In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act. – George Orwell
Politics are, inherently, built on deception. Anybody who understands politics will realize that there is a disconnect between what a politician says to the public, and what they ultimately do. It is also built on perception. How a politician is perceived by the public is just as important (and arguably more influential) than what they are really like when stripped away of all the endless rhetoric and sound bites.
Now, I have always considered myself a moderate that has equal disdain for most Democrats and Republicans. On the same note, I can step back and analyze things objectively, and can name good things about many politicians. I’ve come to realize that most people don’t have, or choose not to use, that ability, but at the end of the day I’m just another undecided voter.
Donald Trump, at this point, is the leading GOP candidate. His strengths have been that he is perceived as anti-establishment, that he will be aggressive, that he will…”Make America Great Again”. His biggest weaknesses are an astounding ignorance of foreign and domestic policy, and numerous inconsistencies in debates and interviews. The public perception, in this case, trumps the public deception.
The ironic part is, for someone who is known mostly for his astute business sense, big business across America is freaked out at the possibility of Trump becoming President. Any businessman will tell you: whether they agree with the current economic policies or not, they at least want them to be reasonable and consistent, so that they can make the necessary adjustments to keep their businesses running. Reasonable and consistent is not Trump’s style.
At the end of the day, NOBODY knows what the hell Trump would do. He doesn’t even know, and his vague statements in the previous debates have proved that. The main support that Trump has is by the undereducated working-class and middle-class. If Trump were to become President, do you honestly think he would enact policies that would help the working class? He is a known union buster, and his hotels in Las Vegas pay their employees an average of $4/hour less than the other hotels. He took advantage of higher education loopholes to create Trump University, which was no better than any other fly-by-night for profit colleges, and which charged Harvard tuition for University of Phoenix results. Wait…U of Phoenix was actually accredited, whereas Trump University is now called a different name because of extensive lawsuits, and because they were never an accredited university.
Despite what the naysayers will say, things in the U.S. are relatively good. The unemployment rate has fallen from around 10% in 2010, to around 5% now. Wages, while still largely stagnant, are starting to rise, largely due to state voter initiatives mandating higher minimum wages. There are economic opportunities here that simply cannot be achieved elsewhere, if one has the proper initiative, innovation, luck, and business connections of course.
Donald Trump has had a lot of initiative, and he has also had a lot of luck in his privileged life. He is not a stupid man, even though he says many stupid things. He isn’t going to fundamentally change this country anymore than if Bernie Sanders were to become president (I like Bernie, but let’s be honest: free college tuition for everyone isn’t going to happen, and it shouldn’t happen). There are too many business interests, and checks and balances from Congress, the House Of Representatives, and the Supreme Court to let any fundamental change happen in this country.
So…what would that mean? Four more years of the “status quo”, with nothing really changing, except having a president who worries about making sure we know he has big hands, which means he has a big “you know what”? You have to have tact as President. Even our beloved JFK, who was a drug addict, adulterer, and who was involved with the Mafia (in fact, the Chicago mob was the only reason he beat Nixon!), knew that a president’s perception is paramount.
Maybe things have changed. Maybe this country wants a President who sounds uneducated. Maybe, in this age of reality TV and social media narcissism, we really do worship the sound bite over substance.
And that is what truly scares me.