This is Not the Trump You are Looking For

Early on in this election, my dad was a Trump supporter.  He was tired of politics as usual and decided that he wanted to vote for an "outsider"--someone who speaks from the heart, who isn't burdened by special interests, and who could shake things up.

When shoot from the hip Donald Trump stepped up in the election, he appreciated his style.  Trump ran circles around a really awful field of Republican contenders who didn't know what hit them, gaining popularity with a lot of people who felt the same way.

Over time, though, lines were crossed--lines of common decency.  Trump went from pushing around the Washington elite to pushing around everyone.  The election seemed to fuel his ego and bravado.  Right around the time Trump criticized the Khan family who had lost their military son, my dad had enough.  He realized Trump wasn't someone he wanted representing this country.

I get that feeling of wanting an outsider.  Politicians don't ever seem like they're working for the people anymore--and part of that is because you always feel like you represent "the people".  The truth is, there are a lot of people who don't want what you want, so it's very likely that anyone could ever get elected and fully represent everything you want.

Second,  there's a really unfortunate truth to this country.  It is very hard to get elected President without being an "insider"--either Washington or big business.  Perhaps if we elect another actor like Ronald Reagan (who was also Governor of California), that won't be the case, but for the most part, if you have national name recognition, it's because you were elected to a nationally visible post, or because you have boatloads of money to market yourself.  

Unfortunately, having boatloads of money usually means not everything you do is going to be acceptable to the American public, as we're finding out with Donald Trump. 

Trump has expertly lead his companies in and out of the bankruptcy process multiple times--pulling payments out for himself, leaving lots of creditors and small business people left holding his bag.  It's almost like someone somehow getting out at the bottom of a roller coaster and somehow always getting back on at the time--only around for the good parts but never quite being around for the ones that aren't exciting.  While his companies go up and down, Trump shields himself from the bad parts--sometimes legally, sometimes less so.  

Trump isn't like Elon Musk, Mike Bloomberg, or Sarah Blakely whose wealth comes from the kind of entrepreneurship where companies are created from scratch and money is made off of equity or revenue.  Trump makes "deals" not companies.  He licenses his name, he flips buildings and he signs contracts.  These are ways to make money that really only enrich himself, not lots of working class people.

The other thing about being a Washington "insider" is that while you may owe people some favors, you also know how the system works.  The US Government and the whole international landscape is incredibly complex.  Do you think it would be easy to be President if you didn't understand what ethnic groups are clashing in the Middle East, what they want, and for how long they've been going at it?  Do you think you could understand what to do about China without understanding how their government works, what's allowed and what's not, and how their economy functions?  To be President, you practically need a PhD just to understand the rules of the game.  

Not having this basic understanding is like saying you could play baseball because you could run really fast.  There's way more at stake than that--and Donald Trump has shown time and time again that not only is he unprepared, his ego gets in the way of him even caring to know it.

Not reading the instructions might be funny or cute when you're putting together your kids' toys the night before Christmas, but there's a lot more at stake here.  Trump is woefully underprepared to be President, and he doesn't even care.  

This is where things get scary.  Someone who thinks they can rule through sheer force of will, and not play by at least some rules, might be willing to change the rules to suit his style.  We've already seen evidence of this.  He has disdain for the First Amendment--doesn't want anyone criticizing him.  He doesn't believe in Freedom of the Press either.

If you go back through every single dictator in history, controlling the press and not letting them do their job might as well be the first thing in the dictatorship playbook.  If you're smart, you should be very very wary of anyone who wants to mess with Freedom of the Press.

Look, there are a lot of things wrong with this country.  We have too big of a gap between the rich and the poor.  We have an immigration policy that makes little sense--smart capable people have to wait to get in or can't get in at all, and sure, there are probably some other people who shouldn't be here.  These issues require complex solutions because they are complex problems.  They need intelligences, empathy and thoughtfulness.  

The willingness to tackle problems isn't enough.  You have to do it right and in line with the values this country stands for.  Maybe one day an outsider will shake things up in a good way, but Donald Trump isn't that guy.

If you really want to see an outsider in the White House, I'd start looking now.  Take the time to understand how someone accumulated their wealth or what values underpin their success.  Recruit someone smart, innovative, kind, and empathetic into the position--someone who not only you can respect, but who respects us--who respects what this country is all about.

Donald Trump respects the dollar, mostly when it's in his own pocket.  He's obsessed with recognition and being accepted, because his family used to be a bunch of socialite wannabes from Queens.  That's what this whole thing is about--not about real solutions to real problems.  It's a popularity contest he's been fighting his whole life.

If you like what he has to say, let him say it on a media network that he clearly wants to start, but don't elect him to run a country that he has zero qualification to handle.