Wednesday, July 22, 2015

America deserves Donald Trump


     I was at the Lincoln Memorial earlier this month, and studied the face of Daniel Chester French's Lincoln. He looked pissed, and that right foot lifting slightly, as if he were about to leap up and stride out of that shrine and start kicking ass.
    And why not? The Union is in disarray, as always. Our cherished freedoms are held cheaply by the paranoiacs and psychopaths who dominate what passes for political discourse in this country. Relentless plutocrat and egomaniac Donald Trump is leading the polls in 2016 is something you'd expect in a bad nightmare dystopian movie from 1989. Yet there it is. Get in the game Abe. We need you. We need somebody. 

     America deserves Donald Trump.
     Don't we?
     Nearly a quarter of Republicans agree: They want him to be president. Twenty-four percent prefer Trump over actual politicians such as Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio.
     Yes, that Post-ABC poll was mostly taken before Trump's jaw-dropping slap at Sen. John McCain's war record. But Tuesday, when those poll numbers came out, the general feeling was not that Trump had destroyed himself and this was the final gasp of might-have-been before the real estate developer slumps offstage in shame. The usual, one-awkward-shout-and-Howard-Dean-is-history dynamic doesn't seem to apply to Trump, who refused to be embarrassed for slurring every American POW who ever lived, and instead busied himself slamming Lindsey Graham and giving out his cellphone number.
     Times change. Gary Hart's campaign was scuttled because of one weekend with Donna Rice; Donald Trump married Marla Maples and nobody even remembers.
     So Republicans think we deserve Trump because he represents their angry rejection of all things Washington: politicians, policy, Barack Obama. Trump, remember, was denying Obama was born in this country long after even zealots let the fantasy drop.
     Now Democrats, look into your hearts.

     We believe this country deserves Donald Trump too, don't we?
     Haven't we turned our political life into a theater of the absurd? Don't we acknowledge that shiny surface appearance trumps — no pun intended — inner merit? Hasn't money hijacked the electoral system, flowing easily around all feeble efforts to constrain it like a swollen river around a rock?
     Sure, some Democrats will embrace Trump cynically, as the quickest way to drive the GOP into a ditch, leaving a clear stretch of dry highway for Hillary Clinton to cruise into the White House.
     But we could also accept Trump as the punishment we know we deserve. For being lightweights, for never embracing what we believe with a fraction of the passion of the Fox News crowd.
     Remember, Clinton has also been running for president for the past few weeks. She might as well be campaigning on Pluto, a smudge photographed by the New Horizons spacecraft as it raced by. Trump straddles the American stage like a colossus.
     Maybe we're getting used to him. We've seen him on TV, read his books. We buy his wealth=quality logic.
     Trump doesn't need position papers. He doesn't need policy experts. He just has to be himself, pure ego, pure demagoguery. Maybe he'll blow up, maybe he'll call Taylor Swift a whore and the country will turn on him.
     Or maybe he won't. I keep thinking of Ronald Reagan, the guy we want to add to Mount Rushmore. The country forgets what a joke he was, at first, the Bedtime for Bonzo B-grade actor who paused from selling Borax to run the nuthouse of California and won GOP hearts by being more dynamic than Gerald Ford, which is not that hard to do.
     Sure, Trump might implode. But how is the GOP going to settle down with staid old Jeb Bush after Trump? It can't.
     Insulting McCain will pass; McCain's a stiff, the guy who lost to Barack Obama by 10 million votes. Not that we should hold the Trump inauguration quite yet. I'm of the opinion that Trump will self-destruct on live TV during the Aug. 6 debate. It will be his "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" moment with the whole country watching, aghast. But that might be my giddy, people-are-good-at-heart optimism.
     Right now, Trump is a win-win-win for America. Either he flames out — win — and makes the country grateful for a Jeb Bush candidacy, something I would not have previously thought possible.
     Or he takes the GOP field — win — and allows Hillary Clinton to waltz into the presidency in a cakewalk.
     Or Trumps prevails and becomes president, terrifying the world with the awful, limitless possibility that is America, raising the specter of a country lost in shallowness and worship of wealth finally getting the leader we so richly deserve.

35 comments:

  1. As usual, a great article Neil.

    This whole Trump thing is fascinating. He threatens to run and is not taken seriously. He runs and everyone think's it's a flash in the pan and he won't gain traction. He hits a nerve with Americans on immigration and gains support. It will be interesting to see how he fares once his McCain comments are included in polls.

