by Andrei Popoviciu, a first-year International Relations student at King’s College London. Andrei is the Social Media Editor of International Relations Today and a supporter of the American Democrat party.
As frontrunner of the republican nomination and a controversial character in the American presidential race, Donald Trump’s decision to run for head of state has been heavily debated by almost every media facet and political figure. With policies such as the wall to shut out Mexico, killing the families of terrorists, deporting all illegal immigrants and preventing Muslims from entering the United States, he was considered a joke up until he started to gain popularity amongst voters. One of the turning points when everyone figured out how dangerous he is was Super Tuesday, where 8.5 million Republicans turned out to vote in the 11 GOP Super Tuesday. This year’s turnout in those 11 states is 81% higher than four years ago. Donald Trump says he is the main reason behind the shift, claiming to draw Democrats and independents into the Republican process this year, boosting his party at the expense of Democrats. What is extremely worrying is that since 1988, every candidate who has won the most states on Super Tuesday went on to become the party’s nominee. Trump seemed harmless at the beginning, but in light of recent events, he is almost guaranteed to be the Republican nominee.
But how and why did this happen? Most supporters see in Trump the potential to be the next president due to a series of characteristics and assets they think are essential for the position he is running for. Ignoring his inconsistencies in policy and his hypocritical statements, reasons such as his incredible business skills, the fact that he funds his own campaign, his anti-establishment position or his charismatic and though personality were considered by his devotees when they decided to support him. This article sets to debunk all these reasons and to justify why he shouldn’t be considered as an option for the presidential race.
#1 He is funding his own campaign
Well, not really. He declared at a certain point that he spent 25 million dollars on his campaign so far. He boasts about the fact that he hasn’t taken any corporate money and that he is truly financially independent. What is important to note is that starting from the start of his campaign in April through October last year, individual contributors made up about 67% of his total money raised for his campaign. His self-financing only started to come up in the last months of 2015, making his statements not so true. Furthermore, he gave his campaign a $10.8 million loan, making the vast majority of his contributions loans rather than donations. This means that he is expecting to eventually get his money back at some point. Additionally, of the $12 million Trump’s campaign spent in 2015, $2.7 million went toward reimbursing Trump-affiliates companies for services provided to the campaign, such as traveling in his own plane and helicopter. Sure, it is safe to say that he might be partially funding his campaign or that he’s accepting donations as means of gratitude to his supporters but this idea that his campaign is fully independent is of course twisted in his benefit.
#2 He is tough
One of his best assets is his ability to victimise himself. He has a long history of suing people, businesses, cities and countries or media outlets. He sued a newspaper, his ex-wife, a Native American Tribe and even the state of New Jersey. He sues to make a point, to regain his sense of control or just for sport. Trump has a habit to sue whenever he feels threatened, small or insufficiently wealthy, making him look like a money-driven and anger-filled character that could be anything but tough.
#3 He tells it like it is
A lot of Trump’s supporters are really keen on his personality and his rhetoric. One thing he can get credit for is his public speaking skills. He knows how to engage with a crowd and he knows what to give people. However, according to PolitiFact, 1% of his statements are deemed to be true and 43% to be false. Truth be told, he doesn’t care what the truth is and his statements and the things he says are just a way to self-indulge and make himself noticed on the political stage. He, at one point, admitted to the New York Times that he doesn’t believe in what he says and everything is just for show. So why does he have that many supporters? Are American people that desperate to change the current views of the state that they would vote for such a person? This has been heavily debated and it is still a mystery in the eyes of political analysts and scholars in the domain.
#4 He inspires success
Well, you might say that his multi-million dollar businesses count for something and that his habit of never missing a chance to remind people that he is successful and rich counts for something. Furthermore, he likes to think that his name and everything he owns and runs inspires money and success as a self-made man. One of the main arguments against this is his multi-million inheritance from his father which helped him set the bases of his empire. Trump states that his name and brand is valued at 3 billion dollars, accounting the fact that his name gives quality to everything he owns or sells. Let’s take a closer look at the facts. His branded products like Trump Magazine, Trump Steaks, Trump Shuttle, Trump Vodka and Trump University have been businesses and initiatives that failed over time. He’s being sued over some of them: Trump University was deemed as a scam of a for-profit university. He even started a mortgage company in 2006, named obviously, Trump Mortgage, which emerged right before the financial crisis of 2008. The bottom line is: he is not really the most reliable person when it comes to businesses and ventures.
#5 He has a clear plan for policies
On some issues, Trump’s campaign has gone through more than a half dozen plans in two months. On top of the fact that he is characterised by his inconsistency and his plain stupid way to engage with policy making, he doesn’t believe in his own plans.
Let’s take the example of the undocumented immigrants living in the US.
- In July 23rd he said “The first thing we have to do is strengthen our borders. And after that, we’re going to have plenty of time to talk about it.”
- “If somebody’s been outstanding, we try and work something out.” This was his statement on the 24th of July. So he said that he will deport the “rapists and the wrong doers” but will try to “work out something so the good ones can stay.”
- His 3rd version is quite similar to his 2nd. “We’re going to do what’s right. Some are going to have to go. And some, we’re just going to see what happens,” July 26th.
- Then again, on July the 27th he wants to deport everyone by saying “But the good ones – of which there are many – I want to expedite so they can come back in legally.”
- Then on July the 29th he was in conversation with CNN which raised the issue of the children of the illegal immigrants. He states, “They’re with their parents? It depends?”
As you can see, in a matter of a week he gave 6 different statements on his stance about the issue. Another essential problem he was evasive about was the tax reform.
- On June the 18th he stated that the best option is to “Simplify it. At a minimum, simplify it.”
- On August 11th, in an interview with CNN he said “You can’t be just boom, boom, hard and fast.”
- His 3rd option was to maybe get rid of the income tax and have a national consumption tax with a “Fair Tax”. “You can have a ‘Fair Tax…’ This was on the same day as his previous statement.
- He suggests in the same interview to keep the income tax, but make it one flat rate for everybody.
- Or maybe don’t change the current system at all and just add things to it. “You can leave the system alone, which is probably the simplest at this point. Leave the system alone and take out deductions and lower taxes and do lots of really good things, leaving the system the way it is.”.
There’s obvious clash of statements in just two of one of the main issues the candidates will need to tackle if they win. He fails to have a persistent view on anything at any point, making this reason flawed and not worthy to take into consideration.
#6 He would make a great president
His main mind-set is to be flexible. He is indeed very flexible, changing his views in a matter of minutes and surprising everyone with statements every day. At the FOX News GOP primary debate he was shown a montage in which moderators showed him changing his opinions about matter such as the Iraq war or the refugee problem. His response:
“I’ve never seen a very successful person who wasn’t flexible. Who didn’t have a certain degree of flexibility? … You have to be flexible. Because you learn.”
Donald Trump, Fox News GOP primary debate
At the end of the day, does anyone want a president who is constantly changing his views based on his mood? His opinions don’t really matter now, and he can be mocked, but what will happen if he manages to gain office? Which one of his political views will he stick to? Do the American people want a president with a stream of broken business ventures who has the support of a white supremacist clan leader, David Duke, and who is often compared to Hitler? I think not.