Stop Signs Are Forever: A jester, not a king
Let me tell you, dear reader, the story of a man named Trump.
A second-generation American born to a penniless German immigrant named Friedrich Drumpf, Trump parlayed his father’s earnings as a Canadian restaurateur into a multi-million-dollar fortune. He re-imagined huge swaths of New York, building apartments and low-income housing. He flipped residential properties across the country for massive profits, leaving for his five children financial security for the rest of their lives.
Trump’s tale is an American dream come true. His hard work and savvy investments paid off over a lifetime. He’s a national success story.
That’s Fred Trump, to be clear. He died in 1999.
His beady-eyed son Donald, on the other hand, never had to work for anything. He was born with the proverbial silver spoon planted firmly between his pursed lips. He walked into a cushy job at his dad’s company the day after he graduated college and was given the reins to a money-printing corporate behemoth at the age of 25.
He’s done precisely nothing in the intervening 44 years to earn our respect, much less our vote for president of the United States. As a businessman, he nearly lost his father’s fortune, declaring bankruptcy in 1991. As a conservative, his tarnished reputation includes campaign contributions to dyed-in-the-wool liberals like Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and Harry Reid. And as a person, Trump combines the impetuous arrogance of Icarus with the manners of an insult comic and the temperament of a put-upon child.
Yet since announcing his presidential candidacy a month ago — I can’t believe I have to type this next sentence — Trump has rocketed to the top of the 3,956-or-so people running for the Republican nomination. People have flocked to his brash demeanor and policy hyperbole, seeing underneath that dead-fox tupée a man who acts nothing like other politicians.
The sails of Trump’s campaign have found purchase on the zeitgeisty anti-immigration winds of a subset within the Republican Party. Among those who consider illegal immigration to be the most important issue facing the country, Trump’s tough — some might say reckless — talk on border security is patriotic music to their ears.
And while I think that particular subset of the party is fighting a battle that’s already been lost — no one’s going to load 12 million people in cattle cars and ship them back from whence they came — I can at least understand on a visceral level why some people are drawn to Trump as a potential president. Of all the things you could call the man, milquetoast is not one. People like leaders who they believe will fight for them.
But sucker punchers don’t win elections. And if there’s one thing Trump is great at, it’s the low blow.
Just in the last week alone, Trump has called former Texas Gov. Rick Perry a moron, called Republican political consultant Karl Rove a “total loser,” and labeled former presidential candidate and Republican Sen. John McCain a “dummy.” This is political discourse on par with an argument over the monkey bars on a grade school playground. Call McCain a squish as a conservative, sure, but a dummy? The man is a certified American hero, and certainly above the juvenile jabs of a draft dodger.
Of all the reasons not to support Trump as a political candidate — and I wish I had space here to list them all — the best, I think, is that he knows not how to act presidential. He carries himself with none of the gravitas and honor that should be associated with the nation’s highest office. He’s a jester, not a king.
Trump is a spoiled, rich brat who never learned how to treat people right because he never had to. Even if you think he’s spot-on in regard to immigration, the collateral damage from his repugnant personality should be enough to destroy that goodwill in anyone’s mind.
Donald Trump is a thoroughly bad person. And we have enough of those in Washington as it is.
Nate Strauch is a columnist and reporter with the Herald Democrat. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @NStrauchHD.