Donald Trump’s politics would normally be considered the archetype of political controversy, if they weren’t so unprecedented in scope and influence. His brash, bold, and frank dialogue has turned the traditional political establishment, and it’s time honored decorum, literally on it’s head. His speech’s are a combustable mixture of dystopian ethos and xenophobic fervor. In short, the man and brand called ‘Trump’ is a dynamic political phenomenon, the likes that have never been seen in American politics. It’s late Summer of 2016 and the Presidential election season is in full swing, both parties have nominated their representatives. Idiots Guide feels that it’s time to give both nominees thoughtful reflection. This is perhaps the first time in political history that both nominees have such negative ratings in the polls. Talk about the lesser or greater of two evils. Trump’s DNC opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton exists inside a similar storm cloud of controversy and divisiveness, however, this is about Donald Trump, a man who’s persona is nothing if not complex, who’s political ascent has been accused of being fueled by subterfuge. The reality is that not all of his politics are as horrible as his detractors would claim, with some of his politics being well intentioned, although arguably misguided in practice. Idiots Guide attempts to take an honest look at political dynamo Donald Trump, and perhaps answer the question…Villain or Savior?
GOP Presidential Candidate Donald John Trump IS…
#5. A Master of Media Manipulation – Master Showman.
If you, like this author, came of age in the great state of New York during the transcendent decade of the 1980’s, then Donald Trump is likely embedded into your psyche by way of torrential media coverage, not unlike a daytime soap opera. It was during the 1980’s when Trump first started to exhibit his uncanny talent and/or insatiable thirst for newspaper headlines. His meteoric rise in real estate development in and around the New York metropolitan area, coincided with the visibility and rise of his brand, the proliferation of mass media and the 24 hour news cycle, as well as the salacious details of his dissolving marriage(s), and subsequent new romances. It was perfect timing and confluence of events that made Donald Trump extraordinarily famous. An imperial superstar who’s wealth was the catalyst to his fame. By the end of the 1980’s Trump was a household name, but then it was discord from within his own home that supercharged his visibility by way of soap operatic marital problems. The 1990’s saw Trump’s marriage of 13 years to former blonde bombshell Ivana Trump come to a tumultuous end, with a younger model blonde bombshell, Marla Maples having sex with Trump while (Im)patiently waiting in the wings. There was lots of drama including a verbal, allegedly minor, physical confrontation between the two women in question on the otherwise beautiful slopes of Aspen, Colorado. The trials and tribulations of what should have been a private matter became year long fodder for an insatiable media, with Trump’s brand being the beneficiary. There are many pundits who claim that none of Trump’s media ready drama was accidental.
In the decades since Donald Trump has made a determined habit of never shying away from a photo opportunity, and/or media appearance, and/or controversial statement. Perhaps by diabolical design, the Trump brand has grown up with American pop culture. The name Trump sells newspapers and gets television ratings. In 2008 the Donald jumped into the realm of prime-time television with the premiere of the Mark Burnett produced ‘The Apprentice’ on NBC. A reality game show that became wildly popular, and added another phrase to our pop culture lexicon, ‘You’re Fired’. A gauche but memorable saying that fit the author’s personality like the proverbial glove. Over the years, Donald Trump has made all kinds of statements spanning the universe of political leanings and substance, yet the only thing they have in common is the ‘look at me’ quality that Trump has so deftly perfected. When Trump speaks, people listen….for a number of reasons that run the gamut from carnival barker curiosity to plebeian worship. He is a master showman with the power to infuriate and entertain simultaneously.
#4. Donald Trump IS…An Unapologetic Xenophobic Zealot.
