Why not Trump for president? He has expressed some good ideas. For example, he has indicated the value of his being “self funded” to avoid being beholden to special interests. He is for improving the US infrastructure, repairing our tax structure, fixing the VA, fixing immigration, updating or replacing the ACA, expanding the economy, reviewing our trade policies and fixing Social Security while reducing the national debt. Those are all goals I can support. Those are also all goals that Hillary supports.
They differ mostly on how they would review trade policy and on tax cuts and how they would implement some of the goals above. Trump says he’ll rip up our current trade agreements and start over; HRC says she’ll work to make sure they are fair. Donald will cut taxes across the board; Hillary will raise taxes on the rich. Hillary’s resulting budget deficits will be about the same as projected under current law resulting in a debt of 86% of GDP in 10 years. Trump’s will be higher resulting in 106% of GDP in ten years. Trump says he’ll generate so much growth that we will cut the deficits and start bringing down the debt. Non-partisan economists say that won’t happen. Actually, pretty much all economists that are not part of his advisory council say the same thing.
Overall, his policies are somewhat different from mainline Republican ideas but if you remove the rhetoric, most are not extreme. So why are some people so against him? I’ll get back to that.
Hilary’s policies are not outrageous either. She is a politician and an insider. As a result, people don’t like her. She has added to the normal dislike and distrust of politicians by her own actions. Her political instincts were sharpened in Washington and she has been under attack for a long time. I don’t understand the deep-seated antipathy some politicians have toward her but I would guess it comes from the ill-fated “Hillarycare” she managed under her husband’s presidency. Hillary has been under intense scrutiny for 30 or more years. The Donald has not. Hillary’s every flaw is well known. Donald’s are not. He has not only been fined by the Justice Department for violating a consent decree regarding housing discrimination but investigated for bribery, corruption in a construction project, sale of two housing units to members of the mob, stock dealings, illegal loans from his father to his casinos, improper lobbying, misleading earnings reports and Trump University . Hillary is far from perfect but she is very well known. The Donald is known mostly to followers of the Apprentice. Running the United States is not a reality TV show.
Why not Trump? If his policies, absent the exaggeration and hyperbole, are not totally despicable and in many ways not that different from Clinton’s, and their record of federal investigations are not dissimilar, why not take a chance on the outsider? Here’s why.
- He is making bullying an acceptable behavior. If a presidential candidate can make his arguments almost entirely through innuendo and ad hominem attacks, then that must be ok. When said candidate uses social media extensively for the sole purpose of name calling, it must be normal. Schools no longer need to teach the elements of logic nor critical thinking because all you need to win an argument is a bag of clever insults. The idea of punching back regardless of the issue and punching harder means it is ok to beat up the little kid who gets in your way or to take his lunch if he insults you. Sixth grade bullies have a how-to guide from the Republican candidate. Way cool! Ironically, Melania Trump spoke out against cyber-bullying and related her own wonderful story of coming to America. However, the largest group of cyber bullies I know of are from Breitbart, InfoWars, 4Chan and of course, @theRealDonaldTrump. Some of their most frequent targets are immigrants and immigration. In other words, her husband and some of his most energetic backers. Bullying is not ok; it is not an acceptable model for the president; and it coarsens the country and reduces its intellectual capability.
- Impetuosity is a liability in foreign affairs. Combined with his bullying instincts, I can imagine him going off-script and upsetting multiple foreign heads of state. Why do we care? We need information and intelligence sharing with as many countries as possible in the fight against terrorism. We need economic cooperation to improve or even maintain our trade deals. We need our allies to believe we have their backs. There are enough countries that don’t like us already. We don’t need to add to the list by insulting a European head of state, for example, for being behind on NATO payments.
- The country needs to be united; he is a divider. What ever you feel about Clinton or the press, inciting crowds with “Lock her up” chants and inviting insulting and abusive behavior to the press should not be acceptable. We have due process laws. They even apply to Democrats. Hillary has not been charged with any crime in the 30 years she has been in Washington. We do not lock up people who have not been indicted. The First Amendment is just as important as the Second (and all the rest) but it was first for a reason. The writers of the Constitution knew the importance of the press and right to assemble. Whether Donald does or not is less important than how his followers perceive the message and who they choose in the years to come at state and local levels. Will press freedom begin to diminish? Attacks on due process increase? Where will that lead? I don’t know but it won’t be a country governed by our Constitution.
- But the biggest problem is cynicism. A campaign that panders to and reinforces the legitimate fears and concerns of a large part of the nation but has no credible plan to fix those problems is just cynical. I said earlier that fixing our immigration system is a good idea. Trump has taken he good idea though and turned it into an element of divisiveness, not over how to fix the policy but over the immigrants and refugees themselves. Even though Trump’s policies are not tremendously out of line with many candidates, his rhetoric is. Listening to him makes it sound like the barbarians are not only at the gate but have broken the hinges and only he can now save us. I find this appeal to the worst and most fearful elements of natures to be the best explanation of “why not Trump”.
Why HRC? See above. If the Democrats ran a normal candidate or even Bernie Sanders, there would be no contest. Hillary has many flaws but she should not be further tainted by the sins of her husband. The one thing that sets her apart (for this election) is that she worked effectively across the aisle when she was a Senator and developed good working relationships with a number of Senators who are still there. She has some small chance of unifying the country. Mr. Trump does not appear to me as though he wants to unify it.