To be president of the United States of America you should have certain character traits that include conflict resolution, being a visionary, diplomacy, a sound worldview perspective, and a love for humanity. Although Donald Trump — the current GOP presidential leader — likes to brag, these are not the traits that he can brag about.
If we go back to presidential cycles prior to 2008, and ask the question, could a person like Donald Trump be elected president? The answer would be a resounding no because the political climate then was not influenced by the kind of political shenanigans we have today.
Donald Trump is not the first wealthy man that has ventured into the political arena to contest the presidential election. This list includes Ross Perot (independent, 1992), Steve Forbes (Republican, 1996 and 2000), John Kerry (Democrat, 1996 and 2000), and Mitt Romney (Republican, 2012).
The problem voters have with wealthy political candidates is that they cannot be trusted. Presumably, because they are privileged and do not understand the challenges that working-class people are faced with. With the exception of Kerry and Romney, these wealthy presidential candidates also lacked political experience.
Despite all the things that make Donald Trump not an ideal presidential candidate, he very well could win the presidential election in November. This is assuming of course that he secures the Republican nomination. The latest CNN poll for South Carolina has him winning by an overwhelming lead. He was a close second in the Iowa primary, and won the New Hampshire primary with a significant margin.
There are good reasons why a political neophyte like Donald Trump is the front-runner over his more experienced political opponents. This field of Republican presidential candidates is a weak one that includes people who have no significant political accomplishments or leadership qualities. What they have is a penchant for tough talk, which usually involves bashing President Obama or doing controversial things like signing a letter to Iran’s Ayatollah, shutting down the government, and their mantra of repealing Obamacare.
With respect to a wealthy non-political candidate never being elected president, Murphy’s Law is overdue. Donald Trump doesn’t need help from Mr. Murphy though because he has two real factors that appear to make him invincible: his TV celebrity status and the politics of illusion. These two factors are what make his supporters not amenable to objective reasoning, but more to emotions.
TV celebrity status — Donald Trump’s egotistical personality has been enlarged not because of his wealth but because of his TV reality show – The Apprentice. The show has made him a TV celebrity and conservatives love their celebrities. His TV celebrity, status seems to give him immunity as he can say outrageous things that if other candidates were to hint at would eliminate them immediately.
Another advantage that Donald Trump celebrity TV status has given him is that he knows how to act and talk to the TV media. This experience along with his outspoken style make it appears that he is beholden to no one. If he is beholden to anyone, it is his egotistical alter ego – this could be his worst enemy in the presidential election.
The politics of illusion — these days everything in politics seems to be an illusion of horrors. This illusion started in 2008 when the GOP begun their crusade to make President Obama an unpopular president. During the campaign for his second term, the crusade picked up momentum with things like voter suppression, the several “scandal” hearings against his administration, and endless propaganda aimed at demonizing and delegitimizing him.
The net result of the GOP’s anti-Obama crusade is that the illusion was created that President Obama was the worst President and was taking the country down the wrong path. This illusion has caused disenchantment among conservative voters and probably those that are still on the fence.
The disenchantment is similar to what Americans felt in 2008 and that played a part in getting President Obama elected as the first African-American president. Despite the flaws of Donald Trump, this disenchantment could help him get elected as the first wealthy businessman without any political experience.
From a statistical point of view that takes into account the diverse electorate and the fact that Mr. Trump has alienated some constituents, it would be a “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” event if he were elected president of the USA. Contrary to his mantra to “Make America great again,” I believe he would do the opposite.
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