For Donald Trump to become the President of the United States in 2017 more than 50% of the people who vote in this November’s election must decide that he not only has the wisdom, experience, and gravitas to fill that exalted office, but that he’s also the best of the two likely candidates to be chosen president and, in effect, run the world for the following four years.
The chances of that are small.
Sure, a major number of people voted for him in the Republican primaries, and those people believe he has the right qualities, or that, even if he doesn’t, he’ll at least be better than the usual politicians who become president and don’t make their lives appreciably better, so what the hell! Plus they hate Hillary Clinton.
But even if Trump held the votes of all those people (and he won’t) they lack the numbers (even if they all vote, which they won’t) to win him the office. Trump must also attract big numbers of new voters to his camp, and that isn’t going to happen.
The reason I say this is that Donald Trump can’t keep his mouth shut and when he opens it he frequently (and I mean frequently) says irresponsible things that he has to immediately correct, deny, or explain, and then he attacks those who point out his errors or lies or cover-ups, followed by changing the subject to some new outrageous statement, as if the prior controversy had never happened. Everyone reading this knows what I mean, even determined Trump supporters.
Donald is uninformed about major issues, but that doesn’t stop him from blathering on about them. He rarely states facts, but when he does he is frequently immediately proven wrong or—and this happens a lot, particularly when it’s about his history—he lies brazenly and ignores evidence of his misconduct. He then switches to some new misadventure and sells it to a cheering crowd, who apparently have no interest in consistency.
But every time this happens, which is more or less daily, he loses a few more voters, who wise up and walk away. Even on issues where Trump is supposedly strong he can screw things up, suddenly supporting gun purchases for suspicious people on watchlists, for example, which much upsets the National Rifle Association, a longtime supporter. Trump woos voters who oppose LGBT rights, stating he doesn’t agree with gay marriages (though the evidence suggests he really doesn’t care about the issue at all, having had three “traditional marriages” of his own), but then turns around and favors transgendered people using the bathroom of their choice, ah . . . but then—when pushed—reversed course and said it should be “up to the states” (after having specifically said North Carolina was wrong to legislate LGBT discrimination). Before he ran for president Trump was fine with gay rights and attended gay ceremonies, such as the one in 2005 where Elton John (an old friend of Trump) and his longtime partner cemented their relationship, causing Trump to state in his blog: “I’m very happy for them. If two people dig each other, they dig each other.” He added, “This is a marriage that is going to work.” Hmm.
Stupidly Trump keeps alienating more and more groups by outrageous statements or conduct. When Donald claimed that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated on the rooftops in New Jersey when the World Trade Center was attacked and this proved not to be true, he pointed to a story written by a New York Times reporter named Serge Kovaleski who at the time had published an account of 9/11 in which he stated that authorities had detained “a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.” This turned out to be unsubstantiated. When Kovaleski was asked about it in 2016 he did “not recall anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds of people celebrating. That was not the case, as best I can remember.” At this point Trump was furious. It turns out that he and Kovaleski knew each other for years in the 1980s when Kovaleski covered real estate deals in NYC—they were on a first name basis—and Trump knew that Kovaleski suffers from a congenital condition called arthrogryposis, which limits mobility and muscle development in the joints, causing the reporter paralysis of his hands and to sometimes shake when he talks. Trump promptly went on TV and blasted Kovaleski for backing away from his story, and then imitated Kovaleski’s disability in a video that went viral, and which you can see at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX9reO3QnUA. Since making fun of the man’s handicap made Trump look like a major villain, Trump at first denied knowing Kovaleski had a disability (even though on the video he says, “You gotta see this guy” just before he begins his imitation), and then he reversed course and accused Kovaleski of “using his disability to grandstand”!
If you put this sort of behavior in a novel about a political candidate for president, no one would believe it no matter how well written it was. It even seems like fiction as I write it now.
There are many more examples, but as they pile up Trump’s supporters must begin to worry that Trump is all show and no performance, and feel much like the befuddled travelers in “The Wizard of Oz” being told to ignore the “man behind the curtain” and concentrate on the big screen image of the Wizard. That’s fiction that rings true.
Donald Trump talks big, but decode what is happening and you realize he’s all slogans and no substance. “I’m going to be great! Great!” That’s easy to say, but Trump doesn’t say how he’s going to do it, except to mouth more platitudes like “I’m going to create so many jobs you won’t believe it!” Sounds terrific, and even better if you yell it and a thousand people scream “YES!” on cue.
But voters have brains and the world is a scary place in which to let inexperienced people do whatever the hell they want. As the months between now and November go by, Trump will frighten or annoy or offend or in some way alienate first this group, then that group, then this voter, then that voter, until his numbers plummet and the election is over before the votes are cast.