    Other R candidates criticize him and demand that he step down, probably because their support is in the 1-2% range and they are desperate. The most recent poll (prior to the McCain dealio) had Trump leading Scott Walker and Jed Bush by roughly 2-1.

    At the very least, Trump is defining the issues among the Republicans, just as Bernie Sanders has a big influence on the Democratic issues. I can't wait for the primetime debates! And your next column!

    Do you think Trump is taking focus away from important issues, like Iran, the economy and national security?

    Does it matter at this stage?

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  2. I always try to be optimistic, and find something positive in any situation. Thanks to donald trump we now know Lindsey Graham's personal cell phone number is 202-228-0292. Will this spell the end of government secrecy? Perhaps this is a harbinger of a presidency that will be truly transparent.

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  3. Some good points NS, but a bit too cynical. I can't imagine he'll win any nomination much less the Pres. Reagan didn't sound as idiotic if you're concerned of that jump to power.

    Yes, Bernie, Trump has the maturity level of an 8 yr old.

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  4. Sure, Trump is such a buffoon but lost in all of this is there is a ring of truth to what he says about immigration. He is such an ass though that that is all that is being covered. He is a train wreck the whole nation cannot stop watching

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    1. "A ring of truth?" Really?

      Tom Evans

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    2. Sure, A ring of truth, does that make me hate filled or something? Our immigration policy is whacked.

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    3. Have no idea -- or interest in -- what you might be filled with, but several dictionaries tell me that having a "ring of truth" is equivalent to "seems to be true." That being the case, your comment suggests you believe that most illegal aliens, or at least the ones from south of the border, are rapists and murderers. As numerous commentators have pointed out, such assertions are not supported by crime statistics and are clearly lies designed to inflame nativist sentiments. If in fact you don't agree with Trump on these "facts" perhaps you should be more careful in your choice of idioms.

      TE

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    4. Then I guess I did error in "ring of truth" anology...I forget one must be careful nowadays how one speaks because people are quick to trounce on you. What I meant that some of what he says is true but of course not all of what he ways. I do not like him at all, like I said he is a buffoon. Are immigrants coming up from Mexico criminals and rapist and what not? Of course not. The one that come over illegally are criminals but I wouldn't say most of them are all those things he said but they are criminals none the less. Take a look at Waukegan, IL to see what can happen when a sanctuary city can do to itself. I don't blame them that much, they only want a better life. I blame the government for it's lack immigration policies.

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    5. The criminal element in Waukegan isn't made up of immigrants, and most of the Hispanic population are decent, well-structured working families. You don't know what you're talking about.

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    6. I didn't mention crime in Waukegan, you did. I said say what being a sanctuary city can do to itself. There has been a major influx of illegals in Waukegan. Multiple families crammed into single family homes. The schools only get one families tax from that home. The schools are suffering big time. You have bad schools then you have more and more higher income people move out. The people can't sell their homes for what they want so they rent them out, many times illegally renting to multiple familes. It's just an endless cycle. This is no slight on the Mexican people. What has to be done is crack down on businesses who hire the illegals. Enforce the immigration laws we already have instead of looking the other way. I may be accused of much hate I suppose but I don't hate anyone, hates a harsh feeling, when you hate someone you are hurting yourself more than the person you hate. You can defend Waukegan if you like, and I love Waukegan, was born and raised there but lets be honest, the town is a miniature Detroit

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    7. Waukegan is not a sanctuary city.

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    8. It certainly is. Decades ago the administration there appeared to crack down too hard on the city for enforcing the multiple families in single family homes. Clinton's justice dept swooped in and brought suit for civil rights violations. The city backed down because they could not afford such a suit and turned into little frightened kittens and looked the other way as the illegals poured in. There are many cities around the country that proudly proclaim they are sanctuary cities and welcome the illegals.

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    9. Yes, there are, but I can't find any evidence Waukegan is one of them. I checked multiple lists of santuary cities, and Waukegan is not on any of them. Nor does Waukegan declare itself a sanctuary city.

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    10. You don't love Waukegan if you're comparing it to Detroit. Yes, the federal court said you can't discriminate against a culture that has extended family living together. Guess what, it's not only Hispanic families doing that now. And Waukegan has great schools! We haven't operated at a deficit in years and we have higher attendance and graduation rates than other equally challenged high minority/high poverty districts. It seems to me the criminals here are the people hiring illegals and cramming multiple families into one house (which is not the same as an extended family). I'm sorry you don't like today's Waukegan, but many of us have adjusted to the changing population. They're good people, they have a strong work ethic along with strong family ties. What's not to like about that?

