Donald Trump continues to hold a lead in the Republican primary race, and although it is very early to put much credibility into those polls, I have seen some troubling things from The Donald. His rhetoric, while unrefined and brusque, resonates with a certain audience. Both Donald Trump, and Barack Obama, are ideologues – despite claiming to share different visions – they share many other similarities.
Both men seek issues that infuriate their bases, Obama with healthcare and class differences, and Trump with immigration and the country’s international slipping as a world power. Both men can rely on a rabid response when mentioning these things, and both know how their supporters will respond to any criticism of either man’s stance. The president, currying favor, says forget the rules, forget Constitutional checks and balances – I will do it myself. There is no stopping my attempts to help people. Trump says walls and free trade will be his methods – all to protect the American workers. This is Marketing 101 – 20th century despots and dictators all did this to great effect. Identify a problem, and set yourself up as the sole bastion against that threat. “Only I, with your support, can protect you, Americans,” the politician promises.
Having not been victimized enough once (whether actual or perceived), the aggrieved are again made victims by slick talk. While it may feel reassuring that, for once, someone has your back, there is a tacit belief that the “victims” cannot save themselves. This may lead to a perpetual system of victimization, saving, failure of saviors, and re-victimization all over again. With different causes, and different promises – all ending in the same manner. While it is great for politicians, it is a hellish quagmire for the populace that they suppose to lead.
Both men sell their solutions as being beneficial-only. The cost to the victims? Negligible when considering the worst case scenario (and, it is always a worst case scenario that we face) . Unintended consequences are merely unforeseen and unfortunate results. The Affordable Care Act came with higher costs to consumers, who Obama promised cuts in their premiums, and to access to care, due to doctors refusing to treat Medicare patients, and due to early retiring doctors. If Trump were to engage in a massive immigrant deportation project (attempting to force 11 million illegal immigrants to return to their homeland) – where would the funding for that originate? Which agencies would be tasked with conducting such a huge operation? It is not hard to imagine an over-budget scheme that deports illegal immigrants, only to see them return before any completed walls rise on the southern borders.
Both men seek to surround themselves with loyal lieutenants, willing to both support their man, or fall onto a sword for them, if necessary. Obama’s stalling and faulting supporters have names like: Jarrett, Holder, and Clinton. Trump’s while lesser known, have been with him for decades as he has built his empire. Might they stay within that business sphere, or can we expect to see them rewarded by a Trump presidency? (Bloomberg had a great report on Trump, and how his loyal associates have been long-time business associates and underlings) While such loyalty is admirable, the Obama administration reminds us how much associates can cover and stall for their boss.
Both men talk tough when it comes to their plans – Obama’s talk, when followed by action, promised to be short-sighted and very expensive. Trump’s tough talk sounds very similar, and his temperament can be expected to lead him to take actions, whether he has Constitutional support or not. Both men set themselves up as speakers for the masses, and for certain aggrieved classes. We have seen more than six years of results from Obama – do we really want to risk another decade of it, because it is “our guy”?