Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Trump for President?

Donald Trump, the bombastic builder of Trump towers and Trump gambling casinos is moving from his reality TV show to the theater of presidential elections. If he survives the first three months of mass media drubbing him and his notorious affliction of ‘leaving no impulsive opinion behind,’ he’s going to be trouble for the other fifteen or so Republican presidential candidates.

Already the commentators have derided his massive egotitis – he said “I” 195 times in his announcement speech, not counting the 28 times he said “my” or “mine” or the 22 mentions of “me.” But Trump revels in self-promotion and, as one commentator wrote, “plays the media like a harp.”

If he is still campaigning by Labor Day, watch out Republicans! He will be a big nightmare for Republican contenders – from Jeb Bush to Ted Cruz, from John Kasich to Scott Walker. Here are some reasons why:

Many American voters love to vote for very rich candidates, whether they are Republicans or Democrats. They believe they can’t be bought. They love business success stories. And being very rich, the media keeps the very rich candidates in the limelight, as do the national polls.

He can pay for his own media. Remember billionaire Ross Perot and his purchase of national television to show his charts on deficits. People laughed. But Mr. Perot got 19 million votes in 1992, even after dropping out of the campaign in the summer and being labeled a conspiracy theorist before again becoming a candidate in the fall!

Trump regularly and personally attacks the other candidates, which makes for regular news. The other candidates do not like to engage in personal attacks unless under political duress.

Trump turns liabilities into assets, including his vaunted forthcoming disclosures of his net worth – he focused on assets, while ignoring many complex liabilities. While Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney before him tried to play down their wealth, Trump insists he’s worth over ten billion dollars. He even ridiculed Bush who announced for president without wearing a suit and tie.

To accusations that he has taken public subsidies and eminent domain protections for his giant projects, Trump replies that capital and tax money create jobs and more businesses.

Trump will crowd other candidates out from valuable TV, radio (Rush Limbaugh thinks highly of him) and print space. To adjust, they may have to become more flamboyant, further expanding the circus-like atmosphere of the Republican Primaries, while the Democratic Party leaders chortle.

Some of Trump’s positions have sizable support among Republican voters. He believes in public works programs on a big scale. He talks jobs, jobs, jobs and says he’s the only one among the candidates, who has been creating jobs. He objects strongly to the trade agreements, including the proposed Trans-Pacific deal now in the news, on the grounds that other countries, such as Japan and China, are superior negotiators and are taking us to the cleaners. He wants to build a tall wall on the Mexican border. He is against Common Core and federalizing education. He warned against invading Iraq in some detail, predicting it would expand Iran’s influence. He is for a strong military and talks about the mistreatment of veterans. He exudes self-confidence and attaches it to American national interests.

Having survived tough, acidic New York journalism for years, he is almost scandal-proof. Attacks from his business and political enemies have helped to immunize the big-time scapper from serious reporting. He feeds off public cynicism about politics.

If the Republican bigwigs try to exclude or humiliate him, Trump has the means to run as an Independent candidate for president – as Mr. Perot essentially did under the banner of his Reform Party. Just the prospect of that added nightmare might induce caution at the top levels of the GOP.

He is not going to run out of money and, unlike his competitors, he doesn’t have to spend any precious campaign time dialing for dollars or making campaign promises. He can hire the smart strategists, speech-writers, election lawyers and primary delegate-seekers.

One hurdle Trump may not be able to surmount is Saturday Night Live (SNL). Lorne Michaels, SNL’s forever producer, uses exaggeration and satire to lampoon politicians. How can he satirize buffoonish satire itself? How can he exaggerate Trump who brags that the master bathroom on his private jet has a 24-karat-gold-plated sink?

Ralph Nader’s latest book is: Unstoppable: the Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.

More articles by:

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

May 23, 2018
Nick Pemberton
Maduro’s Win: A Bright Spot in Dark Times
Ben Debney
A Faustian Bargain with the Climate Crisis
Deepak Tripathi
A Bloody Hot Summer in Gaza: Parallels With Sharpeville, Soweto and Jallianwala Bagh
Farhang Jahanpour
Pompeo’s Outrageous Speech on Iran
Josh White
Strange Recollections of Old Labour
CJ Hopkins
The Simulation of Democracy
stclair
In Our Age of State Crimes
Dave Lindorff
The Trump White House is a Chaotic Clown Car Filled with Bozos Who Think They’re Brilliant
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Domination of West Virginia
Ty Salandy
The British Royal Wedding, Empire and Colonialism
Laura Flanders
Life or Death to the FCC?
Gary Leupp
Dawn of an Era of Mutual Indignation?
Katalina Khoury
The Notion of Patriarchal White Supremacy Vs. Womanhood
Nicole Rosmarino
The Grassroots Environmental Activist of the Year: Christine Canaly
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
“Michael Inside:” The Prison System in Ireland 
May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail