I know lots of so-called conservatives like Donald Trump. He’s good at attracting attention and making the right kinds of promises. Most wealthy people are. That’s part of the key to their success. But is Donald Trump actually the right choice for president? I don’t think so.
But, against all reason and sound judgment, it seems that conservatives really like him. In fact, in some polls, he’s at the top of the growing heap of GOP presidential candidates. Either that or he’s really good at paying to make it look like people really like him when his money isn’t enough to buy adequate supporters.
Is that harsh? Possibly. But I don’t think it’s untrue. Trump has been in the business of show and the show of business for quite some time, as everyone must know by now. A recent op-ed in The New York Times explains both Trump’s appeal and his inadequacy as a presidential candidate:
An editorial in The Weekly Standard says Republicans can benefit from “a little touch of Trump” in rhetoric, attitude and bearing. According to Rush Limbaugh, Mr. Trump’s statements will “resonate” with many Americans.
They may. But they shouldn’t.
For starters, Mr. Trump, though he claims to be a conservative, is nothing of the sort. He’s barely even a Republican. For most of the last decade, he was a registered Democrat. It wasn’t that long ago that most of his political contributions went to Democrats, including Senators Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton. Before he discovered his Republican roots, Mr. Trump favored a single-payer health care system and proposed a large “net worth tax” on wealthy individuals. He once declared himself “strongly pro-choice” and favored drug legalization. He is a vehement protectionist. Earlier this year he even accused Republicans running for president of “attacking” Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Why would conservatives find him the least bit appealing?
Mr. Trump has no coherent governing philosophy. All he has is an attitude, and a crude one at that. As his announcement speech and subsequent statements have made clear, his command of the issues is superficial, his presentation often rambling and demagogic.
Yes, exactly. An attitude is not a political platform. But it’s generally enough in our substance-deprived and largely depraved society. I’m sick of conservatives like Trump. He’s the candidate that most closely resembles Fox News: bluster, outrage, bravado, sound bites, boiler plates, and money. Lots of money.
I would say it’s insulting to the general populace to assume that style without substance could ever win out over real principles and conviction. But what can you do when the populace seems intent on embarrassing itself every day. Every single day. Trump is one of billions of examples. We can do better.