by John Hawkins | March 12, 2016 1:20 am
My latest Townhall column is called, What I Will Probably Never Understand About The Undying Affection For Donald Trump. Here’s an excerpt from the column,
It’s easy for me to understand why people were so favorably disposed toward Trump at first because initially, I liked him, too. I’d read and liked Trump’s books, I found him to be gracious in person and I had friends who went to work for him. I also loved his charisma, his stance on the wall, his refreshing lack of political correctness, his scrappiness and his ability to just shrug off what would be career-ending mistakes for other Republican politicians.
Unfortunately today, Trump looks to be completely unelectable. There are massive numbers of Republicans pledging not to vote for him in the general election; sitting members of congress are saying they won’t support him in the general; Mitch McConnell is openly telling Republican senators they can distance themselves from him. Trump’s been publicly condemned by the last GOP nominee (Romney); his unfavorability numbers are equaling those of Bill “the face of date rape” Cosby (Cosby, July of last year, 62% unfavorability while Trump’s rating is 62% now). He’ll be dramatically outspent in a general election and contrary to what he’s promised, he’s not going to finance his own campaign. He will have to deal with a massive Trump University fraud case during the general election; he’s the most gaffe-prone candidate in history and the mainstream media that has been carrying him on its shoulders will turn on him once he’s the nominee.
Despite all of this, there are many smart people who think Trump will do wonderfully in an election. Some of them note that Trump has driven record turn-out in the states he’s won without noting that record numbers of people turned out to vote against him in the states he lost. Others point out that nobody thought Trump would be doing as well in the primary, but of course, it’s a split field. Had this been a one on one race, Ted Cruz would be ahead of Trump in delegates right now. Then there are people who point to the outlier poll here and there that shows Trump winning the general, but he <href=”#polls”>consistently loses to Hillary head-to-head.
Yet, there are many smart people who know something about campaigns that think Trump can win the general election. Not a one of them has ever made a rational, logical case for it, but “they have a feeling.” Barring a miracle, the second Trump is the nominee, almost no matter what he does, Hillary wins; we lose the Senate big and bleed House seats; the SCOTUS swings wildly to the left; Obamacare and Obama’s executive orders stay, but this doesn’t bother people because “Trump changes all the rules”….or something.
Setting that aside, as I have already noted, I can understand people liking Trump early on. I have friends and family members who still like him, which is why I don’t criticize anyone for backing Trump, have nothing negative to say about the people endorsing him and won’t actively encourage people not to vote for him. I believe intelligent, well-meaning people can have differences of opinion.
However, I genuinely don’t understand why so many people think a man who is unpredictable, thin-skinned, mean spirted, vindictive and who often blurts out stupid things is the sort of person who is suited to be President of the United States. The same traits that have made Trump a success on reality TV would make him a horrible POTUS. Even if you ignore the fact that Trump is temperamentally unsuited to be President of the United States, he’s also saying creepy, fascistic things that should alarm people.
In the debate before last, the discussion was Donald Trump’s policy of “taking out” the families of terrorists. So, let’s define the ugly reality of what Trump’s glib remarks would look like in the real world. We’re talking about sending American soldiers to peaceful areas to shoot women and babies in the head because they’re related to someone who committed a terrorist attack. When the moderator noted that a former CIA director had said troops wouldn’t obey that order because it was inarguably a war crime, Trump replied, “They won’t refuse. They’re not gonna refuse me. Believe me.” That’s a dangerous statement, the sort of statement you’d expect to hear from a fascist or a dictator. It becomes even more troubling when you consider it in concert with Trump’s comments about China violently suppressing a pro-democracy demonstration.
When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak… as being spit on by the rest of the world.
I’m of the opinion that it would be dangerous to our republic to allow someone with those kind of openly fascistic leanings to ever have control of the IRS, the CIA, the FBI, the DOJ, our military or nuclear weapons. While we’re at it, saying “Islam hates us” may impress people on some Internet comment boards, but that’s not an appropriate thing to say for someone who wants to be President. Additionally, when asked about the violence that occurs at his rallies, Trump essentially said he condemns the violence unless it’s deserved. Of course, we have no word on whether Trump thinks the female reporter who was assaulted by his campaign manager deserved it because Trump’s dishonorable way of dealing with it is just lying and claiming it didn’t happen. When you think a man should be allowed to assault a woman as long as he’s affiliated with Donald Trump, your moral compass is broken and there’s something wrong with your soul.
What I don’t get is why there are so many people who insist that every criticism of the world’s least stable politician must be off base or worse yet, why they acknowledge that these criticisms are accurate and continue to support him anyway. It’s so strange to talk to strong conservative Christian patriots who support Trump DESPITE THE FACT that they agree with most of the criticisms leveled at him. I guarantee you that 95% of Trump’s current supporters would have considered it an insult if you told them a year ago that they’d back a celebrity birther for President who’d talk about his penis on stage at a debate, encourage violence at his rallies and mock POWs. Yet, here we are.
I don’t understand how so many good Christians can support an adulterer who claims to also be a Christian, but also says he’s never had a reason to ask God for forgiveness.
I don’t understand how so many rock-ribbed conservatives can support an obvious flimflam man whose positions seem to change almost day-by-day and will undeniably change even more if he’s nominated.
I don’t understand how so many parents can support a man who’s a horrible example for their children. Yes, Trump’s had a great business career, but his character is at the bottom of the barrel. He’s crude and arrogant and he treats other people like garbage.
I don’t understand how so many people who say they only care about illegal immigration can support a guy who was pushing amnesty three years ago and is in favor of citizenship for illegal aliens now when a stronger candidate on illegal immigration, Ted Cruz, is in the race.
I don’t understand how so many people who care about the Constitution can support a man who’s probably never even read it and wouldn’t care about anything in it if he did.
I don’t understand how so many fundamentally decent people who were furious at Bill Clinton for degrading the presidency can back a man who mocks the disabled, lies as often as both of the Clintons put together, brags about sleeping with married women and who said, “it really doesn’t matter what they write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
I don’t understand how so many smart people can back a guy who’s too lazy to study anything beyond the basics of any policy issue. Donald Trump doesn’t seem to know any more about the policies of the country he’d be running today than he did the day he got into the race. Trump knows the results of every poll in America that are favorable to him; so why can’t he take the time to learn something about the government policies of the nation he wants to lead?
Most of all, I don’t understand how so many good people can support a hateful, fundamentally dishonest, divisive man who’s turned friends and allies in the conservative movement against each other and who has shown over and over that he doesn’t care about anything but himself.
If all these people were phony, insincere, dumb or corrupt, that would be an easy explanation, but I know that doesn’t describe the vast majority of people who back Trump. Most of them are intelligent, well-meaning people. If the only choice were between Trump and some horrible establishment candidate no one wanted, I might understand at least a little bit, but it’s not. If Donald Trump were a close relative or had saved your baby from being eaten by alligators, I could understand the blind loyalty that forgives him for anything, but that’s not what’s happening.
The good news for people who support Trump and the bad news for those of us who find him to be a repulsive, narcissistic con man is that by staying in the race this long, John Kasich and Marco Rubio have nearly guaranteed Trump the nomination. If Trump does lock it down, my guess is that it will start off with cheers and joyful proclamations that the hated establishment has been defeated and it will likely end with cries of “betrayal,” years of grudges and a lopsided defeat while Trump happily pitches his latest products from Mexico and China to the fans he picked up during his run at the presidency. The one thing we may never truly understand is why so many good and decent people were blindly loyal to someone like Trump when they had every opportunity to see what kind of man he really was beforehand.
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