Giving Trump a chance is already too hard

Matt Fried
Nov 21, 2016 · 5 min read
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I’ve been a registered Democrat since 2002; more or less loyal to the party over that 14-year span. I wouldn’t’ve been happy with any of the 17 Republican candidates winning the election — almost of all them were too busy invoking Reagan, waving the bloody flag of 9/11, or focused on weird fringe issues (Chris Christie’s pro-life anti-marijuana crusade, for example). But had the candidate been John Kasich, or Marco Rubio, or even Jeb Bush — I would’ve at least felt better.

To me: Donald Trump was the worst out of all of them. Aside for the publicity stunts, the misogyny, the racism, the xenophobia, and the last minute anti-semitism (you made me feel so left out, Donald): there was the fact that the man has never held political office. He was backed by a populist movement, but he didn’t know how government worked. He’s never had to build alliances in order to legislate. He’s never had a role in international diplomacy. And his business record — 6 bankruptcies, the demise of the USFL, a questionable loan history — never pointed to long-term success as a job creator or ethical businessman who thrived in the free market.

He’s (ironically for Republicans) a guy who wanted a hand-out; like a job; the most important job in the country.

There was no reason, in a vacuum, that Trump should be President — and yet: here we are.

After 8 years of birtherism, Islamophobia, and Obamacare death panels, I want to take a high road. The fear I have about a Trump presidency is in the evidence that Donald Trump is, above all, self-interested. But as I read more news, I want to also be fair. I don’t want to turn into a liberal who flies off the handle at every pundit half-truth or every cable news headline that’s written to fill dead airtime. I don’t want to become to Trump what Trump was to President Obama. Make no mistake: I don’t like Trump and I don’t feel comfortable with him in office. But if he won this election, then in the interest of being an adult: I want to give him a chance.

But he’s already made that pretty hard for me: a Democrat on Obamacare with Jewish heritage. And, while Paul Ryan and our Congress are still enjoying the afterglow of victory, I have a feeling he’ll make that too hard for them.

In the 12 days since Trump’s election, the spike in hate crimes — at least 700 over 11 days, which averaged to 63.6 a day — was met with silence from the President-Elect. Well, not silence: he took a few seconds in his 60 Minutes interview to tell people to “stop it”. Thanks, Donald: I appreciate that as I see Nazi swastikas appear at Adam Yauch Park — named after one of my heroes, also of Jewish descent. He tweeted this week that he kept a Ford auto plant from moving from Kentucky to Mexico — even though the plant never planned to move. There was also the meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister that violated security protocol. And the meeting with Indian business partners that hinted at a conflict of interest. There was the appointment of Steve Bannon as his chief strategist — a man who, for some reason, loves money but hates Jews — and Alabama’s favorite NBA season ticket holder Jeff Sessions to Attorney General. Just this past Friday, the President-Elect agreed to a $25 million settlement with defrauded students of Trump University; a man who wants to “Make America Great Again” has to personally pay $25 million to people he ripped off 6 years ago. And then: he gets to be President of The United States.

You could argue that the meetings and misinformed tweets are “rookie mistakes”. After all: the guy’s never held an elected office. However: wouldn’t a successful businessman want to learn the protocol of his new job? So that he can both: gauge how he can work best and earn the trust of people he works with?

If he wants to heal the country, then why is he appointing an outspoken bigot and a documented bigot to run daily Presidential strategy, and oversee the Justice Department?

From what I know about legal settlements: they only happen if the defendant has a less than 50% chance of winning a lawsuit. The evidence against the defendant (President-Elect Trump) creates a serious obstacle to a win, and money won against the defendant could be far higher than a settlement amount.

As I said previously: I don’t want to turn into a liberal who flies off the handle at anything I remotely don’t like. But none of these questionable practices puts me at ease with our new President. He seems to prefer operating outside of checks and balances. Glaring character flaws don’t bother him when hiring for key positions. And he appears quick to end any serious legal accusations because he knows he can’t win. That is why I struggle to give him a chance.

I’ll close with this: Trump’s populism comes from connection; from people who finally feel heard by someone in power. I can understand the validation that comes with that. But I worry if that connection is even real. When Lesley Stahl asked President-Elect Trump on 60 Minutes about the hate crime spike, he replied that he hadn’t heard about them. Whether that’s a lie or the truth, that’s astounding to hear a media-obsessed “man of the people” say it.

He wants to appeal to the country he loves, and yet: I read about swastikas that bear his name, and he says he hears nothing. There are Muslim Americans being harassed because of his win, and he says he hears nothing. The words “Nigger” and “Black Bitch” graffiti the property of African Americans. The children of Mexican Americans are bullied at their schools. Hate is suddenly much more visible, but President-Elect Trump says he hears nothing. He instead sits in Trump Tower, mis-stepping and mis-tweeting his way to looking like a leader.

President-Elect Trump: I’ll give you a chance when you hear what your country is telling you.

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