It should be noted that Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump, a wealthy and influential real estate magnet, and the Donald’s main benefactor, was at one time sued by the US Justice Department for refusal to rent to African-Americans. He was also arrested at a KKK rally. True story. I bring this up to provide a background to the Donald’s unabashed xenophobia that some argue borders on racism. His misguided and slightly personal crusade to ‘prove’ that President Obama was not in fact a U.S. citizen was ugly. The fact that he was not vilified when he was quoted as saying that he had an “Extremely credible source that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud” which turned out to be a lie, is astonishing to this author. Trump has an attitude of entitlement that screams ‘America is for Americans’ with dog-whistle implications as to who these so-called ‘Americans’ should be. Statements such as “When Mexico sends it’s people, they’re not sending the best..they’re sending people that have lots of problems ..They’re bringing drugs. They bring crime. They’re rapists.” are blanket indictments of an entire race of people. These are incredibly bold examples of his innate bigotry, and overtly reactionary xenophobia. It could be argued that he is simply an American patriot who cares deeply about the immigration issue, but it sounds like something a bit more sinister, does it not? Even if one were to give him the benefit of the doubt, that is not vernacular of the Presidential variety. Never before anyway.
Throughout his Presidential bid (which would seem to have started over a decade ago) Donald Trump has been professing a wishful promise from every stage, platform, and mountaintop that will host him, “I will build a great wall – believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively – I will build a great wall on our border – and I will make Mexico pay for that wall.” Let’s put aside the grotesque symbolism and logistical absurdity of this notion for a moment, there is clearly some confusion as to Trump’s knowledge of what the office of President of the United States can, and cannot do. A public works project of that magnitude is not something that any sitting president can unilaterally order. We have a congress that consists of two chambers that hold the purse strings for government projects, and speaking of finance, the notion that any sitting President can demand, insist, and/or cajole another country to pay for and/or underwrite the expense of a foreign project, is ludicrous on it’s face. (Personally, I think that our public works money would be better spent on bridge repair and infrastructure upgrades, but I digress). These kinds of fantastical promissory platitudes have come to define the Donald Trump candidacy, and he has thus far been able to successfully rally his supporters behind them in pied piper fashion. It is fairly simple to notice the underlying xenophobic tenor (with an arguable tint of racial animous) of his platform.
#3. Donald Trump HAS…A Life & Career Littered with Salaciousness & Scandal.
One of the reasons that Donald Trump’s previous flirtations with running for President have never until recently, been taken seriously, has been his checkered past. Although these scandals have not been necessarily criminal, they’ve typically been unscrupulous at best, and obscene at their very worst. In either case, his behavior has certainly not been befitting, or acceptable for the leader of the free world. In 1992, Trump wanted to get into the business of beauty pageants, the ‘American Dream’ pageant specifically. In meeting with the executive producers George Houraney and Jill Harth, Trump almost immediately made a nuisance of himself by allegedly making passes at Jill Harth, including groping her at a party. He even went so far as to request that they (Houraney and Harth) bring some models to meet with him. Another of the models in attendance heard Trump proclaim that “all women are bimbos” and most “gold diggers.” Mr. President? Harth eventually sued Mr. Trump for ‘Breach of Contract’ and claimed among other things, Mr. Trump had conspired to keep black women from participating in the pageant. In the 1970’s Trump was linked to illicit casino business construction dealings with the mafia (Genovese & Gambino factions) in New York and Atlantic City, New Jersey. In 2005, Mr. Trump started ‘Trump University’, a place of learning where students would benefit from ‘real-estate development secrets’. It turned out to be a ‘series of seminars’ at the cost of $35,000 per student. Many former students have called the entire process a ‘scam’ and several lawsuits are in the works. It’s ‘doors’ closed in 2010. Between the years of 1982 and 1986, Trump was accused of ‘tenant intimidation’ in his effort to try and get tenants out of their rent-controlled apartments on Central Park South, so that he could turn that lot into luxury condominiums. Trump allegedly resorted to all kinds of ‘dirty tricks’ including, turning off their heat and hot water and taking out newspaper ads offering empty apartments to homeless New Yorkers as a form of nuisance intimidation. Mr. President? The city of course stepped in and said ‘not a chance, Donald.’, so Trump decided to sue the complaining tenants for $150 million. The parties settled out of court. Bankruptcies are not illegal, however Mr. Trump has filed for it on four separate occasions, (1991, 1992, 2004, and 2009) not a big deal unless you are claiming to be a business ‘genius’ who can wave a wand and fix the United States economy and debt. In 1989 during his acrimonious divorce from Ivana Trump, she made allegations of ‘Marital Rape’ during a deposition. Apparently since the 1980’s dozens upon dozens of former contractors, vendors, waiters, and plumbers, etc. have complained that Trump has stiffed them on payments for work performed on his projects. Look, there’s much more, feel free to research on your own, it’s all there in black and white. The bottom line is, his track record of behavior is something that needs to be strongly considered at the very least. In a normal election season any one of the aforementioned would be enough to stop the music, however this isn’t a normal election season is it?
