I don’t write political pieces. I’m not a terribly active politically. I leave it to others to wrangle and yell and hash out their relationship with the half of the country that disagrees with them. I am registered as an independent voter. I don’t like being labeled or pigeonholed. I don’t like when people presume on my allegiance because of something I happen to believe, support, or hold dear.
I prefer clear, concise, reasonable arguments. A list of Pros. A list of Cons. Make a decision. No fanfare. No arm-twisting. No Kabuki.
This post isn’t trying to add my insignificant sotto voce to the ear-bleeding clamor of political noise at the moment. I simply want to state, for the record, for family and friends with whom I disagree, and for any lost internet user who haphazardly stumbles onto this blog, some compelling arguments against either support or indifference toward Donald Trump.
To be clear, I’m not endorsing anyone. I am simply anti-endorsing Trump.
Consider this to be a compendium of my views. They will seem obvious and/or redundant to many, but as Trump continues to win support, it’s clearly a message someone somewhere needs to read. Will this change anyone’s mind? Likely not. But it’s worth a try. Also, on a personal level, instead of shouting with incoherent rage every time Trump says or does another foolish thing, I can add an item to my list, link to this post, and be done. As I expect the list will continue to grow, I will add to it chronologically, with the most recent addition at the end. Meanwhile I welcome (civil) comments at the bottom of this page.
First, Though, The Pros
- Donald Trump doesn’t need donors. This is nice. Finally having someone who isn’t beholden to the Koch brothers is a good change. I don’t really buy the argument that he “can’t be bought,” but on the surface, someone who doesn’t need to go hat in hand to someone else’s agenda in exchange for money, belongs in the plus column.
- Donald Trump has run companies. He has figured out how to make some of his companies profitable, along with managing an organization. A company is not the same as a country, of course, but it’s experience that could prove helpful.
- Donald Trump actually speaks his mind. And boy does he. This is also a (kind of) breath of fresh air. He feels no need to be politically correct. He feels no need to pander. Whether or not he’s actually telling the truth, or even his own self-referential version of truth is another matter, but in a world where politicians are afraid to broach uncomfortable topics, someone who walks into the saloon with both mouth-barrels blazing is kind of interesting.
- That’s about it. With complete honesty, I find nothing else about his campaign appealing. If I’m missing something big, something I don’t mention as a liability in the Cons column below, please let me know in the comments.
Now, The Many, Many Cons
- Calling Mexican immigrants drug dealers, criminals, and rapists. This is categorically and provably false. It is also offensive, racist, and shows a poor aptitude for international diplomacy. Do you want someone who indiscriminately paints entire ethnic groups with the same sordid brush to be in charge of the justice system? This attitude preys on xenophobia, and gives false legitimacy to those who believe that the (diminishing) Anglo majority has a right to force its cultural hegemony down the throats of anyone who is different. It also shows that Trump is painfully unaware of what life is like outside the wealthy circles where he travels.
- Refusal to debate because of Megyn Kelly. His fear of her. His cowardice. A reporter asks him a question he doesn’t like, so he lambasts her in the press, and refuses to engage with a direct confrontation with her. Worse than calling her a terrible reporter, he accuses her because she was a woman. What would happen if a foreign leader says something mean to him? Would we break off diplomatic relations? Go to war? What if he has to interact with a female head of state? If he can’t handle a question from a debate moderator, how could he respond with real stakes on the table? Sure, he attended a debate she moderated later, but such childishness is disqualifying in my book.
- Attitudes toward women, generally. He has said countless offensive and pejorative things about them. Owning the Miss America pageant alone is a pretty despicable offense in my book, as it’s an antiquated and misogynist livestock show that judges women based on their body parts.
- Supports removing libel protections for the press. This is a bad, bad idea. It is also an example of his cowardice at being exposed or made a fool of. Libel protections allow the press to hold politicians accountable. Removing them is a serious threat to our first amendment rights. Also, Trump deals with criticism by suing people. Not presenting cogent arguments in his defense, not changing the narrative. He is litigious to the core. He shuts down his opponents by scaring them with astronomical legal fees. The worst kind of cowardice.
- Banning Muslims. This is reactionary and draconian and it won’t work. Also, to crow about religious liberty on the one hand and try to ban an entire religion on the other is the height of ridiculous hypocrisy. It is also eerily reminiscent of the tactics used by fascists like Hitler and Mussolini, who ordered the mass deportation and (eventual) execution of non white, non Christian citizens. Anyone who perpetuates that sort of rhetoric should be thrown out on their ass by the American people, not nominated by them. It’s disgraceful. Banning Muslims, as hideous and unconscionable an action as that would be, could not possibly stop terrorism, anyway. Timothy McVeigh was not a muslim. Also, do you honestly believe someone coming to the US with the intention of committing terrorism would have any qualms about lying on their visa application about their religion? It’s not only ridiculous, it encourages xenophobia, and widens the gulf between non-muslims and muslims in the United States. Also, it’s been used by terrorist groups in their recruitment materials. Not exactly the desired effect.
