If Donald Trump gets the GOP nod against Hillary or Bernie, I’m voting for Donald. Frankly, after watching the debate on Saturday night I’d probably want to take a shower after pulling the lever for him, but pull it I would…
That being said, Saturday’s debate demonstrated Donald Trump to not only be a rude bully, it showed him to basically be a disingenuous one and someone with, shall we say, an odd understanding of history. While rebutting Rubio’s statement that Bush kept the US safe after the Iraq invasion, he chimed in that 9/11 happened on Bush’s watch. That statement is of course true, but it didn’t have anything to do with the point Rubio was making as it came prior to the invasion and was one of the catalysts that put Bush into the mindset that action had to be taken in Iraq. This of course came about the same time that Trump called GW Bush a liar, suggesting that he knew there were no WMDs in the country and stated he lied about them in order to invade. That is a page directly out of the truther’s handbook and with the level of intensity he argued the point, it suggests that Trump actually believes it. He also spent time supporting eminent domain (really, the abuse of such) as well as the funding of the “good parts” of Planned Parenthood. Those are, to say the least, unusual positions for someone running for the GOP nomination.
The debate was more like a schoolyard brawl fight than a debate, where the teacher couldn’t get or keep control. One has to wonder however if the Trump supporters will notice that their guy was obnoxious and nonsensical. And if they do, will they care.
Watching the numbers Trump is putting up in the GOP race and the throngs of passionate supporters his events draw despite the fact that he’s basically a liberal, not even conservative clothing, is beginning to make me think that many of the GOP voters in 2016 are doing exactly what Democrat voters did in 2008: They are pouring into an empty vessel exactly what they want to see. Barack Obama was indeed an empty vessel for most voters. The truth is, his “Hope and Change” is not so different from Trump’s “Make America Great Again”. Most certainly it is different in that Barack Obama pretty much hates everything great about the United States outside of golf courses and basketball, while Donald Trump loves pretty much everything including golf courses and imminent domain.
At a minimum one would expect Trump to make better deals than the one Obama made with Iran and not seek to divide the country by race and gender and sexuality and religion as Obama has done. But beyond that, when it comes to the actual work of governing, and doing so within the confines defined by the Constitution, one wonders what his supporters see in him. They say he’s going to build a wall. That’s an absolutely necessity, but Ted Cruz has promised to do the same. They say things like he doesn’t take crap from anyone and he says what’s on his mind. Both are true, but what do they have to do with governing? Barack Obama is a horrible president, but it’s not because he got into shouting matches with crybabies Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, it’s because he’s anti-American and thinks he’s king. Would Trump’s obnoxious behavior somehow make 535 congressmen and women more likely to follow his lead? Would it act as a moderating influence on power hungry bureaucrats? Would his rudeness somehow convince the leaders of Russia, China and Iran to suddenly play nice on the geopolitical chessboard? How does boorish behavior translate to actually doing a good job of governing the country? It doesn’t. Sadly, sometimes listening to Trump supporters makes me think back to John Ziegler’s video from the 2008 election “How Obama Got Elected’.
The problem with Trump is that he has no fundamental convictions other than what is good for Donald Trump. He’s not a conservative. He professes to not be a liberal but his history tells a different story. He’s not a major supporter of individual rights and limited government. Very much like Barack Obama he sees the presidency as an opportunity to “get things done” and like Obama he will likely take a dim view of the constraints on his actions dictated by the Constitution.
But for his voters, none of that seems to matter. While I can appreciate the desire to have someone from outside Washington, from outside the establishment come in and shake up a heavily dysfunctional government, it matters what they want to do and how they want to do it. Everything you need to know about a Donald Trump administration can be seen in his comment about Carrier moving manufacturing to Mexico. He said “I’m going to tell them right now, I am going to get consensus from Congress and we’re going to tax you when those air conditioners come.” Aside from the unconstitutionality of such a move, what he’s not saying is “How do we make it more economically viable for companies to manufacture in the United States?” No,Trump’s natural inclination is to use unconstitutional coercion against those with whom he disagrees (sound familiar?) rather than asking why it makes economic sense for someone to decamp to Mexico in the first place, and figuring out how to make America more compelling for employers in the first place.
At the end of the day, during this primary season Trump supporters need to ask themselves is Donald Trump the best person in the GOP field to lead the nation to prosperity? The best person to protect individual liberty? The best person to roll back the unconstitutional expansion of government undertaken by presidents over the last 25 years? The best person to appoint the next Supreme Court justice? The best person to make the government work for the people rather than the people work for the government? The best person to defy Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce and rein in a regulatory environment bathed in job killing and prosperity killing crony capitalism?
If they find that the answer to these questions is no, then perhaps they should put down the Kool Aid and open their eyes and ears to some of the other candidates. Elections aren’t WrestleMania events and the bluster on the stump and in the debate may be fun to watch, but unlike WWE, entertainment isn’t the fundamental goal of debates and elections. No, the whole reason we’re engaging in this quadrennial cage match is the pursuit of effective, constitutional government. That’s something someone with a long history of crony capitalism and little appreciation for the Constitution is unlikely to deliver.