BEING PRESIDENT TRUMP

While I think I have a sense of what either Hillary or Bernie would do or at least try to do as president, I have no idea when it comes to Donald Trump, other than he will try to build a wall on the southern border, because that is one of the few concrete proposals he has made.  I believe he has blown the issue way out of proportion, one of the tricks of a demagogue, but successfully enough that I actually might be in favor of building the stupid wall just so we can stop arguing about it.

While there is much that concerns me about Trump as president, right at this moment I feel most uncomfortable about the Donald’s need to win as a way of continuously building up his ego.  It is as if he needs to continue to notch wins lest he will start shrinking like the wicked witch of the west when doused with water.  Criticism is Trump’s water.

My concern is:  How will he define being a winner as president?  In business winning is to make money and then make more of it.  Winning either a primary race or the presidency (or a game of TV survivor) is even more clear cut.  You win the contest or you are a loser.

But being a winner as president is really a matter of opinion and subject to never ending debate.   Obama takes pride in the nuclear deal with Iran;  Republicans call it a terrible deal.  Trump calls it the worst ever.  Years after the fact historians look back and judge presidents as more or less a winner than they were judged in their time.  And those judgements keep changing over time, too.

There are few clear cut presidential wins like the surrender of Germany and Japan.

Of course, Trump would always act like he is a winner, but since there are no simple ways of keeping score, I think that would unnerve him.   As you may have noticed, he doesn’t react well to criticism.  It takes the gloss off his shiny sense of self.  Last week, for example he did a four western state campaign swing which could have been a victory tour, but because he is a vindictive sort, it was more of a “grudge tour,” as a Washington Post article described it.

He spent much of his time attacking a number of people who as the Post put it, had”done him wrong.” Among the malefactors were Republicans who have yet to endorse him, like “low energy Jeb” and the female Republican governors of South Carolina and New Mexico, Nikki Hailey and Susana Martinez.

The last named happens to be chair of the Republican Governors Association in addition to being a Latina, a backer the self-proclaimed party unifier could particularly use.  But in his unique way of courting support he told a crowd in New Mexico their state was in trouble and their governor needed to do a better job.

If president, given Trump’s diaphanous skin when it comes to criticism, he should be glowing red and seething under the hot light of the 24/7 coverage that comes along with the presidency.  And criticism might eventually sprout from his present true believers who at some point seem likely to feel let down once again by a politician.

The kinds of changes Trump has promised could only be carried out if he were elected king.  At a time when a gridlocked Congress elected by a polarized populace hinders changing much of anything, at what point do King Donald’s subjects begin to question his reign?

Sure he would blame everyone else for getting in his way, but after all he did say to a crowd just last week that “Politicians have used you and stolen your votes. They have given you nothing…. I will give you everything. I will give you what you’ve been looking for for 50 years. I’m the only one.”

Being the “only one” doesn’t leave him much room for excuses.

At what point do some of his ardent fans look behind the curtain of the all powerful Oz and see a little man at the controls projecting a phony awesome image?


P. S. – The Washington Post article mentioned above can be found at:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/even-in-victory-donald-trump-cant-stop-airing-his-grievances/2016/05/29/a5f7a566-2526-11e6-8690-f14ca9de2972_story.html?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_headlines

Is it too Late to Switch to Bernie?

In case you haven’t heard, the Inspector General of the State Department has released a report that solidifies many of the criticisms of Hillary Clinton for using a private server and portraying it in keeping with State Department procedures and not a threat to national security.  This is not the way a Hillary supporter like myself wants to begin the day.

The reaction of the Clinton team is that the report actually supports her contentions, which I doubt even that team believes, but at this point what else is there to do but keep stone walling?   Do a Donald Trump?  And say:  Well, I ‘m a politician and that’s what we politicians do, we lie.   How do you think I have been this successful this far?  I just play the lying game better than those dummies?

The Donald might be able to pull that off (of course I rooted for the housing prices to go down.  I’m a business man.  What?  I should buy when prices are high?), but he is unique in his ability to turn attackers’ knives around and stabbing them.

