It’s not really a secret that I consider Donald Trump to be a dangerous fascist demagogue. His brand of unhinged populism, unmoored by any kind of intellectual consistency or political philosophy, would, if embraced, spell the end of the Republican Party as we know it. If elected to public office, his penchant for using whatever power is at his disposal to exact revenge upon whichever party has happened to cross him, no matter how minor the offense, would minimally cripple the nation as his every action is held up in litigation. And yet despite how obvious this outcome is, people like David Rogers will spring to his defense, telling us that we’ve just got it all wrong.
Of course, his defense begins with an attack, specifically on a decision to link to MSNBC with a list of which Republicans have condemned Trump in the strongest possible terms. Mind you, he did not once dispute the accuracy of the list and it’s contents, merely that I had the audacity to link to “a biased viewpoint”. Apparently, when you can’t dispute the content of linked material, it makes more sense to go after where it is published.
And yet, the irony of this runs fairly deep as he cites Alex Jones, Jeff Rense, and Larry Nichols as trustworthy sources of information. Jones is well-known for seeing a conspiracy in every event, including stating outright that the 1969 moon landing was faked. Jeff Rense is in the same vein, even sporting a David Duke ad on his website. (Yes, that David Duke, the head of the KKK.) Larry Nichols spent over 25 years making various claims against the Clintons only to, this year, say he would consider voting for Hillary. Yes, these are the distinguished sources that can’t be substantiated outside of alt.conspiracy. Obviously I’m the unhinged one for being lazy enough to pick the first reasonably complete Google search result instead of linking to Breitbart.
I also find it ironic that David considers himself an expert in divination, determining Donald Trump’s “true character” that is divorced from his public persona. This is the same line of reasoning that Hillary Clinton fans pursue, that we just don’t know The Real Hillary™, but they are eminently qualified to tell us what the media just can’t get right. I see one of two possibilities, that Trump is selling exactly who he is at face value or that he is so inept at interacting with the media that we’re left with the buffoon that constantly fills the evening news. Either way, is this what’s supposed to impress America?
But enough with confronting David Rogers’ baseless and ineffective attempts at attacking the source. If you want to know who Donald Trump is, you merely have to look at the facts of his life and his own words.
Donald Trump, who he claims has a “coherent and functional family” was unable to get his own children to register to vote in time for primary elections. He cheated on his first wife with a woman who became his second wife, then sought a gag order to force his first wife to not discuss anything about their marriage. Each of his successive marriages was to increasingly younger women, hardly behavior considered couth for a “family man.” He even on multiple occasions insinuated that he would gladly sleep with his daughter if she were not his daughter and he weren’t married. That is not the kind of comment a father makes about his daughter in any context. Does this sounds like a family that has things together?
And then there are the fantastical claims of Donald Trump’s business success. I will admit, Trump is a master at marketing his name as a brand and image (even if it is for a kind of gauche nouveau riche about as classy as pink flamingos in a trailer park), but that’s about where it ends. Forbes, the definitive source on wealthy individuals, determined that he had grossly exaggerated his wealth by at least 167%. In fact, Donald Trump has managed to underperform the S&P 500 by 58%, a feat that puts him in the distinguished company of Michael Milken. Even the most unsophisticated investor putting their money into index funds would apparently be a savvier businessman than The Donald.
In fact, the rest of Rogers’ claims appear to be so much projection of an image. Despite declaring that he wouldn’t necessarily honor NATO (and likely SEATO) obligations, Trump is expected to project American power abroad? Despite refusing to distance himself from David Duke and white supremacist groups, he’s not racist? Despite telling Megyn Kelly that she must be on her period for asking him a tough a pointed question, he’s not a misogynist? It appears that Trump has been very good at copying Obama’s ability to be a chameleon, supporting whatever issues the supporter wants without taking those stands explicitly.
Of course, the fallback position is blaming “the media.” Look, I get it. I often see media outlets getting the facts wrong in my areas of expertise. If I had a nickel for every time someone got a story on broadband or information security heinously wrong, I’d probably do the un-Trumpable task of outperforming the market. By and large, though, most people who are claiming a media problem usually have themselves to blame by doing really, really stupid things. When many fellow Republicans, themselves often the subject of unflattering media, are saying “yeah, the stories are basically getting this one right,” can you really make that your fallback position, that the media isn’t giving you a fair shake? Hardly.
That is something I’ll give Trump credit for. He’s managing to rally low-information segments of the Republican Party not by taking policy stands or brandishing conservative credentials, but by getting The Other Guys to attack him, a backwards way of signaling “I’m one of you.” It’s the mark of a master con artist, and too many people are buying into the act. I don’t know how things are in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, but in mine we aren’t willing to fall for it. No savvy voter should.