By Nick Chase
Now that I have your attention with the above headline, let me say that while Donald Trump is not at the top of my short list of preferred Republican candidates for president, I think that there's a very good chance that in January 2017 we will all be saying "President Trump". And I have thought so since he first announced his candidacy last June, in spite of near-universal derision from left-wingers, the dinosaur media (but I repeat myself!) and "professional" politicians.
When he announced my comment to my wife was, if Trump were in high school today he'd be diagnosed ADHD and put on Ritalin. Fortunately, for the real-estate empire he's built and for the net 34,000 employees whose jobs he created, he wasn't. (His parents sent him to New York Military Academy instead, where he did very well and was well liked. See senior-class photo. Even the hair has been tamed!)
I thought he would do well in his campaign because of his business experience and the common-sense force of his personality. In building the Trump real-estate empire he has to deal with all sorts of people and organizations: Contractors, government regulators, unions, financiers, accountants, lawyers, employees, competitors. Also, the press. Since he was successful building his organization in a tough business environment, why wouldn't he be also successful in a tough political environment, if (big IF!) his skills are transferrable from one to the other?
The Donald's friends say about him, "What you see is what you get". That refreshing transparency is part of a personality that exudes strength, which Trump must project if his deals are going to be successful. The downside of this is his humongous ego, and his mouth… or, more precisely, the teleprompter-free, sometimes hyperbolic, content-lite, stream-of-consciousness, never-finish-a-sentence thoughts that tumble from his lips, and for which his detractors call him "not serious", a "carnival barker", or a "buffoon".
Folks, he's serious. That should have been evident to all from the beginning, when he made halting illegal immigration the centerpiece of his campaign. But for those who chose not to believe he's serious (and for the many who still think so), the actions Trump has since taken are evidence of a serious, legitimate presidential campaign.
The best analysis I've seen of Trump's style was written by Henry Scanlon for the November 23 American Thinker, "Donald Trump's Deportation Gambit". In a nutshell, Scanlon notes that Trump is skilled in shifting an opponent's arguments to a subject the opponent does not want to talk about. In other words, Trump can quickly detect and hone in on an opponent's weaknesses and turn them to his advantage. You have to be a winner in negotiations to build a real-estate empire, and Trump has spent four decades winning, and winning is now second nature to him, and in his mind to be successful you must win.
He makes no secret of this on the campaign trail. "We don't win any more", he laments. "Stupid, stupid people", he calls our political leaders. (Who could disagree with that?) "I'm way ahead in the polls" (translation: I'm winning!).
To win, Trump is waging battle on four fronts. First, against the Democrats, and especially Hillary, who is likely to be the victor in the Dem’s primary. Every one of his stump speeches during this campaign highlights Democrat-instituted policies (uncontrolled illegal immigration, ObamaCare, the rise of the Islamic State, out-of-control debt, “unfair” trade), where polls show the public overwhelmingly opposed, and which Trump knows he can excoriate to attract voters.
Second, against his Republican competition. This may be his easiest fight, as most of them are in single digits in the polls and only need to be dealt with when one of them starts bubbling upward. Then Trump hones in on the candidate’s weaknesses and pounds him or her back into the single or low-double digits – like playing Whac-A-Mole. (So much for Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment, Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.)
Third, against the Republican establishment, which is stuck on stupid. As the leading Republican candidate, Trump is ahead in the polls by a wide margin, would defeat Hillary in the general election if it were held today, and draws tens of thousands of people to his campaign rallies. And the GOP establishment wants to kill him off? Are they nuts? Their “problem”, as they see it, is that Trump is not “owned” by them (and their big-money backers) and is “uncontrollable”, doing as he wants, not what they wish. (Forgive me if I think many voters see this as an asset, not a liability.)
Fourth, against the dinosaur media (also known as the publicity arm of the Democratic Party) and the left-leaning parts of the new media. This is his toughest battle, because so many agenda-driven “journalists” outright lie, or if they don’t lie they distort. And they replicate these lies and distortions at electronic speeds. (Remember, the dinosaur media outlets are owned by large corporate conglomerates which can tailor the narratives to meet their profit goals. “Special interests” for sure!)