- He claims to be a Christian. But is not one, by any Christian belief system. The pope himself said so. He is not a member of any church. He hasn’t even asked God for forgiveness, the first and most basic tenet of Christianity. In fact, he seems almost categorically opposed to the idea that he would ever ask forgiveness of anyone, a sign of sociopathy. He has clearly never read the bible, aside from his divorces, strip clubs, and casinos. I’m fine with an atheist running for office. I’m not fine with one lying and pandering to a religious group for their votes.
- The wall. A wall will not keep out illegal immigrants. Immigration policy needs to be addressed, no question. But you can’t build a wall so high that it’s impossible to tunnel under. And it’s both ridiculous and infantile to believe Mexico will pay for it.
- No qualms about quoting Benito Mussolini on Twitter. This implies he doesn’t find fascism too problematic, which, honestly, at this point, is not all that surprising. One imagines he would be equally comfortable in the presence of Hitler and Stalin. Fascist tendencies run throughout his campaign. Fascism, of course, was responsible for evils like the Holocaust and World War 2.
- Mocking John McCain for being captured. Aside from the idiocy of mocking a prisoner of war, it reveals his strange double-standard about “winning.” He sees anyone not at the apex of an endeavor as a loser. Unless it is himself. This self-referential outlook on life guarantees that he will dependably act in his own self-interest in a given situation, not the country’s.
- Diplomacy. Or the lack of it. International politics require a delicate touch, sensitivity to the complexity of a situation, and the social wherewithal to know when to keep your mouth shut. These are not skills Trump possesses. Imagine Trump during the Cuban missile crisis, for instance. There are times when braggadocio and shoot-first-aim-second could have disastrous consequences. I don’t trust Trump as Commander and Chief.
- Supported as the ideal candidate by white supremacist groups. He has since disavowed their support, but grudgingly. The fact remains that he had their support in the first place. Also, in his exchange with CNN’s Jake Tapper he blatantly lied about not knowing KKK leader David Duke. He was on tape years ago talking about Duke as a horrible person. As John Oliver put it, he is, “either a racist or pretending to be, and at some point there is no difference.”
- Pushes Anti-Vaccine Myths. Vaccines do not cause autism. Trump has affirmed this fact, then immediately undermined it with anecdotal “evidence.” Not someone I want steering science research or public health initiatives.
- Birther. This means he either knowing perpetuated this ridiculous lie, or, perhaps, is so untethered from reality, that he somehow bought into the conspiracy theory himself. Either is problematic. The latter is absolutely reason to call his reasoning and decision making into serious question.
- Imagine Trump in a national tragedy. Imagine, the man who’s made a career out of bullying, antagonizing, and calling people losers, being tasked with consoling the nation after a terror attack or a natural disaster. He wouldn’t know how to do it. He couldn’t do it. He has no capacity for empathy. Psychologists speculate that he has the clinical condition known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder, making him literally incapable of caring about anyone but himself.
- He has no shame. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drWh6vBa45k
- Predatory business practices. He declared eminent domain to try to force an old lady out of her home so he could build a limousine parking lot on the site. It doesn’t get more despicable than that.
- His short-sighted business ventures. Everyone is allowed a mulligan every once in a while when it comes their career. Sometimes things don’t work out. The problem for Trump is that he’s running on his business record. He’s had to declare bankruptcy four times, and had a gazillion failed businesses. Sure, he’s wealthy, but he’s not a “self made man.” His father gave him 100k after he graduated college, and he inherited millions and millions after his dad died. So, are we supposed to praise him because he didn’t manage to lose most of that cash in the long run? Also, because he currently operates in a world where money is no object, he is unable to appreciate the value of money, or the risk of failure. This means he can have zero empathy for a family that is struggling financially. It also means he is willing to take large and unnecessary risks with the country’s finances. As we are already in debt, this would only take things from bad to worse. Here are a few of his failed businesses (please don’t fail to notice the self-aggrandizement): Trump Airlines, Trump Vodka, Trump: The Game, Trump Steaks, Trump Casinos, Trump Magazine, Go Trump.com, Trump Mortgage.
- Trump University. A particularly egregious violation of other people’s trust is the Trump University debacle. Trump University was a multi-level marketing scam, billed to teach people real estate investing. Trump is currently being sued by its former students. Apparently they didn’t get rich, after all.
