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Though I have taken a step away from politics, at least as far as my job is concerned, the landscape of what is being seen on the current scene compels me to examine where we currently stand. Obviously, the 2000 Pound Gorilla in the room is Donald Trump.

A lot of people I know believe this Trump candidacy is going to eventually run out of gas, will shrivel up and blow away, will not survive any serious scrutiny and will vanish as an amusing sketch from a season of Saturday Night Live that wasn't very good.

I'm not of that group. In fact, I think Trump could win the nomination, and might prove to be a formidable candidate against whomever the Democrats put up.


Here's why...

Keep in mind, that the office of President is not just an intellectual choice, it's an emotional one. People vote based on their feelings, not just on the facts. That's why when you hear people parroting the phrase, "I don't want another Bush or Clinton!" what they really mean is that they don't want an "established" politician.

But established politicians do know a little something about how Washington works. To me, the biggest, most glaring error Barack Obama made when entering the White House was that he could use good common sense, a winning attitude and personality and a willingness to do the work to get the Republicans to help solve a lot of the problems the United States was dealing with in 2009 and 2010.

That's not how it works, and someone like Hillary Clinton, had she won the Democratic nomination and gone on to win the General Election in 2008, wouldn't have made that misstep and wasted that Democratic House and Senate when it was there. It also didn't serve President Obama that he rarely points out his accomplishments, or that he didn't have supporters willing to do that for him. Perception counts for a lot, and having the American people gently reminded of all those achievements would have helped. People would have been a bit more attentive about what President Obama had actually done, if he were more vocal on those matters. But you can't change someone's personality.

Which is the segue to the discussion of Donald Trump and why he could mount a serious challenge this time. Trump has a lot of things going for him, not the least of which is recognition. I doubt that he ever imagined putting his name on his buildings and/or becoming the host of a Reality TV series would be steps toward the White House, but they very much are. Having people know who you are, knowing what you stand for and how you are going to act are part and parcel to the office. Trump has those skills, in spades.

The other issue is the status quo element that many are sick of seeing from these "lifer" pols, people who have held no other job than getting elected and re-elected for years. This is why you see candidates like John Anderson, Ross Perot, even Ben Carson getting a lot of attention.

"Outsiders," like Barack Obama, are having their moment, and Trump fits that bill in a big way. Also, the perception that he is a multimillionaire or billionaire (have we seen his tax forms yet?) means that he's not going to be under the influence of lobbyists or big money donors like the Koch brothers, and people favor those that aren't "puppets," the word Trump used on "Meet the Press."

The other issue is that Trump is painting the scene that he wants you to see, and then stepping into that scene to be the knight in shining armor to fix it. His catchphrase "Let's Make America Great Again" clearly implies that America isn't great, now. This though we had a narrow escape from a Depression, climbed out of that hole and bounced back to a pretty good place.

Never mind that the reason America isn't as great as it could be is simply from corporate greed, which creates and upward spiral of cost for middle and lower class families, while the wealthiest continue to party like it's 1929.

But when you hear Donald Trump "talking tough," about what he's going to do: Clear all the illegal immigrants out, Build an impenetrable wall on the Mexican border that "The Mexicans will pay for..." When you hear him saying how he's going to bring jobs back to our shores (though he is not in favor of raising the minimum wage), and you hear him repeating that "Make America Great Again" mantra as many times as possible during interviews, people get hypnotized and start to buy into it.

Never mind that in the global community, you can't go in, guns ablazing, and demand everything you want because this is Planet United States and we know what's best. Trump has already hinted that he would send massive air strikes to Iran if that's what it took to prevent them from a nuclear device, and that he thought the deal that "Kerry and his friends" cut was "terrible."

Diplomacy is not Trump's long suit.

But many Americans don't know and don't care about diplomacy. They care about results: getting what they want, and getting it sooner rather than later, and that's the sort of candidate they see in Donald Trump. He is like Mitt Romney with a bite. He actually is Biff Tannen from "Back to the Future Part II" the one with all the power and all the money.

Plus, people don't seem to care what sort of statements he makes! As outrageous as he has been so far, he is still leading by a wide margin. And I suppose part of that is the backlash to the backlash.

See, when George W. Bush finished his term, he left America in shambles. All of his drinking and smoking buddies did well for themselves, and the people at the top definitely made out like bandits. In came Barack Obama and custodial services to clean up all that mess. And he did, despite all the calls from people like Trump to "produce your birth certificate" and the other questionable statements about his heritage and his religion. The backlash was getting President Obama.

Obama diligently and methodically went through things, piecing the country back together (Wall Street), taking care of some foreign issues (Osama bin Laden), getting health care in shape and dealing with a Congress intent on doing as little as possible so they could lay all the blame on him.

