It’s about time really. Ever since he entered the race to become the Republican party’s candidate for the 2016 presidency, Donald Trump has been abusing and insulting just about every demographic imaginable. Despite that, he has continued to mostly lead the polls and dominate the media coverage. It seems that no matter what he says, he just keeps getting more popular.
Initially, he wouldn’t even promise not to run as an independent, which would have destroyed any chance of the GOP regaining the White House. He finally signed a pledge promising not to do that, but in the wake of recent events, has renewed his threats to go rogue.
From the time he announced his candidacy, he’s had it in for Mexico and Mexicans in the US illegally. He continues to assert that he’s going to build a wall the entire length of the border between the United States and Mexico, and that he’ll make Mexico pay for it. From his announcement speech for his presidential bid:
I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.
When he says “wall” he doesn’t mean a couple of strands of No. 8 wire either, he means Great Wall of China style for it’s approximately 3,200 km (2,000 mile) length. He’s a supporter of eminent domain laws, so violating the property rights of USians whose properties are on the border with Mexico won’t trouble him. Unlike most Republicans he’s also said he supports tax increases, and that’s effectively what he’ll be doing if he wants Mexico to pay for the wall – there will have to be some sort of tax or tariff on every trade deal with Mexico. I’m assuming that will breach NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), and it will also increase the cost of all goods from Mexico for USians, and by a lot. An excellent CNBC article about his proposed wall, estimates that it will likely cost $15 billion to $25 billion. Trump tells everyone he’ll make Mexico pay, but as a businessman I’m sure he knows that that cost will go directly on any goods sold to the US, so it would actually be USians that pay ultimately.
He’s got plenty to say about the Mexicans he’s trying to prevent getting into the country too:
When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting.
Following these remarks he insisted “the Mexicans love me,” and he has “thousands” working for him. They love him, he tells us, because he gives them jobs. That sounds more to me like they’re beholden to him. If I was a Mexican working for Trump, I don’t think I’d feel able to speak out against him. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you, after all.
He also insists he’s going to deport all undocumented immigrants currently in the US within eighteen months of obtaining the presidency, and those US children whose parents aren’t legally entitled to stay in the country will have to go too. These comments are cheered on by a crowd who clearly have no idea that this is logistically impossible, even if the government knew who and where all those people were. We’re talking at least 12 million people. That means deporting almost 22,000 people per day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, for those eighteen months. Every single one of them is entitled to apply to stay in the country legally (e.g. as a refugee), and to remain while the legal process plays out, and it’s the US that pays the legal costs of refugees, not the refugees themselves. The system would be overwhelmed before the first day was over, and the cost would be prohibitive. Trump’s response when challenged? “Believe me, it can be done.” There’s never any explanation how.
His next target was veterans. He said he didn’t like senior Republican senator John McCain because he was captured, and he preferred soldiers who weren’t captured. (McCain was a prisoner in Vietnam for five years, during which time he was tortured, and has permanent injuries as a result.) Insulting veterans should be a guaranteed way to destroy your candidacy in the US, especially with the GOP base. It had pundits announcing Trump’s poll results would tank. Instead they continued to rise. He has though been careful to constantly say ever since how much he “loves veterans.” I think he realized he couldn’t get far with that one.
There have been several occasions when he’s made insulting and derogatory remarks about women. He has a running battle with fellow candidate Carly Fiorina. Vanity Fair reports:
At CNN’s Republican debate, and ever since, Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina have been attacking each other’s business records—which is sort of like a fight between asbestos and thalidomide, i.e., sad and pointless.
He made nasty remarks about her appearance just before the second Republican debate in September, then lied about it, insisting he was talking about her demeanour, not her appearance. This gave her the opportunity to remark that all women “… had heard exactly what he said.” It got her enormous applause and shut Trump up for a short time.
