According to pundits we should all be terrified of Donald Trump or rather the rise of Donald Trump in American politics should frighten us to sufficient degree that we all write columns talking about what a terrible human being Trump is. It is rather surprising to me that so many people across such a vast spectrum of American politics are willing to decry a process that rewards showmen and punishes technocrats. Let’s be clear about who the showmen are in this election. The showmen are Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and Bernie Sanders. Yes, Sanders is a showman; he is a showman who for the last twenty-five years has just happened to make a living in the world of politics. Sanders has always been a showman. Whether it’s on the Senate floor or on a cable news program he grows his following largely by being a contrarian.
Where Sanders makes his living by staking out a progressive position with a populist following and then selling it to a ready audience of dissillusioned voters, Mr. Trump makes his living by demeaning others. He’s like a really angry comedian who spends all his time on stage making fun of his audience. It is true that he is not a nice man. He is a racist and a bigot. He is a mysoginst. He is a narcissist. When I say he’s a narcissist I don’t say that flippantly. If you click the link on the narcissist claim you’ll see that therapists are quite confident that Trump has “Cluster-B Personality Disorder” which is characterized by: “grandiosity; an expectation that others will recognize one’s superiority; a lack of empathy, lack of truthfulness, and the tendency to degrade others.” One psychologist said that: “He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example of his characteristics.” It’s to the point where the website Psychology Today no longer feels that it is an item of debate anymore.
You’d think that the idea of having a President who lacks empathy would scare most normal people. Such a claim however assumes that normal people do their due dilligance before supporting someone for the highest office in the land. As is evidenced by the Presidency of one George W. Bush this is clearly not the case. Voting is more of an emotional investment than an intellectual one. I love Barack Obama. I think he is clearly the greatest President of the 21st century. Republicans disagree, vehemently. Donald Trump really couldn’t disagree more. The contempt that Mr. Trump holds for the President is second only to that of Clint Eastwood as evidenced by this chair, which still sits empty.
Why am I not afraid of Donald Trump? Though it gives me great displeasure to admit it, I place a great deal of trust in math. This is the RealClearPolitics polling average of candidate’s support within the Republican Party:
As you can see, Trump has a ceiling of somewhere around thirty-seven percent. No one is going to win a Presidential Election with only thirty-seven percent support of the party that nominated them for the Presidency. Keep in mind that the nation is about 44-42 Democrat and Republican. That’s what the generic ballot looks like. So, even if one hundred percent of Republicans backed Trump it is still extremely unlikely that he would get the support required to win the Presidency. But, lets say that math is wrong. Let’s say that somewhere between 46-54% of the American electorate will – for the first time in our nation’s history – support a man with zero governing experience at any level. Well, then we actually are in a rather scary place. It’s not that bad though because as President Obama has realized, the Presidency is actually a surprisingly weak office.
All of this may be leaving many of my readers in despair, which I do apologize for, there’s a reason I haven’t talked about Trump’s candidacy until now. The reason you shouldn’t worry about Trump becoming President is because the Constitution was designed basically to prevent the President or Congress from becoming a tyrant. Law is made by Congress and signed off on by the President. Law is interpreted by the Supreme Court. It is true that a Trump victory in November would make the process of governing the country extraordinarily difficult, but it would not be impossible. Consider again, how highly unlikely it is that Trump would be elected because the founders were so terrified of trying to run the country with a man like Trump in power that they created the Electoral College. Talk to George W. Bush about how that can work in your favor.
The much more likely result of the 2016 election is that some semblance of reason will prevail and we will have a President who, for all intents and purposes is a technocrat. The technocrats in this election are Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush and John Kasich. Although it may not seem like it now, historically the person with the most institutional support tends to win the Presidency. If this is true in this election it does become likely that a Republican will win the White House simply because it is very difficult for one party to hold onto the Presidency for more than two terms. Only Reagan-Bush have done it since the twenty-second amendment placing term limits on the Presidency was enacted. That being said Mckinley-Roosevelt-Taft did it before then as did Harding-Coolidge-Hoover as well.
The one thing that does bother me about Trump is that if he is elected President he gets the nuclear codes and that could be an extremely disastorous thing to do because as Mr. Trump has Narcissistic Personality Disorder he lacks empathy for his fellow human beings. On a purely humanitarian level then, Trump is a dangerous proposition as a Presidential candidate. But, as I’ve mentioned before we have so many safeguards in place both within political parties and within our governing bodies and institutions that we could limit the damage of a Donald Trump Presidency.