He is bold, brash, bombastic and has an ego that will barely fit in the marble plated atrium of a New York City skyscraper. He is a self-made billionaire who flies his private 757 to A-list parties, meetings with world leaders and to inspect his multiple real estate holdings. He has owned hotels, casinos, estates, beauty pageants, yachts, golf courses and a national football team. He has thrived while working with one if the most bloated and byzantine bureaucracies, New York City. He is a best-selling author and reality TV star that has gone from boom to bust to boom again, a real life Horatio Alger hero persuading his way to amazing success.
Could it be that Donald Trump is the physical embodiment of the American Dream? You’re thinking “No way! Trump is a clown, a reality show host.” You can almost feel the europhile limousine liberal elites shudder at the thought of this “ugly American” outlier being a cultural icon or possibly being <gasp> the President. But consider people like Carnegie, Ford, Westinghouse, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Jobs, men whose personalities were not their best features but their accomplishments are the existence proof of American Exceptionalism. Thinking about it that way, it’s OK to ask “Why not Trump?”
Donald Trump routinely takes a chainsaw to the Overton Window when making statements that cause those indoctrinated by the cultural Marxism of political correctness to recoil in horror while uttering knee-jerk condemnation and hackneyed epithets of ‘racist’ or ‘(fill in the blank)-phobe, yet Trump’s standing in the poles inexorably inflates. Why? Has the artifice of political correctness finally run aground on the shoals of common sense or could it be that people are simultaneously repulsed and attracted, disdainful and envious of the man? Is it that deep down there is a guilty secret little room where we want to BE The Donald? Imagine you are Donald Trump. Remember the private 757 jet, hotels, golf courses, football team, casinos and A-list parties. It could be worse, right?
Donald Trump is an enigma to the political class and talking heads because he isn’t a politician, he is an entrepreneurial businessman, so explaining his behavior in political terms is like explaining fire to fish. What the cable show hosts and pundits see is chaos, confusion and gibberish as if Trump were talking in tongues. They can’t understand Trump’s actions OR explain his success because he does not fit the political templates and metrics they use to gauge the actions of political candidates participating in the beauty contest that is campaigning.
As detailed in his book ‘The Art of the Deal’ Trump is not campaigning, he is negotiating with the American people for a deal that will benefit him and, according to Trump, us by Making America Great Again. He is applying classical psychological methods of persuasion and appealing to our emotional sub-conscious. As Dilbert creator, trained hypnotist and blogger Scott Adams observes, Trump is a Master Persuader, a 3D Wizard in a 2D game, and when you view Trump through that filter then his actions not only make sense, they are brilliant.
Adams gives examples of Trump wizardry. With two words Trump took jeb! out of the race, “low energy.” This label hit the mark, it stuck and it ain’t coming off. Similarly for Fiorina, “That Face” now bubbles to the top every time you see her. The most subtle branding happened to Carson who is now a “Nice Guy”, and we all know nice guys finish…
Trump’s early Mexican immigration comments simultaneously brought the problem to the forefront, exposed the media’s dishonesty and gave Trump millions of dollars in free earned media. Everyone was talking about what Trump said, or what they thought about what Trump said or if they agreed with what Trump said.
Likewise Trump’s comments on suspending Muslim immigration, a position with which nearly 2/3 of Americans agree. Repudiation of Trump’s comments was swift and near universal. Cries of ‘racist’ and ‘un-Constitutional’ and ‘not who we are’ rang out. This presents a credibility problem for Trump critics because a religion transcends race and the Constitution does not apply to foreign nationals before they are on our soil. Immigration is a privilege, not a right and immigration law (8 U.S. Code § 1182) gives the President broad authority to exclude ANY Class of aliens, including religious, from securing visas. Furthermore if that alien was a member of a totalitarian party (e.g. parties that require strict Sharia compliance) they would have to renounce their affiliation for 2-5 years and then demonstrate they did not pose a security threat before they could legally be allowed entry.
Obama is likely violating immigration law and Trump’s position is legal yet White House spokesman Josh Earnest (the most ironic name ever) says Trump is disqualified from being president. I would very much like to know the legal basis for that ridiculous statement. With one statement Trump was able to force his opponents to firmly take a position shared by a minority of voters. Wizardry at work.
Trump is a political party agnostic. Yes he is on the Republican ticket but his first allegiance is to business and to be successful in business you cannot limit your options to only those of a particular political affiliation. Trump is a Republican because Republican policies are marginally friendlier to business and because he has a good chance at the Republican nomination.
Of course the political establishment is going nuts because Trump operates outside the political machine that makes Presidential nominee selection much closer to Kabuki Theater than a rational selection of the best candidates. This is on resplendent display with the Democratic ticket where we have the anointed Hillary, the not-Hillary not-option (not even a democrat, socialist Sanders) and the other guy (so it doesn’t look too obvious – not). Out of 70 million Democrats, Hillary is the choice Democrats get to make. What happened to the big tent?
The Republican side is better, but not by much. The establishment favorite jeb! heralded an historic Bush v. Clinton rematch to the collective groan of many in the party. Fortunately, over a dozen other candidates offer the voter a wide spectrum of Republican options from the dynastic jeb! to the agnostic Trump. An early attempt to block Trump with a fidelity pledge to prevent a third party challenge seems to be backfiring and will force the establishment to support Trump, should he prevail. A deal is a deal, after all.
The Hillary camp is in full panic mode. They can see who the populist candidate is and it is not Hillary. They say that they have no fear of Trump which translates to “we are very afraid of Trump” so it is time for Hillary to deploy her most potent “secret weapon,” Bill Clinton. The theme of the Hillary campaign is shifting from “Vote for a woman, it will be historic” to “Remember Bill? You like Bill.”
If past is prelude then, as negotiations progress, Trump’s positions will soften slightly as will our criticisms. We will see concessions and clarifications and discussions that pull the parties to a common point. In the fullness of time we may come to find that while we may not like the man completely, we will begin to trust and agree with him here and there and to see past the deal where together we make America great again. This isn’t the way of politics, but it is the art of the deal.
I must admit that Trump is not my first choice, but for many he is their second choice and in a fractured field, everybody’s second choice may be the best choice. I don’t know if Donald Trump will be a good president, but isn’t that always the case?