Trump’s mode of attack is to say seemingly-outrageous things (usually with a kernel of truth and/or common sense buried within), which is child’s play for the motormouth. Right or wrong, Trump then dominates the political news for the next few cycles. When the media then try to take Trump down, more often than not he trips them up and makes them look foolish - for yet a few more news cycles. Truly, Trump is a master at manipulating the dinosaur media to get tons of free publicity for himself that would cost him millions of dollars if he had to pay for it out of his self-funded campaign money. And the dinosaurs certainly know they're being played, but they can't help it because reporting on Trump's antics brings higher ratings, which means more money for their corporate owners.
Since this is Trump's biggest battle, let me give a few examples of how the strategy is successfully executed. First, look at Trump's takedown of Megyn Kelly after the first Republican primary TV debate: “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her — wherever." Megyn Kelly, of Fox News? The network watched as first choice by more than half the country in an effort to find unbiased reporting? Well, yes, because she gave Trump a DC/Beltway-type insult disguised as a question in that first debate. So the whole world assumes that Trump's putdown was a reference to Kelly's menstruation, but only Trump knows what he really meant. After the media, his competition, and everybody who thinks he is a buffoon has criticized him, he says he meant "nose". How can anybody prove otherwise? (And, shame on you for thinking such dirty things!) Score a win for Trump, and a loss for the media and everybody else who fell for this gambit.
Was this deliberate media manipulation by Trump? Only he knows for sure; but remember, The Donald believes in winning.
Next, let's examine the recent "muslim database" ruckus. "Donald Trump Is In Favor Of Legally Requiring American Muslims to Register on a Database" (Zeke Miller, Time, November 19). Well, no. Take a look at the original transcript:
Vaughn Hillyard (NBC News): Should there be a database system that tracks the Muslims here in this country? Trump: There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems. And today you can do it. But right now, we have to have a border, we have to have strength, we have to have a wall, and we cannot let what’s happening to this country happen any longer. Hillyard: But that’s something your White House would like to implement?” Trump: Oh, I would certainly implement that. Absolutely. Hillyard: What do you think the effect of that would be? How would that work? Trump: It would stop people from coming in illegally. We have to stop people from coming into our country illegally. Hillyard: But more specifically, how do you actually get them registered in the database….?
Trump: It’s would be just good management. What you have to do is good management procedures. And we can do that. Hillyard: I mean, do you go to the mosques and sign these people up and into the system? Trump: Different places. You sign 'em up at different places. But it’s all about management. Our country has no management. Hillyard: Would they have to legally be in this database? Trump: They have to be – they have to be, let me just tell you: that the key is people can come to the country but they have to come in legally. Thank you very much.
So Trump (maybe not listening carefully to the questioning) is talking about illegal immigration, and Hillyard reports it as tracking all Muslims in a database.
I have seen two good accounts about how this lie got started: One by Joel Pollok at Breitbart.com on November 19, 2015, "How the Media Smeared Donald Trump as a Nazi", and the other by Jeffrey Lord at Newsbusters.org on November 21, "The AP Lies About Trump and Muslims, and the Media Mob Follows". The problem here is, the AP got the story wrong, but they are a starting point for the media food chain, so the lie was quickly accepted as truth by the dinosaurs, whereupon they then engaged in selective editing of the video (or transcript) to cover up their lying. Although Trump corrected the record, that correction did not have the same impact as the manufactured lie, and "journalists" are still believing and repeating that lie. There is no clear winner for this one (because of the persistence of the lie); Trump and the lying media are both losers.