The Republican strategy worked: People bought into it, as in 2014, the Democrats lost the Senate, assuring the final two years of President Obama's administration would be gridlock'd. Really, Democrats bought into it too, by not standing by the President.

And that's where we are now, the backlash to the backlash - Donald Trump for President. The take no prisoners stance he's using makes a lot of potential voters think, the USA really should be controlling everything, and where Romney was too light and breezy to actually control anything, we know Trump gets projects done. He builds buildings, he makes money, he finishes the work and still has time for all of the other stuff he does.

Granted, we still have about fifteen months to go, and a lot of things, both on the campaign trail and on the planet can happen to change or shift the focus, but, at least for now, Donald Trump is not going away, and people should not assume otherwise.

Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
ravenfeather
Aug. 16th, 2015 06:38 pm (UTC)
Donald Trump does NOT get things done, he pays people to get things done, he is good at finding the folks he NEEDS to put his vision into reality. He is good at making money. Those are the decisions he is good at making. If making money is what it takes to make this country "great" on the world stage, then he would be a good choice. But it is not. He is like a screaming two year old pitching a fit to get his way, and how anyone IN THEIR RIGHT MIND can believe that he is a viable candidate is beyond me. Granted, I am one person, and my way is not the only way, and it takes all kinds yada yada.

The ability to negotiate and compromise between people with differing opinions, and polar opposite agendas is a necessary skill imo for a competent politician in today's world, and one that seems to be overlooked completely. The other three candidates you mentioned had at least a bit of that ability, where Trump does not.

That anyone takes him seriously is a frightening commentary on the voters in this country's "political reality" and the world is judging us on that.
penpusher
Aug. 16th, 2015 09:38 pm (UTC)
You're really splitting hairs when you say "he pays people to get things done..." because the perception is no different. Unlike Dubya before him, Trump's drinking buddies get their assignments and do their jobs, which makes him a viable candidate.

You're almost equating Trump's personality to a schoolyard bully or a junkyard watchdog! But he's OUR schoolyard bully. He's willing to fight for Making America Great Again!

Diplomacy shliplomacy. There's no need to "negotiate" who is the best, which is the message Trump is sending out there. Putting the USA back at the top of the food chain is a message that resonates with a lot of people.

For example, there are all the people who were Mitt Romney supporters, even after his "47 percent" comment. Trump can easily win them to his campaign. There are the people who hate Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. They could be on board. There are the people who just like tough talk and support a "maverick." And all the people who hate the gamesmanship of politics and want someone who isn't going to cater to that element.

Trump really fulfills some political fantasies but at the same time is just real enough to be electable. It's all very fine to say that you don't believe he's a viable candidate. The fact is, he IS a viable candidate, certainly based on the polling so far, most people felt he won that first debate, and he is continuing with his message.

This is real. This is happening. Granted, he has a needle to thread, but if he can win enough centrists and moderates to his side, he could squeak in...
herwonderfulday
Aug. 16th, 2015 10:50 pm (UTC)
He won't win moderates and centrists!

And he is a bully! And bully's might enjoy the egging on from their bully friends but the general public doesn't like a bully!
penpusher
Aug. 18th, 2015 03:14 pm (UTC)
I wanted to sleep on this thought and try and envision what people would think about "bully" Trump.

What do the parents of a bully think about their kid? Are they embarrassed or ashamed? Would they take the kid to task for those actions? Or, maybe... just maybe, they feel some sort of secret pride? The American public, in a serious way, are the parents of this kind of kid. They allowed a system to exist where his sort of behavior gets rewarded. And despite the bankruptcies of the past, he has gotten chance after chance to do it again, and eventually succeeded. Trump is the collective spawn of the "USA! USA!" mentality. And he knows he should be rewarded for what he's doing, because the system was set up specifically so he would be.

Trump is applying every trick in his arsenal, and I don't even think he's halfway done with tricks, when it comes to this campaign. He really is the ultimate politician, despite never having been a politician. All of the stuff he learned through his business deals and experience around the show business world he would dabble in? That's all available material for him to use as defense against opponents or as weaponry to attack people who want to be critical of him.

This is somewhat Orwellian, but it's Animal Farm that's the template this time. Call him Napoleon Trump.
herwonderfulday
Aug. 18th, 2015 07:45 pm (UTC)
Sure, I'm sure parents of bullies share pride that their bully kids are alpha kids, but not all of us feel like Trump's parent. There are Republicans out there who don't like the bully mentality.

(Man. What I wouldn't give to see a power struggle between Trump and Putin tho. That'd be great.)

