April 22, 2011

An Argument in Support of the Trump Trend

Latest polls show that if Donald Trump isn’t tied with the GOP’s presidential contenders, he is ahead of them. Trump is rapidly gaining momentum. For several reasons, those voters who are disenchanted with the Washington politics of both parties should consider contributing to this trend – assuming, of course, that Trump runs.

First, the legions of Republicans who sat out the elections of ‘06 and '08 can take comfort from the fact that Donald Trump would be the sole contender for their party’s presidential nomination who has explicitly and unequivocally rejected “Bush Republicanism.” Trump has even gone so far as to identify Barack Obama’s election as President Bush’s legacy.

In this regard, he will stand in stark contrast with his competitors. Although every other Republican claims to have learned his lesson from the party’s betrayal of its constituents during the last decade, beyond some indeterminate references to “out of control spending,” no one has of yet specified any respects in which they will differentiate themselves from their predecessors.

Second, it isn’t just Republicans who should be consoled from Trump’s willingness to call out the GOP’s former standard bearer. “Moderates,” “independents,” and even disaffected Democrats should derive some satisfaction from this as well. Trump’s unabashed eschewal of the “compassionate conservatism” – that is to say, Big Government philosophy – of President Bush and his Republican-dominated Congress promises to resonate with non-Republicans. On the other hand, the general and abstract regret over past spending excesses expressed by other Republicans is likely to strike these voters as insincere.

Third, some of what Trump says should appeal to most Americans. While he expresses (at best) skepticism regarding the nation-building enterprise upon which our government has embarked, he insists that if America wages war, it is imperative that it be in its material self-interest to do so: if we have to go into Iraq, say, we had better confiscate its oil supplies in order to compensate ourselves. What this means is that for utopian foreign policy visions of the sort that characterize our generation, Trump hasn’t a modicum of sympathy.

Moreover, Trump also thinks that Americans would be better off if some of our soldiers could spend their time contending with dangers, not a world way, but right along our southern border.

Fourth, Trump has legitimized the so-called “birther” phenomenon by drawing some much overdue attention to the mystery that continues to surround Obama’s birth certificate. And during an interview with Sean Hannity this past week, he also went some distance toward dismantling the media-created image of Obama the Intellectual by asserting the thesis, compellingly advanced by no one more so than Jack Cashill, that it is actually Bill Ayers who authored Obama’s first book. Trump pointed out the dramatic compositional differences between the president’s memoirs, and reminded viewers that for all of the talk of Obama’s brilliance, we have virtually nothing in the way of scholastic records or scholarship on which to base this assessment.

From a crippling fear of being excoriated by an Obama-friendly media, no other Republican dares to touch upon these topics.

This brings me to the last and, what I take to be, perhaps the most important reason for why Republicans and conservatives should consider supporting Trump.

As has often been said, perception is reality in politics. And in our camera-happy times, style and image matter more than ever. Republican politicians are all too aware of this. They are also aware, painfully aware, of the fact that much of the media upon which they rely is dominated by people who despise their politics. So, to prevent being excoriated, Republicans – Republican presidential candidates, especially – are meticulously careful about what they say and how they say it. However, while such caution is understandable, it invariably proves to be an exercise in futility, for the unfair treatment that they dread inexorably comes to fruition.

Trump has no fear of the leftist media. Why should he? From years of being in their spotlight, Trump has mastered the art of manipulating the media to his advantage. Besides this, considering that he has undoubtedly contributed more to the coffers of Democratic politicians than to those of Republicans’, there is no way that the usual suspects could so much as hope to portray him as a crazed right-wing extremist. And given his stupendous success, they certainly can’t depict him as stupid.

If Trump ever received the GOP’s nomination, he would achieve what no Republican, presidential nominee or president, in recent times has been able to achieve: he would win the public relations war. The importance of this can’t be overstated.

For the foregoing reasons, then, I hope the Trump trend grows.

Jack Kerwick, Ph.D. blogs at www.jackkerwick.com Contact him at [email protected]

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