Next, we have Trump on Muslims cheering as the towers of the World Trade Center tumbled down. First, the transcript, from ABC’s “This Week" with Clinton shill George Stephanopoulos, November 22, 2015. Stephanopoulos: You know, you made — you raised some eyebrows yesterday with comments you made at — at your latest rally — and I want to show them, relating to 9/11. Trump (on video clip from prior day's rally): "Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering." Stephanopoulos: You know, the police say that didn’t happen and all those rumors have been on the Internet for some time. So did you meek — misspeak yesterday? Trump: It did happen. I saw it. Stephanopoulos: You saw that… Trump: It was on television. I saw it. Stephanopoulos: — with your own eyes. Trump: George, it did happen. Stephanopoulos: Police say it didn’t happen. Trump: There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down — as those buildings came down. And that tells you something. It was well covered at the time, George. Now, I know they don’t like to talk about it, but it was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good. Stephanopoulos: As I said, the police have said it didn’t happen.
This reminds me of that old saw, If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is present to hear it fall, does it make a sound? Since "sound" implies something heard, meaning some creature had to hear it, then no, there was no sound, there were only soundwaves. So in September 2001, if there were no iPhones (first sold in June 2007) to for people to take videos of cheering Muslims, and there was no YouTube (begun May 2005) or Facebook (begun February 2004) to post them to, and the cellphones of the time mainly took very bad single pictures (or no pictures at all), and most Internet users were on painfully-slow dialup, and the first responders and the press were busy coping with the WTC tragedy and not available to track down cheering Muslims, then is the cheering-Muslims scenario an urban myth? Officially, yes. Unofficially, mostly what we have is what individuals tell us they remember.
I've collected a few of these below, from comments appended to news stories about Trump seeing on TV thousands of people cheering in Jersey City as the WTC collapsed, and citations by columnists collecting some of people's memories.
Jacob Newman: I too grew up in NJ, and lived there at the time, and I remember this on TV and IN PERSON very clearly. Ed Straker, "Why the media don't want to talk about Muslim support for 9/11", American Thinker, November 23): I can't link to a video showing Muslims celebrating in New Jersey, but I can say that I, too, personally remember seeing the same video that Trump described, of Arabs (or Arab-Americans?) celebrating in the suburbs of New Jersey right after 9/11. I have a very clear memory of this. Carmine Sabia: It did happen, and I saw it. Donald Trump is telling the truth about Muslims celebrating in New Jersey on September 11, 2001. I drove with family members though Paterson, N.J. that morning, after the planes hit. It’s not the kind of thing you forget. We witnessed people in traditional Muslim garb dancing, jumping, shouting and celebrating like their team had won the Super Bowl, just as Trump said. Tom Penicaro: I worked for PSEG in Clifton on the Paterson border and I witnessed it first-hand. They were celebrating in the streets, cheering and stomping on the flag. I am a Marine and I remember very, very clearly because I was so pissed I wanted to engage them with a bat I had in my van. John Pezzino: They were in the streets banging on the cars trying to drive through the crowd in the street. The Muslims were shouting death to Americans and Allah is Great, other crap I didn't understand. Walter Emiliantsev: I lived in NJ at the time on Demott Ave., Clifton. When I tried to go to Paterson to my brother in law's shop, I usually took Main Ave. There were so many people dancing on Main, I couldn't get through! I KNOW what I saw! (Last 3 quotes via Danusha Goska, " Did New Jersey Muslims Celebrate on 9/11?", FrontPage Magazine, November 30.)
Internet sleuths have tracked down some "official" mentions from September 2001 in the dinosaur media. From the Washington Post, September 18, 2001, by Serge F. Kovaleski and Fredrick Kunkle: " In Jersey City, within hours of two jetliners' plowing into the World Trade Center, law enforcement authorities detained and questioned 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."
From the New York Post, September 14, 2001, by guest columnist Fred Siegel: "Here in New York, it was easy to get angry listening to Egyptians, Palestinians and the Arabs of nearby Paterson, N.J., celebrate as they received word of the murderous attacks in New York and Washington. But Mayor Giuliani (who has been tireless and magnificent in this crisis) rightly warned New Yorkers that it would be wrong to take their anger out on the city's Arab and Muslim residents. Attacks on Arab-Americans in Paterson or elsewhere are utterly indefensible."
