When I go to see my doctor for a check-up I enjoy hearing his views on politics. My doctor is a Trump supporter saying that Trump has good instincts and knows how to delegate authority to others when necessary. I answered him that I agree that Trump does have a lot of good instincts but it’s the delegating of authority that is precisely what Trump is not able to do. Trump learned real estate from his successful father who was quite a builder himself in Brooklyn and Queens. Trump senior told his son not to go into Manhattan because “we don’t go there” and young Donald proved his father wrong - big time. Maybe that’s where Donald learned that you don’t have to defer to authority. Becoming a multibillionaire, as was Ross Perot (and we saw how crazy he was) is perhaps an occupational hazard to one’s sensibilities. Whatever the reason, Trump thought that he could become a tycoon in whatever he touched no matter what the field but that would not be the case as I will explain.
I have been a Trump fan for years - I have watched all or most of his Apprentice shows. I always found him to be an interesting person to listen to and observe. It’s not his wealth that makes him interesting. He has said that friends of his of equal wealth have no mojo, so to speak, and I guess referring to those who are or were single, according to Donald, couldn’t even get dates. So when Trump with his charisma, good instincts, lots of money to self-fund a campaign, tremendous name recognition threw his hat in the ring and spoke emphatically about securing the border and negotiating good trade deals he caught the attention of the country. At the very outset, despite his words coming out a bit awkward since he doesn’t like to read from prepared speeches, such as with his opening campaign address characterizing the majority of illegals as being criminals, he shot to #1 in the polls. His argument was subsequently bolstered by the tragic event in San Francisco when a Mexican illegal, with multiple convictions and deportations, shot and killed Kate Steinle when she was walking with her parents on a pier by the beach.
Trump often repeats that we do bad trade deals and that last year we had trade deficits with China of $505 billion and $58 billion with Mexico. He is a Republican Populist and turns out to be the working man’s hero who takes positions that the ‘establishment’ is unable or unwilling to take on. Trump and Bernie Sanders both lament and condemn the corruption of money in politics which absolutely is a very legitimate charge against the status quo. The Torah says that you are not allowed to give any gifts or favors to a judge who will judge your case yet we allow special interests to heap millions of dollars to politicians and somehow the American public is to accept that it would not affect how the politicians will vote once they get into office? That makes no sense and Trump and Bernie both tapped into this.
Trump’s successes heretofore was in his real estate, with some of the most desirable assets domestically and internationally, and his highly rated TV show
the Apprentice. Other than that he has veered into other businesses which have failed such as Trump Water, Trump Vodka, Trump Steaks, Trump University and on and on. So the big question is whether his foray into politics would end up in the failure column or the success column such as his real estate and and TV show. What is for sure however, is that for one to be a success he has to know, as my doctor brought up, when and how to delegate responsibility to others. Donald is not an architect, engineer, media producer or TV director and he knows to delegate those responsibilities to others and for that, together with his good instincts and negotiating skills, he is a success in the real estate and media markets.
But as we observed, the discipline that he has for real estate and for his media career did not materialize in the political arena. First he got into a fight with a major and well respected Fox News cable host and commentator by the name of Megyn Kelly all because she asked him a pointed question about the types of things that he has said about women. Instead of letting it go with his quip about those referring only to Rosie O’Donnel, he went on to try to demean Megyn Kelly and smear her by saying that she’s incompetent, a bimbo and that "she had blood dripping from her eyes or wherever”. He went on to boycott her show which continues until today and boycotted a Fox News debate for which she was one of the moderators. His very reaction gave all the credibility possible to the premise of the question posed by her. In other words he proved to everyone that he really did have a tendency to degrade women.
As if this wasn’t enough he continued this pattern by saying that Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has a face that no one would vote for. Later he posted a side by side of Cruz’s wife in an unflattering pose next to a glamorous pose of his wife Melania. The latest one, as of this writing, is the case of a female reporter by the name of Michelle Fields, who was trying to ask Trump a question as she was walking alongside him and was yanked away by Trump’s campaign manager committing a misdemeanor assault according to the Jupiter, Florida police department. The reporter later displayed a bruised marking on her arm. In this case, Trump first said nothing happened - that no one saw anything happen and then said that his campaign manager was protecting Trump from the threat of the reporter who had a pen (a weapon!) in her hand and was, according to him, tugging at his arm.
As far as policy gaffes and flip flops - there are those about whether we should have gone into Ahfganistan or not, whether H1B1 (visas for foreigners with special skills) are needed or not, whether there should have been a mandate to buy health insurance or not, whether women should be “punished” (repeating the words of the interviewer, Chris Mathews) for getting an abortion or not, or otherwise whether George W. lied about Saddam Hussein’s WMD’s or not - with all having taken both sides. One would ask, with all his money - why he can’t buy better advice than what he’s getting??? To combat his unfavorables or even the hint that he is a misogynist he could buy the advice of the best PR firms that money can buy!!! In other words - why can’t he buy the ‘architects' and ‘engineers' for his political career?
Trump claims to be a uniter (any other false “uniter” come to mind?) but he has encouraged violence toward the disrupters at his own rallies. He has said that his followers should “beat the crap out of them” and that in years past disrupters “would have been carried out in a stretcher”. So is he talking about self defense? Turns out that Trump condones violence against those who are not being violent at all. A Trump supporter sucker elbowed a disrupter who had displayed a rude gesture with his hand and Trump later said that he will help the attacker with his legal bills. He explained another vicious attack by someone punching, kicking and stomping someone who perhaps was associated with someone who was with the KKK. Trump explained that the attack was understandable because people are feeling very angry at the state of affairs in the nation.
Cruz is starting to mount a very credible fight against Trump and as of this writing Cruz is ahead of Trump in Wisconsin by 10 points. Pundits are saying that this could be an inflection point and I’m seeing or feeling this also. If I’m wrong I’ll have to eat my words but here are some important stats about Trump’s unfavorables:
Among the general population - 67%, among Independents - 64%, among millennials or 18 to 34 yr olds - 80%, among women - 73%, among Hispanics - 75% and among blacks - 86%. Of these, perhaps the most significant is the unfavorable among women which at 73% is so much worse than what Mitt Romney had which was a negative of 51%. As we know Romney did not do so well in the general election. Hillary is ahead of Trump by 11 points and it is hard to see how Trump will turn that around with all of his unfavorables.
It looks like there will be a 'contested convention' - to be distinguished from a ‘brokered convention’ which brings in a candidate who was not in the running. I believe that Cruz will have ginned up enough momentum at that point and together with a commitment to run with John Kasich as his VP will win over the delegates on the 2nd or 3rd ballot to be the Republican nominee. I just don’t see that ‘the Donald’ is taking this process seriously and he’s just conducting this race as some Joe Shmoe in a bar arguing over a woman or even yelling at a woman. It should be interesting to see what our community does in the NY Primary which is on April 19 with a total of 95 delegates. At this point the polls for NY are Trump 56, Kasich 19 and Cruz 20. If we believe that Trump will treat the Presidency as he has treated his real estate career we should vote for him. If we believe that he will treat the Presidency as he has treated Trump Airlines, Trump Mortgage, Trump Water, Trump Steaks, Trump University and Trump Vodka - then we should vote for Ted Cruz. So far it looks like he’s treated campaigning more like the latter. If he acted like a serious candidate with the right temperament and learning the issues it would be one thing. Instead he’s acting like Jim Jones leading his cult in Guyana.