I don’t think Trump gets the credit he’s due from his detractors, or his supporters for that matter.
I think he shows remarkably inherent political instinct, which – coupled with intellectual honesty – is the stuff great agents for reform are made of.
His supporters like what he’s saying and doing, but may not fully grasp or appreciate just how adept and nimble he is.
His detractors will often note his changed positions, lack of knowledge and/or past support of Democrats.
A few thoughts on each:
1). History of changed positions: I’m 38 yrs old and have changed my mind many times on many issues. Most people have. I don’t need or want a litmus test or checklist to make my mind up for me, and on the social issues…conservatives should be promoting change culturally rather than legislatively anyway. For example: Yes we can outlaw abortion, but better to challenge the left in a way that forces them to publicly acknowledge that it’s not cool, it’s not responsible, it does cause trauma to those who do it, and to ultimately give it the stigma it deserves. As it stands now, we’re trying to outlaw it and they’re trying to destigmatize it. Who do you think will come out on top if we outlaw what they’re on the cusp of saying is “Super cool!”…? Like many other social issues, we need to assert evolution culturally rather than simply endorsing legal action to really inspire the kind of difference our conservative values are capable of delivering. Doing so is both politically expedient and also a conduit to effecting substantive, lasting change.
2). Requisite knowledge: It’s disingenuous-bordering-wasteful that we expect a POTUS to be all knowing on all things at all times. Heck I still don’t know the subject matter of Hewitt’s questioning and I’d bet good money that many others, including his most amplified detractors, didn’t either. Throw 5 other items just like that on the table and I’d still give Trump latitude. Great leaders are great Managers and great Managers lean on great people. For a POTUS those people are called a Cabinet, and I believe Trump would put together a great one.
3). Democrat donations, friendships etc: If you’re paying enough attention to know who else is in the race besides Donald Trump, then you know it’s an absolute truth that outside donors get an inside seat in many political circles. And you know that’s part of the problem. So along comes someone who will say out loud, “Yep. I totally paid them off to hopefully earn their favor. But I know that’s not how our system should work, and that stuff won’t work on me, and oh yeah by the way I fully intend to fix that system everyone knows is so corruptible and I’ve worked inside of” — he sets the whole place on fire by looking at the camera and saying this out loud (of course I paraphrased), and the inclination of some is to dismiss him for it?
I believe Donald Trump may have entered the race for exactly the reasons many thought he would: Some visibility, branding, maybe some fun…plenty on the periphery but maybe not as focused and dedicated to actually winning as he is now.
I believe the source of that focus and dedication happened in the aftermath of his launch speech. There he was, stream-of-consciousness Donald Trump…saying a few words about what he knows is wrong in the nation. But because he didn’t parse 50 or so of his many thousands of words carefully enough, he became public enemy #1 to not only the enormously amplified institutional left (mainstream media, Hollywood, academia), but to the establishment GOP and its allies in the media as well.
Nothing in 2015 America precludes progress more than intellectual dishonesty.
For asserting intellectual honesty, Trump was attacked dishonestly. Yes, it happens all the time in politics…but the difference is that Trump took it very personally and refused to back down. People all over the media map were talking about how Donald Trump said “All Mexicans are rapists!” and, soon thereafter, “All POWs are losers!”
Let me be very clear: Anyone who thinks Donald Trump believes all Mexicans are rapists and/or all POWs are losers…are all idiots. And anyone who said that’s what he meant, is a liar.
I’m sick of liars.
I believe a lot of other people are, too.
I believe today Trump is running with the same ferocity many of us on both sides have at the feet of a ruling class of politicians and media who refuse to tell us the truth. Only unlike most of us, Donald Trump has never lived at their feet. And I believe Trump is dedicated to both winning and integrity in tremendous measures that may not have existed when he initially launched, and that he’s more than capable of Presiding as well as anyone else in the field and perhaps even better…a conclusion none of us can predict and that – if we’re being intellectually honest – we’d admit only time will tell, should he be elected.
As things are now…if Trump, Cruz, Carson or Fiorina get the nod, I’m happy. And yes, like many who oppose Trump, I’m with you: I too could do without many of his diehard supporters. Two words too often come to mind that should never come together: Blindfolds & pitchforks. But that is the result so many analyze as Trump’s popularity being a function of “anger” in the electorate.
The broader reason for Trump’s success is because, as we all know, honesty is the best policy…and Donald Trump has unapologetically made it his foremost one in many ways that many were people were starved for.
We also just saw a poll showing that Trump received 25% of votes from Americans who happen to be black, more than doubling anything the GOP has seen in a long time. It’s very possible he moves this nation forward in ways many of us didn’t realize were so expeditiously possible.
I understand the establishment GOP’s aversion to Trump, but it’s his conservative attackers – specifically those amplified in new media – who confound me. I agree we have a great field this cycle. I respectfully disagree that Donald Trump isn’t very much part of that, or that he lacks the capacity to be a great President if elected.