From a WCBS-TV (CBS local TV station in New York City) newscast on September 16, 2001, newscaster Pablo Guzmán: " Just a couple of blocks away from that Jersey City apartment the F.B.I. raided yesterday and had evidence removed, there is another apartment building, one that investigators told me, quote, was swarming with suspects — suspects who I’m told were cheering on the roof when they saw the planes slam into the Trade Center. Police were called to the building by neighbors and found eight men celebrating, six of them tenants in the building."
"Thousands" of cheering people is Trumpian hyperbole, but with vindication from the grassroots we see that Trump has won again, though it may take the rest of the world a while to catch on. (It did seem unlikely to me that Trump would be so insistent on his version, in spite of near-universal derision and condemnation, unless he was positive he'd seen a TV report of some kind about "people cheering". He would have seen it on TV because he was in his Manhattan suite when the towers crumbled.)
There was further fallout from Trump's "people cheering" claim when, at a November 24 rally in Myrtle Beach, Trump called Serge Kovaleski (see Washington Post reference above) a "bad reporter", using gestures that critics say made fun of Kovaleski's arthrogryposis (a handicap which causes awkward arm and hand movements). Of course, you would expect Trump (after a news cycle or two) to claim that he would never, ever deliberately mock a handicap - which is what he did. (Shame on you for thinking that Trump would ever be so crass!) Trump wins again; certainly Trump is brighter than the dumbass reporters who keep falling into this trap.
Now, Donald Trump has clearly shown that he will say demeaning things about his opponents, to the point of being downright nasty, on his way to winning. So, was mimicking Kovaleski's handicap inadvertent or deliberate? You decide… but remember, The Donald is all about winning.
There are times when Trump is so blunt (and in his mind, truthful) that I can't see any possible way he can win in the situation. As one of several candidates speaking at the December 3, 2015 Republican Jewish Coalition's Presidential Forum, he said,
"You're not gonna support me because I don't want your money. You want to control your politicians, that's fine. Five months ago I was with you. I do want your support, but I don't want your money."
This statement is in the category of "things you don't say", even if you think them. In spite of Trump's later saying "I totally won the RJC meeting", I am certain he will never get their money, and it's unlikely he'll get the RJC members' support, either.
My respect for Donald Trump's tenacity comes not just from the current campaign cycle, but dates back to the spring of 2012, when Trump was "unofficially" campaigning for president but ultimately did not announce. In doubting that Obama was really born in Hawaii because the president refused to release a long-form birth certificate to prove it, Trump showed the dinosaur media how easy it was to prove your birthplace, first trapping them by releasing his Jamaica Hospital birth certificate, and then, when the dinosaur media complained that it wasn't a "real" birth certificate, releasing his City of New York official (long-form) birth certificate.
That put enormous political pressure on Obama to release his yet-unseen long-form birth certificate. But as most American Thinker (and many Lucianne) readers know, my subsequent research has demonstrated that the young Obama was likely adopted by his (step)father Lolo Soetoro in Hawaii before mother and child moved to Indonesia, where young "Barry Soetoro" was registered for school. So (in my opinion) Obama could not release a real long-form birth certificate because it remains sealed by Hawaii adoption court. Feeling intense political pressure from the Trump onslaught, Obama ordered up and released an electronic forgery, what I call the "green thing" because of its obvious forged-document appearance.
If you're new to this story, here's the 1-minute proof of forgery:
In the figure above the electronic "green thing" forgery, complete with white border just as it was posted on the White House website, is on the left, and Obama's genuine short-form Hawaiian birth certificate is on the right. You can instantly see that the "green thing" is a forgery because real Hawaiian birth certificates do not have a white border. They are printed (or copied) onto real security paper whose pattern goes right to the edges of the paper, as you can see for the short-form certificate.
(I won't rehash here the remaining and more detailed proofs of forgery. If you're interested, I suggest you read my January 3, 2014 American Thinker article, "Obama's Other Big Lie", which includes Christopher Monckton's irrefutable proof of forgery, and a link to my complete research paper.)
