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I’ve been a progressive (probably a radical) liberal my entire adult life supporting candidates such as Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, etc. When Trump announced his run for president, I laughed. As he grew in the Republican primary polls over the summer and I caught his insane sound bites, I just ignored it, figuring he’d self-implode. As we quickly got to the middle of November and he continued to lead, I thought, I better look into what’s going on.
I watched a dozen of his rallies on YouTube and was appalled by the demagoguery. I called his supporters “total idiots” which most are. My mind went to, like many of us: “This guy is a dictator in the making and must be stopped!”
Then I thought: What’s our alternative?
Of course, all progressive liberals want Bernie Sanders, but it’s not going to happen with the political discourse now shifted from economic-inequality to national security and immigration.
Hillary is getting the democratic nomination. And if she wins the presidency, it’s going to be politics as usual. Lip service, promises of progress, but nothing much will change.
Why I think we take the gamble on Trump.
1) He’s highly skilled
If you think Trump is an idiot, study him more. He’s a masterful manipulator. What some call political gaffes are actually strategic moves to destroy his opposition. He’s turned the media into the Politically Correct Police. “You can’t say that! You need to apologize!” “He’s not acting presidential!” And who really likes political correctness? What does it accomplish? He’s destroyed some of his fellow candidates with simple words. Ben Carson is “nice.” Jeb Bush: “Low energy.”
Is he wrong? I don’t think so. Do we need a nice president? Of course, we want him to be nice at times. But we also need somebody who isn’t nice at times. Jeb is low energy. Something a president should never be.
Like his approach or not, he’s currently proving he can be highly effective based on skill, not how much corporate money he has behind him or the biased support of the corporate media machine.
2) He can control the idiots
His negative comments on Muslims, Hispanics, women, etc. I highly doubt truly reflect how he really feels. Instead, I believe he has been rallying the base of idiots which are essential to his winning. They react to emotion and simplicity. Not intellect and nuance. He’s manipulating their minds to support him absolutely and, by doing so, I believe he will keep them docile and be able to mobilize them as needed.
The idiots are always under some powerful group’s control. I think Trump will be better at managing their thoughts and actions than the Christian right and Koch brothers have been.
Let’s face it. They’re not educable and they’re going to remain idiots until they die.
After he’s president, I believe he could, for example, say, “We need to stop climate change if we all want to get rich” and they’d chant: “Stop climate change so we can all get rich!”
3) He has experience
He has worked in politics despite critics saying he hasn’t. Not in the executive, legislative or judicial branches, but in our fourth branch – corporate.
He knows exactly how government and world politics work and he’ll be able to hit the ground running. Plus, like all successful business people know, the better the people you employ, the better the results. He’ll have great advisors. He won’t surround himself around people he owes favors. And even better than political experience, he has political skill. Some of our politicians might have a lifetime of experience, but they have NO SKILL.
Didn’t we say Obama was qualified because he had been a great community organizer? Compare that to Trump’s list of accomplishments whether you like them or not.
People cite his bankruptcies as negative. But many bankruptcies are strategic to survival. And he survived them and thrived.
By the way, I don’t even care that his daddy gave him the money to get his business going. Who cares? He did something with it. It’s easy to say you could too, but could you?
4) He’s beholden to no special interests
I honestly believe he cares about making America prosper, not allowing just America’s elite to prosper. He wants to stop the exportation of manufacturing jobs to China, Mexico, etc, and I think he’ll make a measurable difference. Every politician says they’ll provide good jobs and stop outsourcing, yet nothing changes.
If people have good jobs, our country is a better place, less drug problems, less crime and economic-inequality will shrink.
5) He may bring about peace
Trump is on record for being against the Iraq war before it started because he knew it would create instability in the Middle East and lead to blowback.
That has happened. Now we have a big problem. I’ve always been of the mindset that war is never the answer.
But war is going to happen whether we like it or not. After the Paris terrorist attacks, bombing started the next day.
Trump says he’ll bomb the crap out of them. We object to his blunt language, but isn’t that what’s going to happen anyway?
Of course, we should let the Middle East duke out their own problems. But it’s too late for that.
I think he truly wants peace and his version of keeping the peace will probably be extreme military threat, hard negotiating and, yes, initially bombing the crap out of ISIS, but I think he’ll work toward peace whereas with any other candidate corporate interests will remain in charge dictating more disaster capitalism.
What I want peace to really look like just isn’t ever going to happen. Too many different beliefs and competing forces and we’re a bunch of territorial apes. We need to settle for a less idealistic form.