The email scandal is just one more painful reminder of how much this election is going to boil down to who we hate least as our choice to lead us in 2o17.   A majority of us don’t like either one of them.  If it comes down to either Hillary or Trump, I’m still in Hillary’s camp for more reasons than would fit into this post.  Actually, before I heard the news about the IG report this morning, I had planned to write about a disparity between Trump’s talk and his actions, but that will have to wait.

As for lies, or what I think of as politicians misrepresenting the truth (relatively few out right lies are told, but straight forward truth is told even less), I don’t think of Hillary as a much bigger liar than the rest, but only the most publicized liar, hounded by the right for decades who have managed to tar and feather her with that belittling “brand.”

As the paranoid said:  “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean that someone isn’t out to get me.”  Hillary’s handling of the email reflects a kind of bunker mentality developed through decades of these attacks from the right.  From testimony in this IG report, it seems she kept her emails on that private server to “protect her privacy” from the gutter snipers, and it did work to the extent to which it allowed her to destroy thousands of emails that she tells us were all personal, but who really believes that?  I for one imagine that many of those emails were, let’s say, personally political, meant only for the eyes of a relative few.  And possibly damaging if generally known.

The whole email affair makes it hard not to question her judgement, but then again she is facing Donald Trump, not King Solomon.   Is it wise, for example, to unleash a barrage of personal attacks on anyone who criticizes you in any way, including people that you hope will support you in the election and foreign leaders you will need to deal with if elected?

But hold it.  Can we be sure as yet that our choices boil down to those two?

Bernie just won’t go away and, though Hillary keeps saying she has the nomination won, that is not exactly true, and irritates me a bit.  She has the nomination if all or most of those 500-plus super delegates, party regulars appointed not decided by primaries, stay in her corner at the convention.  BUT THEY ARE NOT BOUND TO DO SO.  THEY COULD CHANGE THEIR MINDS BY THEN.

I just saw a poll this morning indicating the race in the California primary is close, and this is before the bad news for Hillary became public.   And, though it seems unlikely, there is the possibility that the FBI could find reason to charge Hillary for a crime regarding the emails and then, well…………..????????????????

As a sort of bizarre cherry on top of this mad scenario, last night Trump was on Jimmy Kimmel and via Kimmel, Bernie challenged Trump to a debate in California which Trump, showed a willingness to consider….  Wouldn’t that be something.  Stay tuned.

Donald Trump and Women

Polls continue to show that Donald Trump continues to have around a 70% unfavorable rating among women and of course the Hillary Clinton camp wants to keep it that away or better still make the Donald look even worse to the ladies.  For reasons I will get into in future posts, I prefer Hillary to the Donald as president, meaning I am not eager to slam her campaign, but this attempt to paint him as an ogre towards women seems misguided.

Sure he is an old line chauvinist who sexually objectifies women, and it is no coincidence that many of the women who assist him are, how to put it, real dolls.  However, he has also given women not so physically blessed opportunities at the highest levels in his organization and as one of them has testified “he was the least sexist boss I have ever had.”   The same woman said that Trump once told her admiringly that she had a “killer instinct”, a compliment of the highest order to him it seems.

Lesson?  If you are smart enough and tough enough and unrelenting enough, welcome to the Trump team.  Who cares which bathroom you use.

He also told her that “a man is better than a woman, but a good woman is better than 10 men.”  Where do you place that statement on your scale of sexism?

My point is that Trump is a mixed bag when it comes to women and I think many women react to him differently, either now or potentially so, than the Hillary camp seems to suppose.   I have nothing to base the following on other than my general sense of things, but when I hear Hillary emphasizing the pay differential between men and women, or  what a pig (heavily implied if not exactly stated) Donald Trump is or what a historical break through it would be to elect the first woman president…..   I feel this falls on a lot of deaf female ears.

I believe for a lot of women the issues of personal safety and international and economic security trump those other issues and Donald Trump continuously hits home that he would be best at providing that security, and in doing so he comes off as bold, relentless and decisive, qualities I believe women find particularly attractive in a man.  And, just the opposite of the typical political figure.

Not that Trump’s vulgarity and narcissism  aren’t turn offs and I think women also place a high value on reliability and Trump carries a double edged sword in his emphasis on being unpredictable which, while exciting, prompts doubts in the reliability realm.

