Trump the Blow-Horn
December 11, 2015
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I've tried to not write anything controversial or political in a while, but this week I feel I must. I know these are the posts that get the most feedback, not all of it flattering or positive, but this week, Donald Trump really got under my skin.
Let me start by trying to get into Donald's head back in May or June, when undoubtedly he took a flyer, as he's done in the past, and announced his candidacy for President of the United States. Trump, being the master of self-promotion that he is, surely thought the attention couldn't be bad for his brand and his business. But as soon as he opened his controversial mouth, the opposite started to occur. He lost his coveted show on NBC, lost the Miss Universe Pageant and lost the PGA golf event at Trump National Doral Golf Club in Miami. When we all thought he had really shot himself in the foot with his run for President, national polls of potential Republican voters showed the opposite. Trump surged. And since then, every time we think he's done it again by sticking his foot in his over-sized mouth, his poll ratings climb to the point where today he's leading with 35% of those polled, with his next closest challenger at just 16%.
I'm sure back before the summer, when he was contemplating his latest publicity scam of running for President, he never expected to be the front runner, the way he's been all the way through. And this has to be one of the biggest examples of being careful of what you wish for.
The more outrageous the things he says are, the more his popularity increases.
The problem is that running a democratic country is not the same as running a privately held business. While Trump has done a remarkable job of taking political correctness out of the equation and, quite frankly, saying things that many are thinking, his simple solutions are those of someone who is used to being the schoolyard bully. Certainly in the Trump Organizations, where he is owner and King, it's what he wants, when he wants, how he wants. It's his, it's his money and he either pays the price or reaps the rewards.
Rightly or wrongly so, democratic government is just not that simple. Maybe it shouldn't be as complicated as it is, but it's certainly not as simple as Mr. Trump would like us to think. He won't be able to bully his way around the Oval Office the way he's done in the boardroom. To be President requires careful political skills in consensus building and compromise. Things Trump obviously doesn't deal with often. But to deal with both houses of Congress as well as foreign leaders, one must possess those skills. They're just not going to rollover because Trump wants something.
You can't throw 15 million people out of the country, only to have them try and get back in - his plan to legalize illegal immigrants, who in some cases have been here for decades. You're not really going to build an actual wall between the U.S. and Mexico (and by the way Donald, not all Mexicans are drug dealers and criminals, any more than any other group). And you can't ban people of a whole religion from trying to legally enter the U.S.
Trump's latest proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. is just plain wrong. He tried to remind us of one of our great leaders, FDR, who did something similar during WWII, by temporarily banning Japanese, Germans and Italians from entering the country. The big difference then vs. now is that we were at war with those countries. We're not at war today with the Muslim religion. As a matter of fact, up until San Bernardino, most of the mass shootings occurring here in the U.S. were perpetrated by non-Muslim, home grown Americans, not known to be part of any terrorist group. Hitler tried to ban a religion and, in the process murdered 6 million innocent Jews during the Holocaust. If you want to temporarily ban people from certain countries until we can figure out a better way of doing background checks, ok, maybe, but we can't go back to Nazi Germany and ban a whole religion. It's just plain wrong.
I got home from a trip to Washington, D.C. Monday night and went to the gym at about 7pm. CNN happened to be covering a Trump speech in South Carolina, so I thought I'd pass my 45 minute treadmill routine really listening to candidate Trump. It was amazing to watch. He never finishes a thought. He starts, his ADD kicks in, and he's off on a tangent. Usually, it revolves around putting someone else down or patting himself on the back for being smarter than everyone else. He's never substantive about how he's actually going to accomplish the outlandish things he suggests need to be done. Is he passionate? Yes. Is he pro-American? Yes. Does he want to see America re-claim its former greatness? Yes. Does he know how to do it in a way that won't make us an isolationist nation? Most likely not. Will he be able to work with other elected federal and state leaders and foreign heads of state to accomplish anything? Not a chance. It's not in his DNA.
The greatest fear of the leaders of the Republican Party is that Trump actually wins the nomination for President. In November, when people pull the curtain closed and get in the voting booth, they're just not going to vote for Donald. Not only will Republicans not reclaim the White House, but there's certain to be collateral damage for any other Republican running for elected office at the same time. Maybe someone like Trump is just what this country needs, but he's not the right guy.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Jeffrey M. Weiner and do not represent those of Marcum LLP, its partners or its employees.
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