Think about that for a moment. Donald Trump, by sheer force of personality in his 2012 putative presidential campaign, frightened a sitting U.S. president into creating and releasing a forged vital document. That is why I have respect for Trump's tenacity. Fortunately for Obama, the dinosaur media sprang to his defense, and anybody who dared question the authenticity of that forgery was labeled a right-wing kook, crazy, insane, racist, and had to be destroyed. Unfortunately for us, the dinosaurs won that one, and we and Trump lost. If he's asked about it today, Trump says, "I don't go there any more", so he knows he lost and he does not see any path out for him to win. (Maybe he should talk to me.)
OK, let's look ahead to July 2016 and my best guesses as to what might possibly happen. After a miserable spring and summer, with the Mideast still aflame, with more Islamic State-inspired mass shootings at home and abroad, with an economy tipping (again) into recession, with jobs still hard to come by - especially for the young and untrained, and with ObamaCare more hated than ever, the outspoken, common-sense, driven-to-win Trump has won or led in most Republican primaries and heads into a brokered Republican convention with about 1200 votes, just shy of victory. During the convention he negotiates his way to the votes he needs and is declared the Republican candidate for president.
After Hillary's coronation at the Democrats' convention (despite a really good fight put up by Sanders supporters), and after a real mudslinging campaign (remember, neither candidate has a reputation for being nice), voters go to the polls to choose between a slippery, corrupt, congenitally-lying (thanks, William Safire!) Democrat crook, and a vulgarian Republican with a humongous ego, an incredible need to win, an uncontrolled mouth, and who is unwise about the way Washington and the Federal government works. Trump totally loses the votes of the Republican and Democrat wine-and-brie establishment, and of those minority voters who practice victimology; but he wins in a big way with the other voters, and he becomes President-elect Trump.
So, you might want to get accustomed to saying it: President Trump… President Trump… President Trump…
Would Donald Trump make a good president?
With most candidates, demeanor is not an issue; voters' selection is based primarily on a candidate's perceived agenda and expertise, as it relates to a voter's personal situation and views. With Donald Trump, because of his oafish antics and his shoot-from-the-lip speaking style (which a great many voters do not perceive as being "presidential"), his demeanor is an issue, in addition to his worldview and his experience in politics, business and the media.
If you think Trump’s ego is humongous now, imagine what it would be after winning the 2016 election. Would his big ego get in the way of seeing situations clearly and making goods decisions? It’s easy to become trapped in the “beltway bubble”, as the current narcissistic occupant of the White House has demonstrated, and to create your own fantasy world where you’re always right. And remember Trump’s honest answer in the third (October 28) debate when he was asked, what was his greatest weakness: “I trust people too much. And if they let me down, when they let me down, I never forgive. I find it very, very hard to forgive people that have deceived me.”
Most concerns I have heard about Donald Trump center around his stability (there's that ADHD again) and his focus on winning in building his real-estate empire and in his political campaign, expressed in comments about him in the nature of, "I like what he says, but I wish somebody else were saying it", and "I don't trust him to have the nuclear launch codes". As to whether or not Trump is stable, his over-the-top speaking style and use of hyperbole (which turn off so many people) have been key to building the "Trump brand", first his businesses and then his own campaign persona. Though he doesn't "act" stable, if he were truly a lunatic then he would likely not have become filthy rich, have kids who seem to have turned out pretty well, have been able to make the dinosaur media look like driveling idiots, be a TV star, or run a successful political campaign on a shoestring. But there is no "President 101" course for him to take other than on-the-job learning, and he clearly has shown his ignorance or lack of depth on subjects beyond the business world, and though he appears to be a quick learner I can see him thrashing around for awhile, and that big ego of his taking a real beating, until he gets his "sea legs" in the presidency.