I don’t know how all that sorts out, but I think that Clinton camp is betting too many chips on the sexist angle.  Today I heard the Clinton campaign is going to put out millions of dollars of ads portraying Trump’s sexism, under the assumption that many voters are not already aware of it.

Really?

I think they are barking up the wrong tree.  While there are already plenty of never-Trump ladies, I don’t think many more will be recruited with this approach.

I think there are plenty of women out there accustomed to dealing with male chauvinism and willing to tolerate it if that male can provide a route to something they want.  In this case, a greater sense of personal safety and a brighter economic future for them and their families.

If Trump can convince women he’s their guy, that negative rating will prove as subject to revision as most people’s New Year’s Resolutions.

Now the Party of Trump: Political Survivor Season One

Well, it is a done deal.   With the big Trump win in the Indiana primary yesterday, he is now the “presumptive” nominee of a Republican party that is no more.   Sure, on the surface it still has elements of a party, but one so fractured and confused that some are resigning from the party, while even more are just trying to ride the Trump wave and hope for the best.   They work on their rationalizations that allow Trump the square peg to fit into the round hole of conservatism and console themselves with Never Hillary slogans.

Funny, now that Trump has won the first season of Political Survivor, I’m tired of the show.  While his success still fascinates me, I’m tired of the man and his game of pretending to be the anti-politician while actually being the new more clever version of the old breed.  The improvement lying in his ability to lie more effectively than the others.

He’s the best at appearing authentic while also running circles around the other politicians when it comes to misrepresenting the truth to his advantage.  The desire to win this particular game of survivor shapes everything he says and does.   He is great at appearing to speak his mind, but much of what he says is what he thinks we (or many of us at least) want to hear.  He doesn’t speak his mind.  He speaks our minds.

Or he shapes our minds to dismiss his opponents by “branding” them with convincing put downs like “low energy Jeb” and “Lying Ted”. And after they are vanquished, he invariably praises them, basically admitting that it is all just a game of survivor.   For example, when accepting an endorsement from Ben Carson, whom he had earlier labelled as “pathological”  Trump acted as if it were a compliment, his attacks on Carson being signs of respect for the man who was moving up in the polls at the time.

And now the same with Ted Cruz.  Yesterday morning Trump referred to an article in the Miami Herald showing a photo which is purportedly of Ted Cruz’s father with Lee Harvey Oswald.  Of course, Trump acted shocked that this awful realization was not drawing more attention, leaving out that it initially came from the National Enquirer, which has endorsed Trump.  And it is not clear the photo is what it is purported to be.

That touched a hot button with Cruz angered by inferences made about his father.  That prompted a long tirade denouncing Trump for being a pathological liar, among many other dastardly traits.

Once it was clear Trump had won, he ignored that earlier verbal assault and said of Cruz that “while I don’t know if he likes me or doesn’t like me”  (which is hard to believe unless you realize that Trump often says terrible things about an opponent whom he later says he likes) but Ted (not lying Ted) “is one hell of a competitor.  He is a tough smart guy and he has got an amazing future.  I want to congratulate Ted.”  Trump also wished the former lying Ted and his beautiful family the best.

The wonder of Trump is that he can be so false (either in his attacks or in his praise), while managing to escape the criticism of being just one more politician.   My theory is Trump has many fans beyond his base of birthers and no-nothings who view him as appropriating typical political misrepresentations and using that tactic against the old line politicians.  These fans actually appreciate Trump’s cleverness at beating the politicians at their own game, so they don’t mind his playing false as long as it helps him win.  Many probably admire the strategy.

His fans of all stripes believe in him or at least in the possibility of him as he is not beholding to anyone and continues to show himself the winner he has longed claimed to be.  The fundamental factor in Trump’s favor is:  “Voters want fundamental change and aren’t really interested in candidates that look like more of the same,” in the words of political commentator Mark Halperin.

Hillary looks like more of the same and Trump look like something new.   While many other factors will come into play, that would seem to give Trump an initial advantage in Political Survivor: Season Two despite polls that indicate the opposite.