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    11. Anon 1:51 Waukegan=Detroit? Have you seen Detroit lately? It's nowhere close to being the same. Don't the schools operate on a count day system. Funds are partially tallied by number of students in the school so the migrants get counted and the school gets that money. They count fall and spring here.

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    12. Wendy...you are fooling yourself if you are saying that Waukegan has great schools... Take a look at some Lake County schools PSA2 rankings from 2014 (Illinois high school juniors take the Prairie State Achievement Examination, or PSAE. The two-day exam includes the ACT college entrance exam and the ACT Work Keys, a math and reading exam that measures real-world skills.)
      Deerfied - 88.0 meet or excced the PSA2 ranking
      Libertyville - 86.6 meet or exceed the PSA2 ranking
      Highland Park - 81.1 meet or exceed the PSA2 ranking
      Waukegan 28.7 - meet or exceed the PSA2 ranking
      Look, I DO still love Waukegan but it is heartbreaking to see what has become of it. I can’t even walk my old neighborhood for fear of being mugged. As far as crime take a look at the police logs (the ones the city decides to put out). Numerous friends of mine had been hit by some Hispanic without insurance. They pretend to not talk English and my friends have to make a claim on their own insurance. With the illegals our insurance rates go up, our real estate values go down. I brought my daughter a few years ago to Victory Hospital in Waukegan because she broke her ankle. We were waiting in the ER and I heard this nurse say to this Hispanic guy “sir, you have two social security cards here, which one do you want to use?” What?
      I know it seems that I am a xenophobe but I am really not. I work with and live near many fine Hispanics. They are a good family oriented culture. We could learn from them in that respect being the way we treat our elderly. I am just bemoaning what happens when we don’t have a decent immigration policy.
      And this started by me saying that Trump did speak some truth although he has no tact and he’s an idiot to boot. That’s all I was saying.

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    13. I find it interesting you chose three districts with entirely different demographics concerning student makeup and vastly higher funding through higher property taxes. Yep, the PSEA scores are higher on average, but consider Waukegan's higher level of ELL, high poverty, and Special Education students, which brings the average down. Does this mean all WHS students score low? No! We have students, including my daughter (a junior last year) scoring in the upper twenty and low thirty range on the ACT (the PSAE is no longer in use). It's the population, not the schools. As a parent and educator of the system, I'm proud of my community and school staff. We do our best to provide learning and vocational opportunities for a very diverse population, and we've had great success.

      I don't believe, as I think you do, that Waukegan's Hispanic population is bringing the community down. I'm not afraid to walk my mostly Hispanic neighborhood. I see all of us a survivors of a very difficult time in our country's economy. We are growing, and producing more top level young adults every year. It's no more an immigration problem than it has been for previous foreign populations going back 150 years.

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    14. It's just cold hard facts. I don't think the Hispanic pop is bringing the town down but I do believe the amount of the ILLEGAL population is contributing to the downfall of Waukegan. I was born there in the mid 50s and was raised there. It was a great town. I still love the town but it sure isn't great anymore. I applaud those that are striving to make it better. I don't know how long you have lived there. I am not saying someone shouldn't live there. It still has some great spots. I go there a few times a month to visit relatives and I can't stay away from Louies. It makes me sad to see what the town has turned into. I know you are taking this as an insult and I'm sorry but Waukegan just isn't the same.

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    15. Louie's has the best thin crust pizza! Change is hard, but we adapt or move away. I understand your choice.

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    16. and their bread! Oh man, their bread...best ever!

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  5. Trump is America's Berlusconi, which is definitely not a good thing.
    But the Republican voters will soon say to Fuckface von Clownstick FKA The Short Fingered Vulgarian: YOU'RE FIRED!
    BTW, after Spy Magazine started calling him the Short Fingered Vulgarian, he made their point by going on TV & holding up his fingers to show they weren't that short. But by doing that, he proved he was & is a vulgarian!

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  6. I think it's way too early to be concerned. Remember 2012, when Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann were at the front of the Republican pack? Both were just as unqualified/crazy as Trump, and the inevitable flameout happened to them, as it will to him.

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    1. I agree. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the show. Before we panic that a quarter of Republicans say they would vote for Trump, let's keep in mind that three-quarters say they wouldn't.

