia or somewhere else.
The picture you get isn’t pretty: He’s flip-flopped on abortion and on whether he’ll run as an independent; he’s supported a one-time 14 percent tax on the wealthy and universal health care; and he’s said we can’t change Social Security and Medicare. This hardly describes a rock-solid conservative.
But even if he were, to change anything he’d have to get elected first. And he won’t get elected.
6. “Like Mark Cuban says, Donald Trump isn’t politics as usual.”
Actually, he is. Politics as usual is people saying things with all sorts of bluster and getting nothing done. Donald Trump is just more bluster than usual, over a shorter period of time. Some people spend decades in the political arena, letting loose all sorts of invective and having little more than re-election to show for it.
Donald Trump will spend far less time in politics, and won’t even get elected once, let alone re-elected.
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