In recent articles on this Utah Politico Hub by Jesse Harris and others, the bona fides of a Donald Trump led Republican Party have been bemoaned to a significant degree. As we watched the fireworks at the Republican National Convention and the ongoing character assassination at the Democratic National Convention there is a simple question hanging over our country: Who is the real Donald Trump? And the ancillary issue is: can we ever rely on anyone in the mainstream media to help us find an accurate answer to that question?
In Harris’s column he linked to an MSNBC article that lists the numerous Republican talking heads and public figures, everyone from Glenn Beck and Mitt Romney to establishment wonk Lindsey Graham. The first problem with this is that we are getting analysis on a Republican from MSNBC. That is akin to asking Bill Belichick to give a position-by-position breakdown of the New York Giants. It’s simply a biased viewpoint. Second, it is not clear that Trump even knows what all of his positions will be on specific issues. A lot of the significant issues are probably new to him. Though he must be given credit for seeking out respected experts on every issue. There is still much up in the air.
So let’s look at the whole Trump situation in terms of pluses and minuses, a fair model for assessing any potential outcome. And it behooves us to look at Trump in light of his own inherent nature and accomplishments, not as the “lesser of two evils” opposing Hillary Clinton. The overwhelming vices of another Clinton White House, and the potential permanent harm to America, are a subject for another day. Further, we know the great majority of mainstream media will not only lean left and paint Clinton in the most favorable light, but will unleash the hounds of hell on any Republican at every opportunity. Trump certainly makes an appealing target for the leftist media propaganda machine.
We cannot necessarily judge Trump exclusively by his public persona. We must remember he is a career New Yorker. If you have never been insulted by a New Yorker you probably do not know any. The entire primary process seemed to be a carefully crafted series of controversial sound bites that bought him millions in free air time. Trump knows media and found himself on the airwaves daily with little or no advertising expense for the coverage. Did he sound buffoonish at times? Absolutely. But every over-the-top quip or antagonistic label he spewed got him another five minutes on CNN. Is he dumb or unusually savvy? The bottom line is he kept himself constantly in front of the public without spending huge campaign dollars. Something to consider when talking about changing a broken system.
Strangely, for a man labelled a bully and misogynist, he has a very coherent and functional family, with almost all of his children looking like excellent candidates themselves while espousing their deep appreciation for him on a personal level. Whatever public gripes one may have, he certainly has a seemingly united and well-adjusted family. That says a lot in some circles, suggesting his personal life may be more sensitive than we can see. His business record is also tough to knock, with Trump successes spanning the globe, though he could be more specific about details and principles behind his achievements. Has he had business failures? Sure, but find one mogul so diversified that has not had a few losers now and then.
The most revealing plus however is the employees and executives close to Trump as well as many figures in the underground and internet media. They speak of an engaged gentleman in private and a man deeply concerned about his country and the people under his care. Is it a secular concern? Probably, but that is a fair enough place to start. Restoring America’s economic might create fertile ground for our moral and spiritual restoration. Pundits like Alex Jones, Jeff Rense, Larry Nichols and others with insider connections laud his understanding of globalist influences, allegedly advanced by both Obama and Clinton, trying to weaken or destroy the sovereignty of the U.S and his determination to send such antagonists packing. They claim his nationalistic rhetoric is not hollow, but reflects a deeper commitment to reversing much of the economic damage and outsider influence dealt to this country by past administrations.
He obviously does not tolerate incompetence, which will surely set him at odds with the same characters currently inhabiting offices that are running this country’s treasury into insolvency. It will take a man willing to upset nearly everyone who has benefited from the Washington gravy train if any true change is to happen and our country remain economically viable. In his acceptance speech Thursday, Trump outlined in plain language the egregious flaws now inherent in our political system, and the role of Clinton and others in perpetuating those problems. And he said it in a “politically incorrect” way that focused on facts, not perceptions. Trump may just have that mettle, and an ego large enough, to weather the overwhelming criticism he will take for even trying to change a tragically corrupt system. The bigger question remains, can he, or anyone for that matter, actually effectuate the necessary changes?
On the downside, where is Trump on specific social and political issues? The whole racist card (thrown at every Republican eventually) does not coincide with those who know Trump in private. The misogynist label also seems pretty manufactured. But with the public perception becomes reality even if it barely describes the real person. Trump can be easily exploited on these perceptions with the effortless twisting of his sometimes overblown rhetoric. One must also ask, is Trump truly a Republican with conservative values? In almost every case, that answer comes back mixed. One thing is clear, we have heard neither Trump nor Clinton give much speaking time to returning to the basic constitutional values of our nation. While they line up insults for one another, we the people are left wondering where their core values are really pointing.
One area of concern for all Americans is foreign policy. On this Trump is clear about placing American interests first. The major networks will spare no sound bite of foreign leaders wringing their hands over a Trump presidency and the disastrous implications for foreign relations. However, while the news media paints one such picture of potential incompetence, the real agents abroad, namely those who interact with our diplomats and military, privately raise questions and concerns on the disappearance of American leadership abroad. They are begging for our country to resume our more traditional role of international leadership. It may indeed take a president who will re-exert American exceptionalism and might abroad to re-stabilize certain regions of the world, if they are not already too far gone. When the cameras are off, that is the real conversation one is likely to hear. Trump would certainly rank higher than any Democrat on that account, but apprehensions remain.
Also, we hear much about the “Trump temperament.” And perhaps that trepidation is valid. It is an adjustment for a man who has had exclusive executive control over a business empire to have to work with an entire executive branch and (an arguably corrupt) Congress to accomplish anything. Would he learn and adapt in office and find the true skills of a statesman a la Ronald Reagan, or would we see King Trump emerge? This is perhaps the number one question for any concerned voter. However, the corollary question is “Does our government need someone determined enough to truly shake the sloths out of the special interest/entitlement tree”? And can anyone do that while maintaining constitutional and civil liberties? Maybe an even deeper question revolves around Trump being disguised as an anti-establishment candidate, while being true insider himself, a gamer of the system. Would he change the system for the better, or make it worse? Who can really uncover that intent beyond personal speculation?
The bottom line to all of this is we have one well-known entity in Hillary Clinton. And that entity is corrupt to the core. In Donald Trump, we have basically an unknown political entity, one that has forged a public persona through business and media, but mainly for the purposes of sales and marketing. Who is the man behind the mask? Is he the true establishment outsider, a man who has matured into more conservative principles over the years, or an exploiter and egomaniac looking for the highest level of self-aggrandizement? Is he the next great statesman in waiting, or a crass, petty dictator in disguise?
The mainstream media certainly will not do anything to pull the mask aside, they have their own masks to hang on anyone opposing Hillary. The fact of the matter is we may never know the real Trump unless and until he takes office and reveals his true political colors. Is that a gamble that America is willing to take? One has to like the odds better than Hillary, but that is not necessarily a ringing endorsement. We can only hope we will see something more substantive in the upcoming presidential debates that will shed some light on these difficult questions.