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  7. I'm not sure I understand Trump's goal here. Does he really want the presidency, or is he trying to decimate the Republican Party? If he isn't nominated, will he run as an independent?

    Maybe he's trying to create a new party, representing oligarchs, and he'll call it the Citizens United Party. (He reminds me of Rauner on a larger scale, using personal money to control the politics.)

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    1. I agree with your assessment Wendy and same with Rauner, to a lesser degree. And if he does run indep, he'll split the Repub vote, so fine with me.

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  8. Well, nothing like some bracing, provocative cynicism to balance out yesterday's touching arboreal tribute.

    "We need somebody." "We've" GOT somebody. I'll agree that the disgusting apathy demonstrated by a vast swath of Americans is only matched by the disturbing nature of the fervor shown by some of those supporting a loose cannon like Trump. But SOMEBODY elected Barack Obama twice, which is pretty good, given that he seems to be the most rational, contemplative choice who's been available for a while. And who, on balance, has done a pretty good job of righting this shipwrecked country, given the amount of time, and the lack of support, he's had.

    Donald Trump leading the polls is partly just a function of there being 16 clowns jammed into the car and the election being way down the road. Howard Beale may not have been very circumspect, but he was LOUD! However important that was in 1976, it's even more crucial in today's media environment. Trump hit the ground running by slurring Mexicans right out of the gate. Cue outraged reaction pieces in every paper and on every TV station lasting days until he could say something else outrageous and spur another round of coverage. Thus, people who weren't even thinking about Trump now have him shoved in their face. Then, of course, some percentage of deep thinkers conclude "this guy ain't afraid to tell it like it is, and if the librul lamestream media is against him, sign me up!" Next, fire up some more overheated TV coverage -- "Trump is winning!" -- and then add another bunch to the same kind of bandwagon that features people buying Confederate flags right now to "stick it to The Man."

    The only valid comparison to Reagan is that he was discounted, as well. I remember being amazed that Reagan went from being a sideshow joke in his first two Presidential campaigns to actually winning. But, like him or hate him, he HAD been Governor of California and a "voice" of conservatism for years by the time he won. Trump's never been elected to anything, never will be, and a better comparison for him would be Grandpa Simpson shouting at the clouds.

    "Trump straddles the American stage like a colossus." With all due respect, that's bull. He's a carnival barker that has had the stage handed to him by a cynical bunch of media folks desperate to get ANYBODY to pay attention to ANYTHING for more than 5 seconds.

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  9. Well said, Jakash. Yes, he certainly knows how to get attention.

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  10. Neil's comment that we deserve punishment for " never embracing what we believe with a fraction of the passion of the Fox News crowd" evokes some famous lines from an uncharacteristically ominous poem by William Butler Yeats,

    "The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity."

    The poem is called The Second Coming. "The Donald" seems too comic a figure to be The Anti-Christ, but we can hope that his appearance on the scene does not embody the prediction in the final lines.

    "That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

    Tom Evans

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  11. I like that "i am not a robot" thing when you post. Is that a problem here? Too many robots posting? I would enjoy to hear Tobor's opinion of things. I'm sure that R2D2 has some good ideas too.

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  12. The way he says horrible things and gets people all worked up reminds me of nothing so much as a pro-wrestling heel. The more despicable the heel, the more tickets people buy to his bouts, hoping to see him defeated by a good guy (i.e. a "face.") All that's required to be a face is to not be as despicable as the heel.

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  13. I just saw Sen. Graham's YouTube video on how to destroy your cell phone. Pretty funny, worth looking up.
    I was thinking of that same line from Yeats, the best lack conviction, scary, sad, but too true.
    If Trump were to become president, and that is nightmare fodder right there, could you imagine what his foreign policy would be? Can a president sue other countries bc that seems to be his biggest fallback, after yelling and calling people derogatory names of course.

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    1. That was very funny. I don't like Graham but might this not increase his standing in the polls?

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    2. There might be a mini bump, but do to the ever increasing American Alzheimer's effect in regards to politics, it will be forgotten when it's important.

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  14. Trump is the Kardashian's of the East Coast. Famous for being dumb. As a GOP'er this guy pisses me off. He does not represent the GOP, he needs to go. I know it won't be long before his candidacy crashes and burns and it can't happen too soon. I admit though I would pay to see him debate Hillary...that would be great but he has to go. Bush is the man I want.

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