Consider what Trump accomplished in his campaign: Political correctness was shot to hell when he dared to discuss illegal immigration, and other policies he subsequently promoted. With his antics he kept the "Trump (political) brand" constantly before the public, ripping off the media for tons of free publicity. He stated the obvious with immigration of Muslims: If we can't vet them, then we can't find and keep out the jihadists. He has forcefully brought into view the racial and ethnic tensions that misguided government policies and political correctness have developed in the U.S. over the past quarter-century. He is also the Energizer Bunny of politics. (Trump is 69; Hillary is 68, and look and the difference in their energy levels! Poor Jeb! is 62.) Where others see a shallow showman, I see a loudmouth and frequently underinformed genius. (Or at least, a very bright guy.) Other candidates discussed issues; Trump (and his positions) were the issues, because he made it so.
With a President Trump there would be no more winning for himself (the "Trump brand"); he's at the top. The only winning left to be done would be to turn to the needs of the country to fulfill his campaign slogan, as he sees it. And I, personally, think he would try to do that. I'm not sure just what that would be, as Trump's political views in the past have been all over the map; but I expect they would align with what large majorities of the electorate have been demanding as revealed by polling. I would expect Trump to work very hard to protect the nation's borders and defend its citizens from terror attacks; I don't see in him yet any tendency to protect our individual freedoms. And I would be delighted if he continued to use his superb manipulative skills to keep the dinosaur media tied up in knots.
Would President Trump (try to) be a dictator? One of the facts of life in business is that when the man at the top says "jump", you jump. That doesn't work in DC. On the other hand, Trump has shown great expertise as a negotiator. He lives in Manhattan, dominated by Democrats, in the Northeast, dominated by Democrats. In real estate he has had to deal with unions (Democrats) and regulators (Democrats), mostly in big cities (more Democrats). He is completely comfortable in the media (Democrats up the wazoo!), having had his own TV show and appearing in others, and he knows and has developed good working relationships with many, many people throughout his long career, and (as he said in the first debate) he has bought politicians. (And he has probably made quite a few enemies, too.) So I think he would likely try to get what he wants through negotiation, not diktats.
I, too, have the seen the thousands of mindlessly-cheering people at his rallies, and I attended one of Trump's rallies in person in Worcester on November 18 to experience the atmosphere myself. Do the adulating throngs remind me of a Hitlerian stemwinder from the 1930s, as suggested by the political left? Yes, if I choose to see that similarity; but I also see similarity to our state and national political conventions, or to the cheering fans at a sports event, none of which are threatening. I also remember that a certain candidate in the 2008 presidential election drew thousands of adoring fans at his rallies (hope and change), and I don't recall hearing any complaints of "fascism" from the left back then. For the left, I guess it's OK if a strong campaigner's views agree with yours; otherwise, he's a fascist.
For most candidates who become president, the move into the White House is a step up in lifestyle. Those of you who have seen the pictures of the Trump family's Louis XIV-style penthouse suite (see picture below, courtesy iDesignArch) know that the family's move into the cramped private rooms of the White House would be a decrease in the quality of life, except for the elegant state dinners and the increase in personal power and in the magnitude of problems that need to be solved. Can Trump downsize?
The presidential life is much like living in a gilded prison, with freedom of movement severely restricted and suffocated with security, and with many highly-scripted events for which the president usually reads speeches from a teleprompter. Would the free-wheeling, outspoken Trump be able to adapt? Just imagine the fallout in the dinosaur media the first time Trump decided to “wing it” and, by saying what he really thought, caused a crisis in a foreign country.
The last U.S. president we had that I remember who was as blunt and outspoken, (though not as outlandish) as is Donald Trump was Harry ("the buck stops here") Truman. (Yes, I am that old.) I can remember my parents, establishment Republicans through and through, complaining about Truman because they thought he was "common" and "vulgar". But Truman made some very difficult decisions, and history has treated him kindly. He was a pretty good president.
That might turn out to be Donald Trump's story, too, if Trump is able to tame his ego and exercise more caution with what spills from his mouth. Like Truman, Trump's persona is transparent. He speaks bluntly, and (right or wrong) speaks what he believes; and with our nation under attack from radical jihadists, he projects strength at a time when forcefulness is needed.