Pledges and Promises Trump Style
(VANCOUVER ISLAND) Barring something cataclysmic, it’s now virtually certain that the two presidential candidates vying for the job of most powerful person in the world will be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And, as per tradition, the more bombastic and outrageous of the candidates is doing the home-stretch-pivot. Having attracted hordes of primary voters with his campaign of bigotry and hatred along with promises of brutality to come, Trump is beginning to walk some of his more insane rhetoric back in an effort to tone things down for a broader public than his committed followers.
As an example, having recruited acolytes with his promise to ban all those of the Muslim faith from entry into the US, Trump is now softening his pledge from promised policy to mere “suggestion”.
“We have a serious problem, it’s a temporary ban, it hasn’t been called for yet, nobody’s done it, this is just a suggestion until we find out what’s going on,” said Trump. Upon attempting to look past the hyperbole with which Trump makes all of his campaign promises, it is easy to discern that Trump has no compunction about reversing himself completely. He is now denying and will continue to deny he said things – even when recordings of him saying them exist – and claim that the Trump brand of promises, pledges, and guarantees are merely suggestions trotted out for an airing. One of his strongest points of appeal was his repeated and only partly true claim that he was self-funding his campaign. Even that promise of independence has been tossed out.
Trump assembled his mob of followers by ‘telling it as it is” while lying through his teeth.
The promises he made were deliberately polarising, hate-driven, and frequently impossible to fulfil. He was going to build a huge wall along the Mexican border (“trust me!”). Mexico was going to pay for it. He was going to round up some 11 million people and deport them all and then let them apply for readmission. These absurdities became fundamental planks in what passes for Trump’s platform. What on earth made him suspect that there were enough gullible, vindictive, and not-too-bright losers out there to buy that line of drivel? Well, for one thing, in Nevada as part of his victory speech, Trump said, “I love the poorly educated!” He also pointed out that the poorly educated were the most loyal of people. And as the home stretch pivot gets underway, we can see what he means.
He developed his base of poorly educated, whiny, and latently violent worshipers with his xenophobic nativism and his misogyny with a strong undercurrent of brutality. He made promises to which that demographic could cleave, and he saw that validating redneck vicious stupidity was the way to go. What he knew and pretty much said out loud was that once those imbeciles were on board, they were on board for the duration. “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, ok? It’s, like, incredible.”
So why would we be surprised if, having sewn up the bonehead vote, he swivels and starts to remake himself appealing to those with measurable IQs?
But here’s the thing: without those planks in his platform; sans racism, misogyny, bellicosity, and bigotry, there’s nothing there. He can and will do the pivot; he has even said he can pretend to be “presidential” when the time is right. But when he walks back his promises because the wider audience isn’t buying into the pretense that he can do things that are not possible within the US constitutional framework (religion-based ban, re-introducing torture, and sanctioning the murder of the families of suspected terrorists), or cannot be done logically (round up and deport 11 million people), or realistically (a Mexican financed wall), it is perfectly reasonable to ask just what he’s offering.
So if his actual promises are now mere suggestions and his rhetoric is toned down, all that’s left is his overweening self-aggrandisement. Trump has no discernible policies; everything will be “looked into” after he is elected (“trust me”) and policy will presumably emerge once he has done his homework. So as far as actual policy is concerned, his potential supporters in the general will have to deduce in advance what it is likely to be and decide whether or not to cast their votes in his favour based upon that. And what do they have to go on? Well, certainly not his promises or pledges…they are now “suggestions, remember? No, the voters in November’s general election will have to prognosticate where Trump is going to settle policy-wise based on his – wait for it – character.
Probably more than any previous presidential candidate, we have insight into Donald Trump’s character. He has been in the public eye for some forty years, and for only the last few years has he been contemplating a life of public service. Without having to shape his public persona to fit into the Oval Office, Trump created and then inhabited the bizarre homunculus that is The Donald. He was a media whore from the day he discovered that a mention in the press caused him priapic ecstasy.
And exactly what is the Donald? A buffoon, first of all; a clown. And clearly he takes narcissism to breathtaking new boundaries. A bigot, of course…he and his father were sanctioned for their racist housing policies respecting one of his earliest New York developments, and he has doubled down on that bigotry ever since. His personal life includes the cavalier and disrespectful treatment of his various wives and girlfriends as well as generally oafish treatment of other women. He is also a man of obvious and willful ignorance as can be seen from his refusal to learn even the very basics of foreign policy before declaring himself his own best foreign policy advisor. The list goes on ad nauseum, and frankly it causes me a measure of revulsion just to try to enumerate his most grotesque and hateful characteristics, so I’ll leave it with simply saying etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Now that Trump is the last man standing in the carnival of simplistic posturing that was the Republican primary race of 2016, we can watch the GOP old guard line up to kiss their candidate’s ring. Trump is now being supported and even endorsed by people who have called him unfit for any office, a con-man, a liar, dangerous, and a few other things that are not as complimentary. The GOP will field a candidate who is an avowed liar, a racist, a hypocrite, and dangerous for the country; they have all acknowledged those aspects of Trump’s character for the record. Yet nevertheless, they will get behind him and push this empty sack toward the White House.
It remains to be seen whether the not-so-poorly educated will remember that the GOP is endorsing and fielding Donald Trump on nothing more than his hateful character and the fact that he chose their party for his latest and ultimate exercise in hubristic masturbation.