December 2, 2015 Share

Trump: Make America Great Again, or make Hillary President?

TrumpBy: Tyler Pruett

tyler@southerntorch.com

Last week, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump made his second campaign stop in Alabama. Trump spoke for nearly an hour, reiterating his plans to “make America great again.” The crowd of several thousand supporters seemed to hang on every word, making their enthusiasm known by applauding every statement. This isn’t unique to Alabama; the businessman turned politician has held rallies in most states since announcing his candidacy, without much change in rhetoric. Although many of Trump’s assertions are later proven to be false, he hasn’t experienced any significant decline in poll numbers or number of supporters who attend events. Many political insiders predicted his demise months ago and still assert that he will never secure the nomination. However, with the Iowa caucuses rapidly approaching, many are starting to rethink their assertion. But is this new brand of politics good for the Republican party, and more importantly good for America?

Of course no Trump rally is without controversy, commonly stealing the spotlight from less incendiary candidates, who generally do not spend a good fiftteen minutes referring to opponents and critics as “lightweights” or “dummies.” Such tirades would make headlines if another candidate stooped to that level. Trump has long since surpassed that, making such a headline for him “old news.” While the rest of the field struggles to find media attention for good reasons, the Trump campaign has made it their strategy to retain the spotlight for negative reasons. While it seems counter-productive, this leaves many voters with only exposure to one candidate.

The main focus of this attention from last week’s rally was the treatment of a Black Lives Matter protester. From my personal experiences staffing events during the 2012 Presidential Elections, one of the most frustrating things is having a heckler attempt to shout down a candidate. Several times this resulted in them being asked to leave the premises by staff and security. The reaction from bystanders was to either ignore that individual, or in some cases, start a supportive chant to drown out the protester. Never have I witnessed supporters physically attack or behave in the way this crowd did on Saturday, but nor have I seen a candidate encourage it, saying “get him the hell outta here.” Then Trump doubled down for the national media afterwards, claiming, “he deserved to be roughed up.” Shouting at candidates isn’t how democracy works, but neither is “roughing up” someone who was exercising their freedom of speech.

To state the obvious, the goal of the nomination process is to select the candidate who has the best chance of securing the White House for that party. While Trump may be faring well in this stage of the Republican primary, it’s unlikely that his rhetoric and tactics will have the same results in the general election, when Americans of all stripes will be casting votes. Polling data has shown throughout that Trump’s plans garner very little support from the majority of Americans. Those that do support it agree with the premise, but never question what his plans are to make these ideas into reality, believing that a “President Trump” will get it done. This belief will not suffice when the decision is placed in front of the American population as a whole.

It’s easy to promote grandiose ideas with no plan to make them reality on a debate stage with numerous other candidates, but if he reaches the general election, there will only be two candidates, and he won’t be able to run the clock down with insults. On Saturday, he referred to the likely Democratic nominee as a “lightweight” when it comes to foreign policy. While I believe Hillary Clinton’s performance as Secretary of State could be called abysmal, she’ll look extremely competent on a debate stage with a candidate whose only solution to ISIS is “bomb the hell out of them.” It seems Trump has missed the large amount of ordnance dropped on the Islamic State over the last year, and subsequently overlooked that it’s not achieving the end goal of destroying the growing terrorist state.

I sincerely hope that the Republican primary voters who seek to “make America great again” by voting for Donald Trump trusts Hillary Clinton with achieving that, because if Trump is the best we can nominate, President Clinton will be making the decisions. While she may be a lightweight in most regards, Trump’s arrogant ignorance will make her look like a prizefighter.

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