Sunday, July 31, 2016

Why We Must Avoid the Trump Disaster at all Costs

At the start of the summer things were going fairly normally and we were headed for two reasonably boring candidates--Clinton and if not Bush then Cruz. Trump was dismissed as a bloviating billionaire with a penchant for late night tweets, rude barbs and other nasty ways of grabbing the attention of the media. Having succeeded in getting people’s attention like the student at the back of the class prepared to mock the teacher, curse and generally make a ruckus the media then prepared to provide full coverage for his speeches given inside “huge” stadiums and aircraft hangers to mostly white males who when they were not cheering for his familiar "build a wall” line, were looking for hecklers to eject or otherwise beat up when the cameras were not around. The billions of dollars in free media attention the ratings focused media owners were prepared to donate to Trump gratis served to turn a small forest fire into a national environmental emergency. True the kindling was all around--stagnant wages, a perception that Trump helped foster that immigration both from Mexico and from Middle East was out of control and it did not help that the other GOP candidates lacked both policy ideas, passion or convincing solutions. They also had no credibility as it turned out with the mass of the electorate, just like the experts who were wheeled out in the UK’s Brexit debate to persuade the voters to stay in the Remain camp, people preferred to follow their gut that simple solutions would do the trick.--a wall, or in the case of Brexit rejecting the EU treaty. Then some more disturbing things happened. The GOP leadership in the form of Paul Ryan and to a lesser extent Mitch McConnell decided they were not only going to stand in his way to the nomination. Just like Chris Christie and Marco Rubio they folded in the wake of the Trump steamroller so despite his racist views, his counter productive terrorism strategy, his 19th century views on abortion and his efforts to undermine the NATO alliance, he managed to make the GOP into his own image. The GOP is now no longer the party of Lincoln, it is the party of Trump, a crazy megalomaniacal billionaire. Despite the fact that Trump regularly lies, has been bankrupt four times, has not read or shows any interest in reading anything that could be loosely called a briefing book, let alone a normal book, has no experience of governing, this man is now only a few percentage points (if latest opinion polls are to be believed) from winning the presidency of the United States. It is all too shocking to behold. This is a man who has no sense of shame for his lies, who has clear case of narcissism, who has no empathy for others, who created a sham university whose sole purpose was to milk old and vulnerable people of their life savings. He is a publicity seeking amoral monster the media has helped to create.

What can we do? First we all must demand:
1. Trump release his tax returns. These will show most probably the ways that Trump not only skirts the law, does not give to charity, sends jobs abroad etc
2. The media not allow Trump to avoid answering the question and insist on asking follow up questions
3. Insist that your own Senator, Congressman denounce Trump’s racism and counterproductive views on terrorism.
4. Actively register people in your community and make the argument that this is an election no one can afford to sit out.
5. If you know anyone slightly inclined to vote for Trump--that has said one or two positive things about him--please confront them with the one question that counts--would you want his small fingers on the button--they are itchy enough to send insulting crazy tweets at 3:00 am that a 5th grader would never send.

This is the election of our lifetimes. To those who try to find fault with Hillary--she has after all spent 40 plus years in the public spotlight we can only say this --there is no comparison between the kind of tried and tested temperament of Hillary as Senator from New York and as Secretary of State and Trump. Trump has never been elected to anything. He has devoted his entire life to his one object of affection--himself. The email issues have been resolved. We are talking about the future of the country here if not the world. A Trump presidency is unthinkable.