the Informed

Bad Policy, Bad Taste: Why The Rising Popularity Of Trump Is A Symptom Of A Bigger Problem In America

Donald Trump, for longer than most people care to remember, has been degrading himself for fame and glory, like some orange-faced bully in a school yard who never got the attention at home he needed.

And, like the bully in the school yard, he has no real goal other than to just be loved. Every out-of-place bully the world has ever known has only wanted that, in their tantrums, their insults and their boisterous cries for help and attention.

The Donald explaining how much money he has
But this particular bully, this caricature who is pitiable in his own transparent need for acceptance, is not as dumb as he may seem when he opens him mouth. He may not be as cruel and unthinking as he makes himself out to be: he's a businessman and entertainer and he knows that the American public want an entertainer-in-chief this time around the political circus, not a commander - in fact he's counting on it. And that's what they will get if they don't start to open up their eyes and get serious for a moment. The stakes have never been higher, and wisdom, care and thoughtfulness is what the country needs for their next leader, not an insecure, inarticulate man Wisdom, care and thoughtfulness is what the country needs, not an insecure, inarticulate man who stomps his feet and throws around insults as if they were wisdomwho stomps his feet and throws around insults as if they were wisdom. His insults are so commonplace that Time in fact has created a Trump Insult Generator on their website, just in case you feel left out that he hasn't gotten around to you just yet.

While 'The Donald' has not yet paid a dime for television promotion (and why should he, considering all the free publicity he gets every time he opens his mouth?), he is leading the Republican nomination race for the 2016 election by a substantial margin. His popularity swells with each passing racist & sexist remark, with each act of bravado and with each swagger of his overly-confident ego. This fact is, quite frankly, scaring the shit out of a lot of people - this is no joke, we're in serious trouble right now on Planet Earth, and, I'm sorry to tell you, 'The Donald' is not going to bring peace. This guy will surely tear the world apart, and as we go down in flames, he will care not, because he was loved in the end, just as he wanted all along.

At first a side-show, now a contender:

What was at first considered a side-show, a piece of entertainment in these grim times, has actually become a viable option for the White House despite himself (which he'll undoubtedly gold-plate if he makes it to office, right after he renames it the "Trump House" of course), and this has got to change. We need to wake people up to this buffoonery and impress upon those who only want reality TV that we are in real trouble here and we need a real leader. If you want spectacle, then watch your programs - don't We need to wake people up to this buffoonery and impress upon those who only want reality TV that we are in real trouble here and we need a real leaderbring it into politics at a time when politics needs intelligence, thoughtfulness and character.

As a side-note, I have to say that in doing this research, I really started to get that sinking feeling when you start to lose your faith that humanity can solve these problems we face. The sheer ludicrousness of this circus side-show is disheartening. I did not simply Google 'Trump Is An Idiot', (About 4,470,000 results (0.46 seconds)) but I made a real attempt to get inside the heads of his supporters - for it is there that this battle must be waged (his supporters tend to be a little older, typically earn a little less and have a less-than-average education - curiously similar to the TV generation demographic). I watched an hour-long video of  what one supporter called 'The BEST speech EVER' to try to get a sense of just why these people adore this man so, and just who these people are that adore him. This hour of my life I cannot get back, and I went to bed afterwards with that sick feeling in my stomach, but it did yield some insight. He is an entertainer, he is a messiah of sorts, he is appealing to the lowest common denominator, and he is going for the popular vote like no one before him. But he is not honest, he is neither kind nor compassionate, and he certainly is not a leader. If the American people want reality TV in a time when we need a leader of unprecedented skill, then they will all get what they deserve. I'm sure he is already planning the White House reality TV show, "Commander-In-Trump".

For a video that claims that he delivered the best speech of all time, I had high expectations, and I went into it with an open mind. But he did not deliver. I kept waiting for it, for that moment of presidential glory and hopefulness, hoping that despite myself I would not get shivers down my spine and goosebumps on my arms, but luckily I did not. There was no wow moment, no glimpse into the greatest leader that ever was or ever will be, no moment of presidential inspiration. It was a clumsy stand-up routine, and not all that funny. I kind of felt bad for The Donald for the first time, and saw that he just really wants a big hug - a hug that will come at the cost of our planet and our future if he were to win.

