By in large, I have great respect for the political press. Many, if not most, are hard working individuals who are very good at discerning the truth and calling b.s. when they hear it. Throughout this political process of 2016, the press has never been quite sure what to make of Donald Trump, the republican nominee for President. Part of that equation is the fact that Donald Trump is like no other candidate they have ever covered. The other part of that equation is the fact that Mr. Trump has no track record in politics or public service. None. Donald Trump is the only man to run for President since World War II who has no record of public service and has never held elected office. Some may argue that Eisenhower had never held elected office either but he had a record of public service to this country dating back some 40 years.
Why does this matter? It matters because as a private citizen your opinions are just that, your opinions. You never have to go on the record publicly and you can change your opinions without consequence. For politicians, their opinions, in the form of votes on public policy are a matter of public record and voters can then decide where a candidates moral compass is and predict what their stance on issues might be.
Within the past 24 hours, I have heard two Trump surrogates make statements that startled me. The first was by Kayleigh McEneny on CNN when the question came up about hiring Steve Bannon of Breitbart news as CEO of the Trump campaign. She said that Bannon was hired because he is in a position to help Trump win. She then went on to say that they (the Trump campaign) would reach out to anyone who could help them win. Extrapolate this and what she means is that the Trump campaign is prepared to hire anyone and say anything to win this election. Winning is everything. It’s not about serving the public, nor about instituting thoughtful public policy to help Americans, it’s about winning.
The second statement was from Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager in her interview with MSNBC’s Rachael Madow. Conway said she would rather lose the election based on style than on substance. I was so shocked I had to watch it again. Style rather than substance. Think about that for a beat. I wrote in this blog last week, “that a true leader does not fear defeat as long as their moral compass is in tact and that they are defeated on principal and not personality.” Politics is not a game show. It deals with issues that affects real people and their lives and their families. Our government works and has worked for two centuries because noble people feel the need to get involved and to put their own interests aside and serve the public good. The office of the Presidency has become such a high profile position and those who serve tend to do alright in private life after the fact. That is not their fault and that is not why they devote their lives to government service.
The problem here is twofold. Trump really has no idea whatsoever what the meaning of public service is and only sees the power and the prestige and, yes, the money that is attached to being the most powerful person in the world. The second problem is Donald Trump does not have a moral compass or a deeply held set of core beliefs. He tends to change positions depending on who is whispering in his ear at the time or what group he is speaking to. Without that record of public service, we cannot be sure how he will come down on any given issue. I suppose it will depend on which way the wind is blowing that day. This is why when Trump aligns himself, even tacitly, with fringes of the far far right wing of the republican party, the press goes ape shit and the electorate should be very wary of the influences acting on candidate Trump.