- He claimed thousands of Muslims in New Jersey were in the streets celebrating on 911. This is false. No media reports, law enforcement, or government agency corroborates this story. Trump’s refusal to back down from this claim, despite mounting empirical evidence to the contrary, further illustrates his uncomfortable relationship with facts. He can shout down people with whom he disagrees, but strangely, he seems to employ the same strategy when confronted with verifiable data that debunks his conspiracy theories. Being louder than the truth doesn’t make you right. Again, a person who is this fluid in their relationship with reality should not be given permission to deploy a nuclear arsenal.
- He has mocked a journalist with a physical disability. This is reprehensible by itself. He then accuses the journalist of grandstanding, and demands an apology from New York Times, where the journalist works.
- Trump’s violent rallies. Trump has whipped his supporters into a seething mob of anger. Every rally, when someone begins to protest he eggs on the surrounding supporters, asking them to abuse the protestor, or whining about how it’s no longer okay to have them, “carried out on a stretcher.” I could repeat my points about fascism here. His, apparently valid, assertion that he could murder someone and not lose any support is perhaps the most worrying item on this list thus far. How do you think he will handle dissent when he has an army at his command?
- Nuclear “policy” or the lack of it. The fact that he believes that South Korea and Japan (even Saudi Arabia) should be armed with nuclear weapons. Or no, I take that back, it’s not that he believes it. I am confident he had no position before he was asked this question. He simply swished the idea of nuclear proliferation around in his mouth a bit and thought, “sure, why not.” Again, this guy in power would end the world by the sheer breadth of his thoughtlessness.
- Trump’s A Racist. Oh, wait, I already wrote that. Hang on, it seems he’s proved it yet again. By saying a judge who is investigating his real estate marketing scam should recuse himself from the case because he is of Latino heritage. Never mind that this guy was born in Indiana. This should firmly silence everyone who claims Trump incendiary comments about illegal immigrants shouldn’t be taken as hate speech.
- Trump is not a leader. Just look at the rollout of his Vice Presidential running mate Mike Pence. It was Bedlam. Trump purportedly kept dithering and changing his mind, staying up until midnight calling people for advice the day before the decision was announced. He is unable to keep leakers from divulging his campaign’s secrets. He can’t keep his house in order, manage his message, or decide on a running mate without chaos. This is poor leadership. What’s perhaps most worrying however, is the strong role his children have played in his campaign decisions. This is not the Trump business empire. His election campaign decisions are literally none of their business. If you aren’t intelligent or competent enough to make decisions for your own presidential campaign, you can’t have the keys to the country.
- Putin and Russia. First, despite all the horrendous things the Russian autocrat has done, Trump has repeatedly praised him as a strong leader. This includes Putin silencing the press and murdering his political opponents. Now, Trump is talking about not coming to the aid of NATO allies should Russia decide to annex them. A real possibility. Trump is too ignorant of international politics in general and Putin in particular to understand the gravity of this situation. Who knows this? Putin. So Russia hacked the DNC to expose damning emails by Democratic officials who favored Hillary. Putin wants Trump to be president. This should be a cause of alarm for everyone.
- His reversal on birtherism. All politicians lie. To base your entire campaign on a lie, then reverse your position and blame birtherism on your opponent, is blatant disregard for reality. For further reading: https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/donald-trump-has-been-wro…/
- He doesn’t have the discipline to prepare for anything. Talking points for speeches. A cohesive understanding of his own policy. Presidential debates. If he is this lazy about getting elected, how can he actually do the work of governing, negotiating, or hammering out policy?
- Not a single paper has endorsed him, conservative or liberal, except the one owned by his son-in-law and… wait for it… The National Enquirer. Papers that have made straight Republican endorsements for decades can’t bring themselves to support him. Trump is not the whipping boy of some vast media conspiracy, his self-referential appeal simply shrivels when subjected to the unsympathetic light of confirmed fact.
- That conversation with Billy Bush, where he brags about sexually assaulting women. This is wrong.
- He doesn’t read. I don’t mean he can’t read. I mean he doesn’t care to read. He doesn’t enjoy it. He is not intellectually curious. People close to him say he hasn’t read a book in 20 years. As complex as the world is, constant self-education is mandatory for a would-be commander and chief. It also helps with empathy. Why should I vote for someone who isn’t interested in learning anything new?
- An additional summary. A few of these are admittedly petty, but most are not.
I’m not out to score political points. I’m not secretly in league with a political party or candidate. I just honestly believe that ANY alternative is better than Trump. What promises or qualities could possibly overcome a list of cons this long?
Agree? Disagree? Want to have a discussion? Leave a comment below.
Want to spew hate speech or make threats? I will block you. 🙂
For more updates, click the +FOLLOW button on the bottom right of your screen. Or, follow me on Twitter. Thanks!