Neil Newton: Author of “The Railroad” on Amazon
I will start by doing my best to take this out of the realm of partisan politics or the realm of establishment candidates vs. non-establishment candidates. The reality that applies to Trump AND all candidates is that most of them will not deliver on most of their important promises. All of them. Regardless of what you think of Gays in the military, one of the first reversals that Bill Clinton experienced shortly after his first Presidential win, was a failure to implement a comprehensive policy to force the Army to recognize and encourage Gay’s participation in our armed forces. This was something that Clinton had made an important part of his political platform. Yet, despite his best efforts, he was forced to bow to the pressures of political infighting.
This is not about LGBT rights; I say that because these days mentioning any hot button issue immediately suggests that the person mentioning it is picking a side and picking a side has become the driver for politics these days. Or should I say, picking a side to hate. A surprising number of Americans are voting AGAINST candidates. What I recently heard on CNN drives that home. One editorial in a major newspaper started by saying “I hate Donald Trump but I may vote for him”. This is a disturbing statement; if we vote against candidates, the ones we do vote for are never vetted and, as I‘ve said in other blogs, we are being less critical of our accepted candidate than we are of a car that we are considering buying. If we bought a lemon, we would kick ourselves and live through the horrors of repeated, expensive, repairs. Yet when it comes to a candidate, we are less than careful. Let the buyer beware will mean more when it comes to a presidential candidate.
What does that have to do with Trump? Trump, in my opinion and my experience, is less likely to even try to deliver on his promises than the average candidate who usually is piss poor at delivering on promises. Let’s consider the claim that Trump will “Make America Great Again”. This claim has translated into “we will go back to when the country was powerful and healthy”. Others have begun to see the claim as meaning that we will return to a country where our national culture and national ethnicities will be dominant. This last interpretation is ugly if you believe that the constitution is the only foundation for our political system but that is for another blog.
Trump has said things and has never explained them. He has never explained what making America great actually means. And I think that this has been deliberate as he is a salesman. He has allowed people to think that he will be a “man for the people” simply because he is not for corporate interests and the RNC establishment. If you watch the news, talking heads and even Hillary Clinton have rushed in to provide meaning for slogans that Trump has no intention of explaining. In sales, and sales is what Trump is all about, setting a mood or manipulating an emotion is not only enough to get you where you want to go, it is superior to making a statement and explaining it completely. It is manipulation pure and simple.
For the “angry and previously silent” in this country, Trump is the man to embrace because they have been left thirsty by years of neglect by establishment politics. Hence, Trump, a salesman and advertiser, has relied on tried and true techniques used to sell “product”. Buzz words such as “establishment”, “great”, “people”, “muslims”, etc. immediately affect our emotions and start us down the path to “buy” trump. This is a dangerous trend because we really don’t know what Trump will do.
So let’s assume that, at worst, we can assume that we don’t know what Trump will do. Does that mean that he will still be “better than Hillary” and at least deliver some of what the “angry and previously silent” in America want: “America first”, “bringing back companies that have bailed on the America by moving to other countries”, “Emphasizing the culture and ethnicity of Americans who grew up in sixties and seventies”, “Shrinking the role of government in running our Country”. I will suggest that Trump is the person least likely to deliver on any of these promises. And here’s why:
Donald Trump has no passions. If you watch old videos of him establishing his reason for being, he boils down his philosophy to sound bites like “I only want to win”. Many have interpreted this seeming competency to mean that he will want America to win as well. Donald Trump has never expressed an interest in helping anyone but himself, except in situations where helping others helps him. He is a man who is about himself.
I am from New York and grew up only miles from where Trump did. Trump has a long and consistent history in New York, the place where he began his business career and the place where most of his early business activities took place. He has never shown any interest in anything but himself and, as odd as it may seem to American’s outside of New York, he has been considered a comical person. His swaggering and unfounded arrogance has made him a joke in New York, not because New York is an “elite” place where the elite look down on Trump, but because he behaves like a bully on the school yard, blows his own horn and has had four bankruptcies to his credit, making his boasts seem all the more ridiculous. The point of all this is that Trump is an insecure man who thinks only of himself. He has actively made that clear in the bubble of New York City, all through his own words and his unfounded boasts.
Trump is inconsistent. He has blasted the airwaves with a strong man’s claims of “building a wall” and “keeping Muslims out of America” . In these platform issues, his most important to date, he has spectacularly reversed himself for the sake of political success. The “wall” is no longer mentioned (and it’s clear that it is financially impossible) and he has waffled on the Muslim issue, lately limiting it to only “some Muslims”. The disturbing conclusion is that, even the things that have attracted his voting base are not passions for Trump; they are simply advertising for the “Trump for President” campaign.
Trump IS the establishment and IS the elite. He has shown his preference for winners and people who make their mark on the world. He has criticized John McCain who is a hero because “he got captured.”. He has never shown any interest in doing anything but being a conspicuous consumer, spending money and accepting only the best in life and flaunting his success. He has no interest in helping anyone, especially his base of blue collar voters who are the opposite of what he considers himself to be: a high roller who can shake the world.
Trump is scathing about companies who have taken their business and jobs out of the country. Yet he has products manufactured in China, Japan, Honduras and Brazil as well as the European countries of Norway, Italy, Germany, and… wait for it…Mexico. The last one, Mexico, is outrageous for reasons that don’t need to be explained. It is also a country that Trump admits is one of the foreign nations where he has business interests. Mexico? What does that say about Trumps firm convictions about his political platform?
Let’s be clear. You, and in this case you means his base, blue collar, mostly white man, you don’t matter to Trump. He will dump you in a second if it serves his purposes. He has already started to do just that, turning back on his promises to block Muslim immigration, building a wall across the Mexican border, blocking Mexican immigration. He is playing fast and loose with our economic health by criticizing companies that bail on America while he maintains the same economic cancer in his business portfolio.
You hate Hillary. You hate the Republican establishment. I get that. I think the two party system is major failure. This elections has shown us that the two parties aren’t as different as they used to be; if Hillary is establishment then she is part of the “American” establishment and her political affiliations mean nothing in terms of her perceived dishonesty and her major connections to the rich and powerful.
Back to my favorite metaphor: the car. I offer to sell you a car. It’s not a ford. You hate fords so you are leaning toward buying my car. You want the car because it’s not a ford. You once owned a ford and it ruined your life.
So what do you do? If you are a mechanic, you drive the car, looking for sounds that indicate the car has problems. And then you give the car a thorough going over.
And if you aren’t a mechanic? You hire one you trust. And he or she does what has to be done. And in either case, mechanic or not, you buy the car only if it will give you years of reasonably maintenance free driving. Because having a working car is critical to your life; it gets you to your job and back home.
Don’t like Hillary? Don’t like the Republican establishment? Give Trump a drive and then ask yourself, honestly, if he isn’t going to ruin your life and your country. Will he follow the constitution? Will he bring to fruition the dreams of our founding fathers? Or will he make our country into a playground for his ambitions, destroying the financial and political health of our nation.