#2. Donald Trump IS…Thin Skinned, Juvenile, and Alarmingly Petty.
I am 100% certain that there has never been a U.S. Presidential candidate who has had as many ridiculous quarrels and petty feuds with members of the media and public life in general. Donald Trump is the grown-up version of ‘I know you are, but what am I?’ In fact, it may soon be a badge of honor to have not gotten into a war of words with Donald Trump. Vs. Bill Maher: Comedian and political pundit Bill Maher jokingly remarked that Mr. Trump is the “spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.” Mr. Trump promptly sued Maher, and also released his birth certificate. He ended up withdrawing the lawsuit, ‘to be filed at a later date’. Vs. Deadspin: Editors for the online publication told Trump to “Go f–k yourself.” After Trump had praised their coverage of the Manti Te’o hoax. Trump fired back with “Deadspin’s disgusting response will teach me & others not to be nice anymore—a sad lesson.” Vs. NBC’s Brian Williams: After Williams made an on-air remark about Donald Trump and his relevance, the Donald immediately struck back with ” (Brian) knows that I think his newscast has become totally boring so he took a shot at me last night.” It goes on and on really, he’s traded barbs with NBC’s Chris Matthews, Dallas Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban, Barbara Walters, Cher, Bette Midler, Michelle Malkin, Jon Stewart, Vanity Fair, Seth Myers, David Letterman, Robert DeNiro, and of course who can forget Rosie O’Donnell, and Fox News’s Megyn Kelly? There are of course, more feuds, but space is limited. The reality is that rarely has a man with such grandiose, reactionary narcissism run for the office of President of the United States.
I seriously wonder if Donald Trump has considered the fact that serious negotiations, both foreign and domestic, require exceptional diplomacy and temperament. I honestly shudder to think of a scenario where Donald Trump is the United States representative in the unfortunate case of a ‘Bay of Pigs’ type of crisis. My money would be squarely on ‘we’re all dead’. That belief is not in any way a stretch of the imagination. Needless to say, the President of the United States cannot even consider behaving in such a fashion, or even dignifying derogatory remarks. Derogatory remarks are part of the compensation package of public life in general, and the Presidency in particular. I have a very difficult time imagining Donald Trump handling the intense political satire that will surely come his way, in the event he is elected, with anything but the same juvenile contempt that he has exhibited his entire career. Talk about demeaning to the office?
#1. Donald Trump IS…Promising American Voters the Impossible.
Right around the beginning of the summer of 2016, I decided to put out an ‘A.P.B.’ (all points bulletin) on the logistical, legal, and political specifics on how exactly Mr. Trump intends on accomplishing the very many acts he has promised the American voter. Let’s face it, Donald Trump’s fantastical protestations to his voter base can easily be construed as a cynical ploy. His is a politically disillusioned base, which consists of a significant number of people who are likely unsophisticated in the ways, means, and legal power(s) of the President of the United States. The kind of people that don’t grasp the reality that IF this so-called southern border fence were to be ‘green-lit’ it would be the largest public works program in the United States since the Hoover Dam. This fact is becoming increasingly troublesome for those Americans who understand that ‘Santa Claus’ couldn’t possibly accomplish his Christmas Eve deed, even if he actually existed, which he doesn’t. Does anyone know exactly how Trump intends on accomplishing anything he has promised? Any person can tell people that he’s going to ‘kick some ass’. Eventually, he’s actually going to have to do it. But in all seriousness, a majority of Trump supporters are indicative of the one issue type of voter that we thought were extinct by way of the 1950’s. The question is can Donald Trump effectively scare enough persons of a specific demographic, better yet, is that voting block large enough to catapult this man into the Presidency, primarily on the outsized demonization of a select group of immigrants, while disregarding…well basically everything else? I can’t wait for the 2016 Presidential Debates.