I think you are giving Trump waaaay too much credit for being a savvy politician. I think the man is failing upwards. But he won't fail all the way to the white house.

penpusher
Aug. 18th, 2015 10:46 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't mind seeing Trump and Putin go at it, as well... just from a safe planet.

I really don't think Trump is savvy at all when it comes to this! That's really the kicker, and why he could be completely successful. He keeps stating that he "doesn't know how to debate" or he "isn't used to campaigning" and people are so willing to forgive and support him for "being honest" about it. That's just another element of his demeanor that people can relate to and like.

The whole "failing upwards" is a political trope! Keep moving forward and if you stumble, you can just say you don't really know what you're doing, apologize, and move on to the next step. People love to see someone big screw up, as long as they're honest and forthright about it. This is a lesson Hillary should be learning, because that's where the gap between what she could do as President and what might keep her from getting there is happening.
davesmusictank
Aug. 23rd, 2015 05:51 am (UTC)
He is also a misogynistic bastard too.
penpusher
Aug. 24th, 2015 03:09 am (UTC)
He is also a misogynistic bastard too.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

Really that may be the biggest qualification for Trump to be a Republican, if you look at the war against women most every GOP candidate has offered up.

This "backlash to the backlash" really is, to phrase it another way, a "takeback." President Obama has been running the country since 2009. But we don't want to give people the idea that anything has changed. Hence, police randomly killing unarmed black citizens, and these Republicans all stating how they want to de-fund Planned Parenthood and hold the minumum wage right where it is.

Trump is the poster child for the Status Quo, and everyone who likes things the way they are will continue to push for someone like him to win.
ravenfeather
Aug. 17th, 2015 05:59 pm (UTC)
FRIGHTENING!!

Ok, if the people who will vote for a non politico maverick were... more than a miniscuel group, Ross Perot would have been president. And for the record, not that it matters outside of my own skin, but I would have liked to have seen how he did.

Trump is very much like W, and you are right, in the right situation he could be voted in just like W, but... I do not think he would do ANYTHING that would advance this country in a positive direction.
penpusher
Aug. 18th, 2015 03:23 pm (UTC)
Donald Trump has something that Ross Perot didn't have and couldn't get: that recognition factor. Trump has been in the headlines since the early 1980s. That TV show he used to do was a top rated reality series. Ross Perot kind of appeared almost out of nowhere. And the media never treated Perot as anything but a quirky character with a couple of curious ideas. Trump is not getting that short shrift.

What would Trump actually "DO" as president? That is a completely different discussion. My only point right now is that he is a viable candidate, based on everything we're seeing, and that he has a chance to get to the Convention, maybe win the Republican nomination and be a serious challenger all the way to Election Day.
herwonderfulday
Aug. 16th, 2015 10:39 pm (UTC)
I'm writing this after reading only the first 3 paragraphs to say that Trump will not be president. There is no way that 50.01% of any necessary district believes that it's okay to elect a man like Trump for president.

This is totally gonna run out of steam.

I will be back to comment after reading the entire entry.

Edit:

No. I don't buy it. Americans are smarter than this.

Edited at 2015-08-16 10:47 pm (UTC)
penpusher
Aug. 17th, 2015 12:38 am (UTC)
You know, I want to believe this to be true, but the evidence so far suggests otherwise. Everyone who has been saying there's no way this is going to get any farther has been incorrect, every time they thought it was over.

It's not even about "logical thinking" or "being smart." It's about thinking that this person can do the job, cannot be bought, will put the country's interests first and has a good track record... and he does fill that bill for a lot of people.

If he gets as far as the convention and wins the nomination, the Republican machine will get fully behind him, and we saw what they did for Dubya. Don't say it can't happen just like that, without real evidence...

herwonderfulday
Aug. 17th, 2015 05:11 am (UTC)
W had political experience. Texas is not a bad place to live (generally speaking). He was a lot more lucid governor than he was as president.

Trump can't even get a casino to make money. He may be good at closing deals but he lacks the wherewithal and statesmanship to be a president.

Pundits may have been wrong about WHEN he's going to run out of steam, but he will run out of steam.

I'd rather Hillary answering that 3am call than Trump.

Everything political is abstract to Trump. When pressed, he won't be able to answer hard questions. If he even gets the nomination, which I doubt, there is no way 50% of the population takes that seriously. As much as Clinton galvanizes the Republicans, Trump would send every Dem to the polls. I know it.

But for fun, who would Trump's running mate be?
penpusher
Aug. 18th, 2015 04:00 am (UTC)
Honestly, you're putting waaaaay too much logic into these arguments. As I stated above, electing a President isn't about the sensible, but about the touchy-feely. And the pendulum swings. We had Dubya, who was a complete do nothing. Then we have Obama, who brought us back to some sort of solvency. Now we're ready for some smackdowns from our new Wrestling President: Trumpy the Hair Body Don.