Oh, wait! The debates! They’ll be very interesting. Hell, they’ll be fun! Hillary is a skilled debater and she won’t let him wiggle off these hooks on which he’s so badly impaled. He’ll try to change the subject and she’ll twist the hook tighter. He’ll try and attack her and she’ll push back with facts and more facts. He’ll throw out his usual sayings, which sound weaker each time they’re repeated.
My prediction is not only will she take him down, but the Republicans are right to worry that he might destroy the rest of the ticket, leaving the Democrats in control of Congress, and the Republican Party a mess, perhaps fatally wounded.
Of course Hillary will have things to answer for. The email thing was certainly badly handled, but the other things that Trump and others try and smear her with are nothing compared to his faults. She’s accused of being too nice to a wayward husband. That’s a flaw? Yes, Hillary earned a lot of money, but there is no evidence it influenced her actions in the many offices she’s held, in which she’s served with distinction. Hillary Clinton has taken principled stances on issues and hasn’t changed those positions all her life.
|Hillary Was a Guest at Donald's Wedding!|
Donald, on the other hand, is guilty of most everything he’s accused of. As I’ve explained in a prior post [“Trump University: A Fraudster for President”?, see below], he’s certainly guilty of out-and-out fraud in his creation and operation of Trump University. I teach the law of fraud in my law school classes and in my textbooks used across the country in courses like Contracts and Consumer Law. The latest edition of my Consumer Law book, which is going to press as I type this, contains a segment on the law of fraud which defines the tort as containing these elements: a material misrepresentation (that’s the lie), told deliberately with knowledge or recklessness about its untruth (“scienter”), on which the defrauded person justifiably relied to his or her detriment. Donald Trump created his “university” (which had to change its name when the State of New York insisted it did not meet the standards for that designation) and put out a video in which he assured viewers that if they attended his wonderful university he’d teach them his secret of success and make them rich, adding that he had handpicked their talented instructors. In reality the program was completely worthless, Trump did not pick the teachers, but what he really did do was take huge amounts of money (up to $35,000 each) from thousands of people who trusted him, who believed they were his new apprentices, who were his fans, and then he left them without the post-graduation support his school had promised it would provide. Trump contends that 98% of graduates said they were “very satisfied” when they finished the training, and he’s right. But that’s because his instruction book to his employees required them to stand over the shoulders of the graduates as they filled out the forms and make sure they marked them favorably. When the lawsuits followed, Trump tried two tactics to get himself dismissed from the case: (1) he said he had nothing really to do with Trump University and (2) that the school did give the students some valuable training. In one opinion handed down so far in the case, the judge ruled that Trump was much involved in the school (that video was damning), and that at trial the plaintiffs would be allowed to prove that the school gave its students nothing of value other than obvious things. Trump, furious that he will have to testify at these trials (there are three of them—two in California in federal court, one in New York, all involving over 5000 swindled students), immediately publically accused the federal judge in California (see photo below) of being biased against him because he’s Mexican and Trump is reputedly anti-Mexican! The judge was born in Indiana of Mexican parents, but, what the hell, Trump had to say something. He can’t just admit that he’s guilty of fraud and that, while Trump University itself failed, he himself pocketed over $5 million from his poor victims who trusted him enough to believe his lies and hand him their savings.
|Federal District Judge Gonzalo Curiel|
Trump has failed in many of the businesses he’s started, but in all those failures it was his companies that entered bankruptcy, not Trump himself. Before the final collapse, as with Trump University, he took his salary off the top, and exited from the failures with mucho money in his bank account. And speaking of money, it will be very interesting to learn when he finally releases his tax returns that he doesn’t actually pay any taxes at all into the U.S. Treasury, but instead has worked things out so his money is parked overseas, free of taxation. Okay, I don’t know that, but want to bet? What will his tax-paying supporters think when they hear this?
Donald Trump isn’t just a bad candidate for president, for all the above reasons he’s a dangerous one. Internationally the US election is being watched with wide-eyed fascination as the world contemplates with horror the idea of Donald Trump having any chance of coming to power. Say what you will about Hillary Clinton, she’s not a dangerous candidate. She has the experience, the resume, and the trust of the leaders of the world to become the President of the United States, and they will sigh with relief when she’s sworn in.
In March of this year my husband and I were in New York City, and late one Friday evening, after attending the theater, we returned to our hotel in Times Square and got on the elevator with an elegantly dressed woman of about 45. As we began a long ride up, the woman, who perhaps had had a bit to drink, suddenly asked if we were Americans. We replied that we were, and she identified herself as Canadian. We all smiled and then she said, very seriously and loudly, “But this election!!! Donald Trump!!! What the FUCK are you Americans doing???”
We laughed, but it wasn’t all that funny.
A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013;http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-guide-to-best-of-my-blog.html
“Trump University: A Fraudster for President”? March 10, 2016; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2016/03/trump-university-fraudster-for-president.html],