6) He may make environmental progress
Yes, Trump has a history of being a climate denier. But is he really? I doubt it. Most smart businessmen know a healthy environment is essential to a successful long-term business. He’s going to want to preserve business in the world because the man loves it.
At least most of the things he creates are quality even if ostentatious. You don’t see him putting in sprawling subdivisions surrounded by cheap, ugly strip malls. And I realize the environmental damage his Scotland golf course created (all golf courses are horrible for the environment), but the man is committed to quality.
Quality is good for the environment because it lasts. It’s a reason why I wear Patagonia versus economy fashions (fast fashion).
Imagine if Donald Trump brought high standards to real estate development? Could we have buildings we care about instead of the homogenous sprawl we currently have? Development will always disrupt the environment in some way, but the higher the standards and quality, the better it will be environmentally.
I don’t know why he’s denied climate change as being man made, but I think he’s going be pro-environment for very different reasons than we’ve seen.
What are your current politicians doing for the environment, really? We’ve had some good legislation with past politicians. Frank Church, Jimmy Carter, even, *gasp* Richard Nixon. But these days? It’s hard to find anything of real significance happening especially compared to the seriousness of the situation. Environmental groups, many of which I used to support, are mostly toothless fundraising organizations.
7) He’ll unite
He’s running as a Republican, but he’s an Independent. He’s currently destroying the Republican party (isn’t it fun to watch?) and I think he’ll pave the way for a no party system. Or, at least, stop the stranglehold of the two party system by letting us have multiple.
But imagine if we had no divisive party lines? All of the sudden we’re the American electorate. Not Republicans and Democrats?
If Donald wins, both parties are going to look silly and useless as they truly are and people are going to want more non-politician Independents. Professional politicians have their positives, but it’s time to try something different.
8) He’ll fix immigration
I’m sick of immigration being used as a political tool and instead of talking about it, maybe it’s time to do something. I’ve never been a fan of building a wall. But if Trump can get Mexico to pay for this wall and he builds it right, screw it, build the wall.
The idiots will cheer. They’ll feel like they won.
Maybe a wall will be effective. I don’t know. But, okay, I will get on board with stopping illegal immigration and supporting legal immigration.
Maybe he’s right. We can be more selective of who we let in. Canada has pretty high standards.
I know there are animal migratory issues with the wall and other negative consequences, but screw it. Put it up.
Refugees. We need to help people. Diversity makes for a better culture. And just imagine if you were stuck in some of these hell holes fearing for you life? You’d want help. Muslims should not be in a database, but okay, let’s do background checks and have the right standards.
His Muslim database comments, again, I feel were to appeal to the idiots. It’s not going to happen.
9) Entertainment value
We’re an entertainment-obsessed culture. Deny it all you want: you’d rather watch Breaking Bad than read heady literary fiction.
Donald will give us entertainment almost daily and we’ll tune in to watch the non-stop reality TV show. And, the added benefit, we’re not only going to be entertained, we’re going to be keeping up with domestic and international politics thanks to a highly entertaining and charismatic president.
Our current politics are absolutely no fun to follow. They’re maddening.
10) He’s going to win anyway
He’ll win the Republican nomination and he’ll defeat Hillary Clinton. She intelligent, conventionally articulate, has the right resume and will have the press behind her, but he’s a different animal operating in a different dimension. He’s going to eat her piece by piece.
He’ll get nearly all Republican supporters once he’s their nominee (they hate Hillary and will never vote for her) and then he will slowly attract many Independents.
And, I believe, he’ll get the truly progressive vote once they see he’s a gamble worth taking, the only real hopeful option we have, as crazy as that sounds. They’ll rather watch the Trump experiment then stay on this road to nowhere.
Hillary will get votes from limousine liberals and women who vote only on the sex of the candidate and whoever else fits easily into her camp.
And one bonus reason…
11) Even if he becomes an absolute disastrous president, it’s positive
We are in a slow environmental and societal collapse. From super droughts to mass animal extinction. If Trump goes full evil, which I don’t think he will, he’ll drive us to full collapse faster and we can get closer to the business of maybe finding a way to positively rebuild.
You often gotta hit bottom before you change, right?
Bottom line: He’s shaking things up and even if he turns out to be terrible, I think our current politics and our other options are terrible. He has the power to redefine American politics and possibly give us a chance to make our politics vital, engaging and important. Donald Trump, believe it or not, just may be what a modern day progressive looks like.
Eric Jones has written for no major publications. This is his first opinion piece.