Is the American electorate so angry with and skeptical of politicians that they would actually elect an untried, untested, unqualified candidate President of the United States? Apparently so, according to the latest polls. This election is closer than I ever imagined and apart from my personal opinion of Donald Trump, we are on a dangerous road. Politics was not designed to be a career choice but has become one in the modern era. It is rooted in law and public policy and there are certain skills necessary to succeed in that world. Yes, it is true that Donald Trump has vanquished 16 other rivals in the Republican primaries and some might point to that as success but they would be woefully mistaken. The campaign for public office is akin to a job interview but just because you get the interview does not mean you will be successful in the job. I think for Trump, the challenge and the fun of it all is getting elected, not the actual governing. As he has said, he loves this country and wants to “make America great again”. I will take him at his word that he loves this country but one must examine why Trump thinks America isn’t great now.
If we examine the populist movements on the left and the right this year, they say similar things but have very different opinions about the solutions. At the root of it all, in my opinion, is the fact that the US government as a whole has been very ineffective for a generation. Polarization of the political ideologies is a big part of the problem and the result is no meaningful legislation has been passed to actually help people. Yes, attempts have been made but by the time a law is passed, it is so watered down and so compromised, that it’s intent is ineffectual. That is why you see politicians who vote for a law in committee vote against it once it gets to the floor of the House or Senate. Then they are accused of flip flopping and their political capital is squandered. Where is my “new deal” and my “great society”? I fear it may never happen again. Bold ideas and innovative thinking with someone with the political muscle to make it happen.
Trump’s refrain of “what do you have to lose” sounds benign enough but in actuality, we have a lot to lose. Being a political leader requires a skill set like any other occupation. A skill set which Mr. Trump does not possess. The danger is if Mr. Trump is elected the government could come to a literal halt. It is clear that he has very few ideas himself and he will resist “government as usual” and very few Republicans or Democrats will work within his narrow range of what he considers public service. If I need my plumbing repaired, I don’t call an electrician. If I need a hotel built, I don’t call a politician. So, if we need to “make America great again” and fix our government, why in the hell are we calling a narcissistic, egotistic, self-absorbed businessman to do the job? That makes me angry and skeptical of our political process.