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Avoiding the Trump card

Stephen Tuttle - April 18th, 2011
Avoiding the Trump Card
Donald Trump says he wants to be president. He hasn’t made up his mind
just yet but he’s pretty sure, should he decide to run, his victory is a
foregone conclusion.
Sigh.
Say what you want about Mr. Trump, and I’m about to, he’s not the least
bit short on self-confidence.
Many of us don’t believe he’ll run at all. With a new television program
in the works, Trump’s current blizzard of activity could turn out to be
little more than a clever publicity stunt.
Even more believe he is unelectable if he does run. There is ample reason
to agree with that belief.
Aside from his non-stop self-promotion, Trump’s political platform is both
incredibly narrow and dangerously thin. It’s pretty clear his initial
strategy is to launch a preemptive strike against the darlings of the tea
party by co-opting their social issues. He can then overwhelm most other
potential opponents with universal name recognition and a blizzard of free
publicity.
So far, we know Trump is pro-life and pro-gun. Those are good, solid
Republican social issue positions as a starting point. Then he veers off
into the fringes.
He has sent his “investigators” off to Hawaii in search of the elusive
Barack Obama birth certificate, forever endearing himself to the birther
community. Never mind that the birth certificate has already been seen by
many, his birth was announced in the local paper and the courts have
already decided this issue. If the Clinton political machine couldn’t find
evidence of a foreign birth and John McCain and the entire Republican
political machine couldn’t find it, there’s a pretty good chance the
evidence just isn’t out there.
Even stranger, Trump has started regurgitating the ramblings of some the
9/11 conspiracy folks. He’s made outrageous assertions, long ago proven
untrue, about our government‘s dealings with Osama bin Laden’s family and
those of other terrorists who were in the United States at the time of the
attacks.
So, either Trump has galloped off the reservation of reality in a cynical
attempt to garner support from the fringe Republicans or the frightening
alternative is that he actually believes this stuff.
More to the point, Trump is oddly quiet on virtually every issue of real
importance. His plans to tackle the deficit and debt are apparently a
secret. He’s offered nothing on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
which, together, account for 43% of the federal budget, a share that will
continue to increase as more Boomers become eligible for both Social
Security and Medicare.
Does he have an opinion on discretionary spending or the so-called social
safety nets? What about illegal immigration? Does he have a comprehensive
plan or is he a round ‘em up and send ‘em home candidate? Has he ever
employed illegal immigrants at his hotels or casinos or on his
construction sites?
We’ve no clue how he intends to handle our foreign policy, including
Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Is he a friend or foe of Israel? Does he
have a different plan for our efforts against terrorism?
Trump will also have some questions to answer about himself. His business
dealings, which have not always gone smoothly, will be closely
scrutinized. How does he explain the bankruptcy of his Atlantic City
hotel/casino? Every business competitor he’s bested, or worse, will come
slithering to the fore.
Then there are the three marriages and plenty of accusations of infidelity.
If Mr. Trump believes he’s going to get a free pass on any of these issues
he’s delusional. There is already reliable information floating around
out there that unnamed potential opponents have their researchers
feverishly rifling through various public documents in an attempt to
uncover any dirt. Aside from his personal life, the media will want real
answers on every issue and thus far he has offered none.
This isn’t the business world where you can negotiate a deal in secret and
have the contracts signed before somebody blabs to the media. Nor will
being a well-known celebrity provide him any cover – reporters and
opponents both will delight at the chance to dig to up some trash on
Trump.
The reality that tips the balance against Trump running is fairly simple –
he will have to issue a fairly detailed financial report, place his
holdings in a blind trust and, presumably, turn his empire over to his
children and most trusted aides. That would mean no more golf course
developments, no more casinos, no more high rises for The Donald to open.
The wheeling and dealing which seems to be oxygen for Trump’s very
existence would have to stop.
Even worse for him, if he did run it’s extremely likely he would lose
despite his recent ascendancy in the polls. He has no political
organization and no natural constituency. He hasn’t been handing out
political favors and IOUs over the years, he’s been receiving them.
Donald Trump is an interesting character. He’s full of bluster and
bravado. He’s been wildly successful. But politics is not business. It’s
much, much tougher and all of his skeletons -- and they are rumored to be
many -- will come falling out of his closet.
When all of the posturing is done and Republican candidates have to put up
or shut up it’s likely Trump, citing family and business considerations,
will bow out and claim he can do more as a private citizen.
And if he does run, Republicans aren’t likely to play their Trump card.




 
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