Mark Cuban: What Donald Trump Pretends to Be

Leaving his cartoonish public policy statements aside, I am most irked when Donald Trump is praised for his authenticity, his telling it like it is.  What is true about Trump is he says things that give voice to the fear, anger and resentment of many Americans, including an irritation with liberal P. C.ism, which I share.  However, that is not telling it like it is, it is telling his audience what they want to hear.

Trump burst on to the political scene about four years ago by grabbing the Obama birther issue and trumping it up, saying he had investigators on the case, who never were revealed, nor were their supposed “interesting” findings.  No matter, the Donald kept telling it like it wasn’t because it got him the attention he craves.  He has woven an alternate reality that many have bought into.

As with the birther issue, so much of what Donald says “is”, isn’t.  To make clearer Trump’s inauthenticity let’s contrast him with Mark Cuban, fellow billionaire and reality TV figure and as prone to controversial statements.  Owner of the Dallas Mavericks among various very successful enterprises, he reportedly has paid over $2,000,000 in fines to the NBA for things he shouldn’t have said.

Who does Cuban sound like in this on-line bio “Online and off, Cuban is an unfiltered force of opinion, a bombastic personality among the rather stodgy inner circle of NBA ownership. He made waves when he referred to Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault case as “great for the NBA. It’s reality television, people love train-wreck television, and you hate to admit it, but that is the truth, that’s the reality today”.

One big difference is Trump started with money and Cuban did not.  Trump often acts like he is an exemplar of the Horatio Alger story, turning a mere million his dad fronted him into billions.  In contrast Cuban’s father worked most of his life in a car upholstery shop while at the age of 12, Mark “sold sets of garbage bags to save up for a pair of shoes he liked.” 

I watched Cuban interviewed on the Smerconish show on CNN last Saturday morning and was struck by his authenticity in comparison with Trump’s created pseudo self.  Cuban was initially a backer of Trump but changed his mind when he realized the Donald was not willing to constantly learn more about the issues, to “really dig in.”   To paraphrase Cuban:  The presidency is nuanced and the only certainty is uncertainty.  If you are not willing to read and learn and dig into the issues it doesn’t make sense to back you.

He expressed this to Trump several months ago, their last direct communication.  Apparently Trump doesn’t welcome straight talk.  At the end of July Cuban endorsed Hillary Clinton at a rally.  By the way, another difference between Cuban and Trump is  he thinks “the American dream is alive and well.”

At the end of the interview, given his own success in business, Cuban was asked if he might consider the presidency some day,  which made him laugh.  “Just the opposite.”  To paraphrase again:   There is so little focus on policy or programs or getting results in these campaigns, why would I want to get into that quagmire.   “There is no there there.”

To me, Donald Trump’s primary contribution to our present politics has been to wipe away much of what little “there” is left.

Once again, authenticity is saying what you think, not what your audience wants to hear.   I find Cuban authentic, just the opposite of Donald Trump.   You can decide for yourself by going here.

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NOTE:  The interview is about 23 minutes long, so make it a lunch break or at least bring a drink with you or make plans to watch it in spurts.  Hey, it’s 2016.  Who has the time?

P. S. – Smerconish has become my favorite political chat show.   He was a Republican for years but is now an independent, liberal on some issues conservative on others, which is how he views Mark Cuban and how I view myself.

Donald Trump is Driving the Republican Party Crazy

I have this image of Donald Trump driving a careening bus filled with Republicans aimed at an abyss with some of the passengers – say like Speaker Paul Ryan – struggling with him to turn the wheel and others just jumping off to save themselves.   And perhaps the party.

The worst of Trump has been on display over the last dozen days or so, too much to really talk about in this post.   But enough to bolster what would have been a post convention bump in the polls for Hillary into a jump now of anywhere from eight to 15 points nationally.

In months to come, looking back, Trump’s  defamation of Mr. and Mrs. Khan for comments the former made and the latter did not make about Trump at the Democratic convention, may be viewed as being his bridge too far (finally?).    Senator John McCain lambasted Trump for his comments, which underscores the awkward perch McCain occupies and the fractured nature of the Grand Old Party.

McCain “endorsed” Trump some time ago, as have other generally respected Republicans, such as Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Kelly Ayotte.   Now all three are stuck on the bus because Trump is the party nominee, and their dilemma is wanting to hold the party together while backing a man they obviously all dislike.  Maybe even consider unfit to be president.

Also, in the case of the two Senators up for reelection, to keep the Trump supporters from trashing their campaigns.  Ryan, on the other hand, as Speaker, feels it is his job to hold the party together as best he can to keep the House.  (Yes, he is also running but he is a shoe in.)

While those three “endorsed” Trump, they did not do it unconditionally and in decidedly underwhelming ways.  So no surprise that the Donald, not to be outdone when it comes to pay back for perceived slights, had withheld endorsing them in return.   Given all that has gone wrong for Trump of late, someone must have persuaded him to feign a step towards party unity, so he finally “endorsed” those three, but in such a limp manner, needing to read the exact words off a piece of paper to get the statement right.

He showed them.

That’s Donald Trump the party unifier.

Meanwhile a large contingent of former Republican security officials have just jumped off the bus, putting out an open letter warning “Mr. Trump would be the most reckless president in American history.”

As described in the New York Times “Fifty of the nation’s most senior Republican national security officials, many of them former top aides or cabinet members for President George W. Bush, have signed a letter declaring that Donald J. Trump “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president and “would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.” 

Oh….. and Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of the few in Congress who can work across the aisle, has just jumped off the bus announcing in the Washington Post yesterday that despite being torn by her loyalty to the Republican Party she cannot support Donald Trump.   Ms. Collins, like so many Republicans, have hoped for months that once nominated, Trump would pivot to concentrating on the issues and, how to put it, show some common decency, but finally she has given up.

There “will be no ‘new’ Donald Trump, just the same candidate who will slash and burn and trample anything and anyone he perceives as being in his way or an easy scapegoat. Regrettably, his essential character appears to be fixed, and he seems incapable of change or growth.”

I could not have said it any better.