The man & his policies:

For the sake of perspective, let's take a brief look at this man's background and record. Like virtually every billionaire in the world today, he received a generous head start from his father who was a real estate developer in New York and who left the family somewhere between 250 and 500 million dollars. One of five children, born of an immigrant mother no less (she wouldn't have been allowed into the US under his policies), he followed in his father's footsteps and studied real estate development. He came of age during the Vietnam War and was able to avoid the draft on five separate occasions, four for academic deferral and once for heel-splints. While he has managed to amass quite a fortune (estimated at four billion by Forbes, but Trump claims that the figure is more in the ten billion range) he has had four of his businesses file for bankruptcy and has had a string of business ventures fail quite epically. While entrepreneurs do often have to fail in order to succeed (Steve Jobs, for example, had his fair share), that's fine in the private sector but not when a nation is on the line. He is also know for being incredibly defensive when his net worth is estimated at even a dollar less than he himself thinks it to be. In fact. he's overly-defensive and sensitive about every criticism cast his way.

But let's talk about Trump the man, and his character, or lack thereof. He is known as a bully, and his intimidation tactics are well-documented. He often criticizes people based on their appearance when he has no other recourse, and although he is often touted as being liked for his straight-talk, he verges on obscenity almost daily. His racist remarks about Mexican immigrants lost him business deals with Macy's, NBC and Universal amongst others, and his claim to be "really good at the military" is completely unfounded. 

The problem:

And this is where the fact of his rising popularity needs to be addressed as a national problem. His incredibly obtuse policies on ISIS, His incredibly obtuse policies on ISIS, healthcare, immigration, social security and other issues just don't stand up to a moment of scrutinyhealthcare, immigration, social security and other issues just don't stand up to a moment of scrutiny - and they would be dangerous policies in practice. He wants to build a wall between Mexico and the US and make them pay for it? Let's get real for just a moment. The fact that anyone can entertain that kind of thinking is downright scary in these downright dangerous times. The fact is, he is utterly unqualified to be the president of the United States in every possible way. His policies often ignore the other branches of government, the limits of presidential authority and the US's other global commitments. Even his economics, which are his supposed strong suit, do not hold up to scrutiny in the geo-political world in which we live. Does anyone think that this man can create real, working relationships with other nations in this fragile and unstable world? His whole platform revolves around America and America alone, and his appeal is to those who want wealth for the nation and screw the rest (read Make America Rich Again). His supporters may argue that they need a businessman to get them back on track, and they may, but they also need so much more - much more than Trump can offer.

The only thing that 'The Donald' really has going for him is a lot of money and a talent for getting the media to pay attention. But these are not the qualities of a great leader. In fact, he paid people $50 to wear Trump shirts and cheer at his announcement speech. He has also used 'like farms' to rack up the likes on Facebook, hence the disproportionate amount of Filipino and Manilan supporters overseas. Needing likes on social media is what teenage girls do, isn't it? A reactionary man who shows his thin skin over and over is not the stuff of a leader. In fact, if he were in office, his thin skin would cause him to launch war after war. When he has the power to not simply insult someone on Twitter because they fired a shot at him, when he has the power to launch nuclear bombs on them, then we are truly doomed. And his latest gaffe: he wants to have all Muslims in the US put on a registry.  

No, Donald Trump is not a viable candidate for president, and the fact that he is even being considered at all is not only scary, but should be taken as a wake-up call for all of us to reconsider just what American politics has become and what the values of the nation are. Does a misogynistic, childish, mean-spirited and racist man deserve to lead the nation? Serious times require serious candidates, and that is something he surely is not. We'd all be far better off to simply give him a big collective hug and tell him that we like him, and then tell him to just please go away and let the big boys and girls sort out the issues at hand.

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