The earlier Fox News Republican debate was another occasion that revealed Trump’s anti-women stance. He didn’t like a question from moderator Megyn Kelly who asked him: “You have called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs’, ‘dogs’, ‘slobs’, and ‘disgusting animals.” His initial response was, “Only Rosie O’ Donnell,” as if that made it okay. He later said that the reason he had a problem with Kelly’s question was he didn’t recognize any of the quotes as his. (The Huffington Post found them all and more.) Then he insinuated that the reason for what he considered bad questions was she must be menstruating. He tried to lie his way out of that one too by mumbling about nose bleeds.
As well as Kelly and Fiorina, he’s also made negative personal insults about Angelina Jolie, Cher, Bette Midler, and Sarah Jessica Parker. The Huffington Post article linked to above also has several examples of more general anti-women comments.
On 24 November he reached a new low with his mocking of reporter Serge Kovaleski’s disability. When called out on it, he denied it, but anyone who doubts that’s what he was doing is deluding his- or herself. Thus, we again have a lie and an inability to admit he was wrong on top of the initial insult.
Trump has also attacked almost every one of his running mates, breaking the so-called 11th commandment of the revered Ronald Reagan. The notable exception is Ted Cruz. Cruz was last week caught making negative comments about Trump behind closed doors, but has denied them publicly, and instead tweeted that he thinks Trump is fantastic. (I’m not positive “fantastic” is the word Cruz used – he appears to have since deleted the tweet, perhaps because he’s been caught in a lie about what he said about Trump.) The reason is obvious; as I’ve said from the start, Cruz doesn’t want to alienate Trump’s voters because he wants them to come to him when Trump is finally defeated. The Republican establishment will not let Trump win their nomination if they can possibly avoid it, and Cruz’s policy positions and the demographic he attracts are closest to Trump’s.
This brings us to Trumps comment’s that all Muslims should be registered like the Jews were in Nazi Germany and then this week, that no more Muslims should be allowed to enter the US for the time being.
That’s lead to the gloves of the Republican Establishment finally coming off. Trump’s latest outrage actually puts the country at risk, although they’re denying that, and as was pointed out, there are plenty of other reasons to oppose what he said anyway. In a rare move, the most powerful elected Republican, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, stepped up to denounce this latest overreach (although without actually mentioning him by name) on 8 December:
This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and more importantly it’s not what this country stands for. Not only are there many Muslims serving in our armed forces, dying for this country, there are Muslims serving right here in the House working every day to uphold and defend the constitution. Some of our best and biggest allies in this struggle and fight against radical Islamic terror are Muslims, the vast vast vast majority of whom are peaceful, who believe in pluralism and freedom, democracy and individual rights.
So why is it a good thing that the Republicans are denouncing Trump? Because it’s important for democracy that the Republicans field a strong candidate in the presidential election. It’s supposed to be a contest of ideas, with the best person persuading a majority of the voters that they are the right person to lead the country.
There’s another important reason though. Personally, I would prefer to see a Democrat win the presidency. Because of their stupid electoral system, which too many of them are sure is the best in the world simply because of the myth of American exceptionalism, when it comes to voting, there are effectively only two candidates – one from each of the major parties. At this stage the only Democratic candidate who’s capable of getting enough votes to win is Hillary Clinton. As much as many of the left like Bernie Sanders, he’s simply not capable of carrying the country. But what happens if something happens to Clinton? What if everything the Republicans thinks about her is true and she’s charged with a crime? What if she has a debilitating accident or worse? Then the Republican candidate wins by default, and what if that is Donald Trump? That’s a disaster for the whole planet, not just the USA.
Perhaps with that scenario, Pliny the Inbetween’s vision is the best we can hope for:
As it stands, Trump can’t win a presidential election, and he will struggle to retain his lead once the field whittles down. Within the Republican and Republican-leaning demographic, his appeal isn’t as strong as current poll results would indicate. Recent analysis by Gallup shows that outside men without a college education, he has little appeal, and adding positives and negatives, he has zero appeal with college educated women. There is now talk of a brokered convention as a result, with votes having to be traded to decide the eventual nominee. This hasn’t happened for decades, and is also unlikely to produce a candidate popular enough to carry the country. Which would all be good news for the Democratic Party, except all their eggs are in one basket.