James Leroy Wilson's one-man magazine.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Six (and maybe seven) things I like about Donald Trump

Donald Trump must not be President. If his policies (in my view) aren't bad enough, the tape with Billy Bush where he speaks about his treatment toward beautiful women reveals poor character. And his remarks on the guilt of the Central Park Five reveals a stubborn resistance to facts and disregard for justice that proves his incompetence.

In his favor is that he is more anti-war than Hillary Clinton. But I can think of several party nominees and independent candidates for President from this century that have or had stronger anti-war positions:

All the Libertarian nominees.
All the Green nominees.
All the Constitution Party nominees
Ralph Nader
Pat Buchanan
And... George W. Bush!

Bush proves to us that you just never know after the election. I'm not confident that a Trump Presidency will be a peaceful one. (Admittedly, I'm not 100% certain a Gary Johnson Administration would be either. But if we go by words, which is all we have to go on, I'm more confident in Johnson.)

All that said, there were good things that have happened to the political order from Mr. Trump's White House run. Here are six, followed by one more reason that, at this stage, is only speculation:

6. Mr. Trump was a political novice who whipped his "serious" Republican rivals. Mr. Trump's real ambition was to be a celebrity along the lines of George Steinbrenner, Mark Cuban, or Jerry Jones: a high-profile owner of a major sports franchise. He wasn't good enough of a businessman to achieve that, so he went into politics and made quick work of his experienced competitors. He therefore spared America a wholly mediocre empty suit as the Republican nominee.

5. Mr. Trump is nasty. For the most part, that's not an admirable trait. But the Republicans and Democrats who had a hand in misgoverning the country since 9/11 deserve all the venom Mr. Trump spit on them. True, Mr. Trump's own proposals are for the most part copies of the status quo or even worse. But the frankness was needed.

4. Mr. Trump makes the Presidency less respectable. One hope from his run is that it will make people think twice about allowing Presidents to have so much power. If the fate of a country depends on the "right person" to be in President, that's scarcely better than a government that depends on a benevolent monarch to work.

3. Mr. Trump destroyed the Religious Right as a political force. Yes, there is and will be white evangelicals as a demographic, but probably no longer as a voting bloc. While Republican leaders are abandoning Mr. Trump for much the same reason they (or their predecessors) impeached Bill Clinton, evangelical "leaders" such as James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Jr., and Ralph Reed are sticking by him based, apparently, on the quixotic hope that Mr. Trump will nominate Supreme Court Justices to their liking -- at the cost of every other value they hold dear.

In other words, they've lost credibility, while  100 other Christian leaders have condemned Mr. Trump. While every religious voter was always free to vote his conscience, Mr. Trump's behavior has fractured them as a reliable Republican base.

2. Mr. Trump is mostly right on Libya, Syria, and Putin.  Mrs. Clinton lost the 2008 Presidential nomination because she voted for the Iraq War. After she became Secretary of State, she repeated the same mistakes and learned nothing. Mr. Trump often speaks with common sense and holds her accountable for her incompetence.

1. Trump is doing it his way. I've heard interviews in different contexts: inexperienced head football coaches, comedians on their first tv show, and others who failed because they took advice from "experts" that went against their own personality, intuition, and gut. If Mr. Trump goes down in flames, it will be on his own terms, and if he triumphs he won't "owe" anyone.

Yes, if he loses, he will blame everyone but himself, but that's not the point. It is rather that he'll have no regrets for what he personally did. He won't look back and say "I should have followed so-and-so's advice."

And now for the possible game-changing reason Mr. Trump might eventually emerge as a hero from all this. I got it from Jimmy Kimmel, who said on the October 10 Bill Simmons podcast that he thinks Donald Trump's endgame is Trump TV, and that he'll do very well with it.

I haven't followed up, but saw there was speculation in mainstream publications over the summer about a Trump News Channel. And as early as last spring, another Bill Simmons guest speculated that Mr. Trump entered the GOP primaries in order to build his brand. Expecting to do well in the primaries but eventually lose, he would call the system "rigged" and a lot of his followers would believe him. But even he didn't expect to get this far. Now he has an even bigger brand.

I wouldn't be surprised if this is true. Since you can make a mint with the attention of 1% of  America's tv-viewing public, it could succeed and make him more money than anything else he's done.

That might have been the goal all along, and that he used the Republican Party to further his own interests with no regard for what would happen to it. If you think that's unethical, consider that it's not his fault he made it this far. The Republicans did this to themselves.

And if we do see a Trump channel next year, and if it's beating Fox News in two years, the entire narrative of this election that we think we are all experiencing will have to be re-told.

It would be the con job of the century, and the "victims" - Trump contributors and voters - will be his audience. I have to admire that.

Alex Jones will tell you all about it... on Trump TV!


  1. I bet you hate to see me coming with my nitpicks, don't you? Here's today's:

    Are you suggesting that George W. Bush was less pro-war than Trump when he was nominated for re-election in 2004?

    The first time he was nominated (and elected), on a platform including "a humbler foreign policy," was in 2000 -- the final year of the last century, rather than part of this century.

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