After wondering for over a year, how anyone could possibly take Donald Trump seriously as a Presidential candidate, he demonstrated for 100 million viewers last night why that question begs to be asked. He grimaced, he pouted, he sniffed, he sighed, and he drank a lot of water. Then it was his turn to speak. One lie followed another, then another ad infinitum. He showed no signs of ever having been taught basic manners, like not interrupting when someone else is speaking and shaking hands with the moderator at end of the debate.
The Donald Trump we saw in the debate is the Donald Trump that has had me and many others wondering who are the people who support this racist egomaniac in his quest to be elected President of the United States. Who are the people who think it’s okay to deny making statements when there is video, twitter and all other forms of evidence that prove the statements were made? Who are the people who think that it’s okay to be the only Presidential candidate since 1980 who refuses to release his tax returns and, when asked why, spews a litany of child-like attempts to change the subject? Who are the people who think it’s okay to refuse to pay for completed work by employees and contractors? Trump’s performance in the first debate exacerbated the fear and concern raised by these and many other absurd Trump realities and by the intellectual numbness of people who support his inanity.
As explanation for supporting Trump’s candidacy, I’ve read and heard a variety of reasons: “We need a change.” “He’s a successful businessman.” He’s not a Washington politician.” Change is sometimes good and sometimes disastrous. Given all of Trump’s problems, many of which would have long ago disqualified any other Presidential candidate — especially Hillary– it’s difficult to imagine that anyone would think a change that would put Trump in the Oval Office would fall in the former category. And, as far as needing a businessman to run the country (the “successful” part is in doubt, given the absence of the tax returns), businesses are run to make profits for owners and shareholders. Governments are run for the general good of their citizens. Putting a man who has done nothing but labor for his own enrichment in charge of one of the largest governments in the world is both dangerous and (here’s that word again) absurd.
In regard to Trump not being a Washington politician, I can understand the attraction there. But, in my long (67-year) lifetime, we haven’t had a President with no government leadership experience at all, whether as Vice-President, Senator, Governor, or General. There are some very basic realities about government that we should want a Presidential candidate to have some experience with. Some that come immediately to mind are budgeting for the general good (as opposed to for profit), separation of powers (where each branch’s authority begins and ends), how those powers interact with each other, and scores of other constitutional realities. These are realities unique to government and have no correlation in private business. For example, in the recent Commander-in-Chief Forum, Trump seemed to think that he can hire and fire Generals at will. He said he likes Generals, “…but not the ones Obama has.”
Not only does Trump not seem to understand these basic realities, but he doesn’t even seem to know they exist. It’s doubtful that the large majority of his supporters know they exist either. And what’s frightening is that even though Trump and his supporters aren’t aware of their ignorance of government leadership, those who seek to damage or destroy our country are well aware of his shortcomings. He tweets them out on a daily basis for all the world to see. Which leads us back to last night’s debate and a performance that rekindles dire fears for the safety of our country should the Buffoon who delivered that wretched performance on the debate stage be elected President of the United States.