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Opinion: Republicans/Donald Trump

For my Republican and Republican-leaning friends, what is it about Donald Trump that makes you believe that he has been (and will continue to be) a "good president"? I ask this because not even all Republicans believe this; it seems that only his most ardent supporters believe it, and they will continue to support him regardless of his actions (or maybe because of them). While I can read whatever is being said about him on either side of the ever-widening ideological divide, I'm still unclear about how any of it makes him a good candidate, or a good president.

Those who love Donald Trump boast about his role in producing a thriving economy stoked by tax cuts and deregulation, two conservative Supreme Court appointments, a tough line on immigration and border security, and a combative approach to international affairs and global trade deals. They like that (from their perspective) he continues to say exactly what he thinks, and they immensely enjoy the fury that this incites. In other words, they like that he is a provocateur. And if his statements don't always line up with the facts, they still see him as honest in what is (to them) the more important sense that he is doing the things he said that he would do (at least as they see it) which is a rare enough trait in a politician. Trump's opponents claim that the economy was already on the upswing when he acceded to the office, criticize his foreign and immigration policies as wholly racist, and consider him a low-class mob/thug boss with delusions of grandeur.

To be quite honest, I don't like Donald Trump, and I never have, even before he was president, but my animosity toward the man has more to do with my evaluation of his character as a person (or more to the point, his lack of it) than his policies as an administrator, and for that, I am willing to give him the benefit of my considerable doubt.

To date, the Trump Administration is not covered in glory. His ability to unify people within the country, and act as a leader for our nation is non-existent. Homeland security experts have been critical of the administration's response on just the COVID-19 crisis alone on many fronts ranging from failure to prepare a comprehensive testing regime to refusing to use the powers of the federal government to coordinate state-by-state responses. He has done a monumental disservice to American territories (e.g., Puerto Rico, which is neither a state nor an independent country, and therefore cannot fend for itself), and has recently stated that he will not send help to Michigan, currently in the throes of a flood crisis on top of the pandemic, simply because he does not support "mail-in voting". His personal foibles are well documented, and his hypocrisy is largely evident when he cites allegations of sexual misconduct against his opponent (Joe Biden) when his own similar misconduct has been widely paraded - with associated fanfare - through the media. But I would like to point out one particular item: he has called himself a "stable genius", and yet shows none of the characteristics of either. And yes, I know the characteristics of 'genius' quite well; 'stable' is another matter entirely.

Most people, including a growing number of Republicans, recognize that Trump is not - and never was - an ideological Republican; he is an opportunistic one. He has embraced the core of the Republican Party as a path to power, and because he created a conduit to industry deregulation and to the appointment of Federalist Society-vetted judges, the GOP reluctantly embraced back. And despite the distractions of Russia-gate and the impeachment turning him into a villain for the left and a hero-by-default for the right, he has remained in the game only for himself. Trump will lead the charge against the enemy-of-the-moment, or at least take credit for not standing in the way.

For those of my friends who are NOT Republican or Republican-leaning voters, here are some of the general ideas that Republicans believe (and Republicans, please feel free to correct me if I am wrong on any of these topics). Republicans, as a general rule, favor economic conservatism expressed in their support of lower taxes, free market capitalism, deregulation of corporations, and restrictions on labor unions. The party is also socially conservative, supportive of gun rights and other so-called "traditional" social values (most of which have a Christian-faith-based foundation), including restrictions on abortion. With foreign policy, Republicans usually favor increased military spending and unilateral action against foreign enemies. Some Republican beliefs also include restrictions on immigration, opposition to drug legalization, and support for school choice.

Evaluating the man based on "the content of his character" is something altogether different. Donald Trump seems to embody the ideals of the mid-20th century 'man of personality' instead of a 'man of character'. A man of character, it is said, emphasizes what a man is and therefore what he does, while a man of personality concentrates instead on what others think he is and does. This concept is a key part of Dale Carnegie's 1936 book "How to Win Friends and Influence People". The book focuses on how to get people to like you, on how to get others to 'perceive well of you' instead of actually trying to improve any part of your inner self. And that, I think, is the key to Donald Trump's appeal; his supporters still think that he's a good person despite all of the supposed evidence to the contrary. (Either that, or they simply enjoy the voyeurism of seeing him pick fights; choose for yourself.) This is also the core of my animosity toward the man - my personal belief that he is "all personality and no character".

In contrast to this, I offer the Libertarian candidate for president, Dr. Jo Jorgensen. Dr. Jorgensen holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Clemson University, and has taught there full time since 2006. If you want a "stable genius", then she clearly meets the qualification. With the noted exceptions of restrictions on abortion and restrictions on labor unions (neither of which she seem to have an official position on yet), Dr. Jorgensen has outlined her positions on most of the previously-stated Republican topics, and I believe that some of them would easily mesh with whatever you believe on them. But see for yourself at JoJ2020.com.

But if you still believe that Donald Trump would make a better president if given a second term, then by all means, cast your vote for him, but caveat emptor because, as the saying goes, "you get what you pay for".

Committee to Elect Darren Hamilton
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