Keep in mind all of those people who were just repeating all of Romney's phrases in 2012. Romney never said ANYTHING about what he was going to do, and he had a pretty great turnout. Trump is saying stuff. Stuff that people can repeat to each other at the water cooler.

You say he won't be able to answer hard questions as if it matters!

Running mates... Well, The Onion had a couple of amusing suggestions:

You absolutely want to know who I’d pick. A defeated GOP challenger who hates my guts? Another lunatic billionaire? Maybe my own son, Donald Trump Jr.? Whatever your wildest expectation is, I promise you I will surpass it.

The article is fun to read, if we were reading it from a different reality. The unfortunate thing is we aren't. But what if he runs out of steam the day after the election?
low_delta
Aug. 16th, 2015 11:39 pm (UTC)
During Bush vs. Kerry, there were a lot of people who said they liked Bush because was a regular guy. He was the kind of guy they could have a beer with. I wonder how those people feel about Trump.
penpusher
Aug. 17th, 2015 12:57 am (UTC)
It's an interesting concept... Trump is sort of positioning himself as if he's just a "regular guy," a guy who says what everyone is thinking, but he's also the sort that could turn those words into action.

So, on that point, he's definitely not nearly as "elitist" as, say, Mitt Romney. People fantasize that they are in league with someone like Trump, and he's been in all of their living rooms already thanks to "The Apprentice."
istar
Aug. 17th, 2015 02:34 am (UTC)
Can the 1% buy a king of the USA? Maybe. I doubt they can all agree on which one to purchase, this time.
penpusher
Aug. 17th, 2015 03:03 am (UTC)
The point is, the viable choice makes the choosing easy. Trump is likely going to be the guy. Bush has the taint of his brother on him, Fiorina might make some noise, Carson really doesn't seem connected to the process. All the rest are either typical GOP mouthpieces or jokes.

If Trump keeps up his lead, and it's difficult to think that he won't, based on his competition, this won't take long.
istar
Aug. 17th, 2015 06:08 am (UTC)
If Trump keeps up his lead, Trump The Game (and related items) are only going to get more valuable and interesting! I can't wait.
penpusher
Aug. 18th, 2015 04:02 am (UTC)
They might have to revamp that game for The White House...
herwonderfulday
Aug. 17th, 2015 02:15 pm (UTC)
Also. Everyone saying Trump is viable makes it a self fulfilling prophesy. If the media ignored him and treated him like they treated, say, Ron Paul (before the truthers took over his base), this wouldn't last half as long as it could.

But Trump is a trainwreck and trainwrecks are ratings so ofc everyone is going to put him on the air and write click bait articles for him.
penpusher
Aug. 18th, 2015 04:08 am (UTC)
Aha! But that's part of the equation! networks know that Trump's antics and shenanigans will get them ratings. Would that Republican debate have gotten 24 million viewers without Trump, fr. example? So it's an upward spiral for The Don, because he gets on TV, brings the ratings, so more television appearances mean more Trump exposure, which creates more demand for more Trump.

He's smart enough to know this and is playing it to the hilt. And you know what? He's starting to back down a bit, to tone down his wild commentary somewhat. So, that means that he realizes how bad he sounds to the reasonable people out there and is now going to deliver a more rational message. Well, anything would be more rational than those first few weeks...
penpusher
Aug. 22nd, 2015 02:21 am (UTC)
I'm feeling a tiny bit vindicated... but also a lot more worried.
herwonderfulday
Aug. 22nd, 2015 03:11 am (UTC)
If it means the Republican party coming back to the center a little bit, I'm okay with Trump going further.
penpusher
Aug. 22nd, 2015 05:20 am (UTC)
The problem is when the Republicans start seeming "reasonable." They are always, ALWAYS bad for the middle class, lower class and anyone who has too much melanin or doesn't have a penis. That is their end game, no matter how they dress it up, and you can look at Ronald Reagan with his "trickle down" economics as a classic example.

Reagan is held up as some sort of pillar of American virtue, but he was just doing the lockstep with the rest of the GOP. He had some nice imagery, some cleverly turned phrases and put a spin on it to make people think it was "fair," but it literally did nothing to help, to change or improve the lives of the people who needed it the most.

Now, how does Trump play into any of this? It's difficult to know. The Reps want so desperately to get the White House back, they would do just about anything. But Trump is making the party seem irrelevant.

On the other hand, maybe he is out there to be the reason Hillary wins? Just go so GOP insane that everyone votes for Hillary... But maybe that's too meta, even for a former Reality TV star.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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