I remember last summer watching a BBC broadcast of the results of the Brexit vote come in. The panelists could not hide their surprise as they accurately speculated the final tally would be for the UK to exit the European Union. I was also surprised and amazed that a country as advanced as the United Kingdom would make such a blunder. In the back of my mind was the fact that there would only be two viable candidates to be the next president of the United States in November and that one of them was the outrageous and unqualified Donald Trump. I kept thinking that my fellow Americans could not make such a foolish choice; but then again I feared they could. Just into the wee hours of November 9, 2016 it became apparent that Donald Trump would defeat Hillary Clinton for the presidency. Almost a month has passed since that morning, the reality has really sunk in and the horror show is about to start. It happened here.
A large minority of American voters voted for Trump for one or more reasons. (The Democrats need to do some very complete analysis of the final data when it becomes available. I have held off because good data is still incomplete; expect me to comment sometime next month at the earliest). Reasons like racism, homophobia, xenophobia and the like have to be deemed acceptable losses; if it takes embracing stances like those to win I will proudly lose! Many voters accepted the message of returning jobs to the working class. I grew up in the Rust Belt and understand the desperation of workers who lost well-paying jobs. Today their only choices appear to be low paying, no benefits, jobs or unemployment. These are good people who didn’t do anything wrong; they simply got caught in a changing and increasingly global economy. The rules of the game were changed on them at halftime. They understandably feel cheated and helpless. It isn’t their fault but they need someone else to blame it on. The problem is they are blaming it on the wrong people and in fact are empowering the culprits.
Along comes someone who promises to make everything OK for them and return their lives to what they used to be in the good old days. This candidate tells them they are great and they are a key part of the solution he will impose if only they elect him. This reminds me of a handful of European candidates a few decades prior to my birth.
Going back to at least the 1990’s and the candidacy of Ross Perot, Americans have had a fascination with having a businessman run the country like a business. Right wingers will often make their no new taxes argument with the example of government having to live within its means just like your family does with its budget. I could write volumes on this but the simple answer is that running a government and running a business are two very different things! That fact will be a challenge for Trump and in his case a larger one than it would be for most coming from the business world.
Plain and simple, Trump is wealthy because he was born that way. When you start out on third base and the pitcher throws a wild pitch that bounced to the backstop it’s not the same as hitting a home run! If you start from modest means and work your way to the top in the corporate world you have a vastly different set of skills and experiences than Trump has. Trump started out as the boss’s kid and then became the boss in a privately held business. People were kissing his behind from day 1. He never had the worry of failure and termination. Who was going to fire him; he was the boss with no stockholders or directors to report to. In a privately held entity there are no quarterly or annual reports that get scrutinized by a legion of analysts and investors.
Now Trump enters the Oval Office and the world is very different. He will have a legion of people in the Executive Branch that serve at his pleasure just like his employees have for years. That is where the similarity begins and ends. Many in the Executive Branch will have civil service protection and quite a few will also have union protection. Trump cannot simply walk in and impulsively say, “You’re fired.” Members of Congress and their staffs are responsible to the voters who put them there. Most were there before Trump and most of them will be there when he is gone. Domestic business leaders report to the stockholders and Boards. In some cases Trump carrots or sticks will work but those CEO’s know who signs their very generous paychecks and it’s not Donald J. Trump. Foreign leaders, diplomats and envoys will present the greatest challenge. They literally work for a foreign government. Trump will not be able to take advantage of them the way he took advantage of sub-contractors on his building projects.
Trump is much better equipped to be a dictator than a diplomat or the leader of a democracy; even a representative one. Trump’s conflicts of interest make America look more like a banana republic than a super power. Trump will find out that life on a global scale is much different than life in the Donald Dome. A Trump administration will give me much to write about and much for Americans to fear, fret and regret!
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