Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Should We Take Trump Seriously?

Quick answer - no.

Long answer - the election is so far away that any polls taken now have more to do with name recognition than preference. Most of the Republican candidates are governors who are not know outside their state. If Trump is still leading in the polls in ten months, then it is time to take him seriously.

Consider how far away the election is and how much can happen in that amount of time. Howard Dean finished 2003 with the largest campaign treasury and was considered a shoe-in for the candidacy. At this point in 2007 it was assumed that the election would be between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. Even in 2008, the Super Tuesday primaries left Clinton ahead. at various points in 1992, Ross Perot was ahead in the polls.

Then there is Trump himself. He has been on all sides of the issues over the years. At times he has praised Obama and criticized Reagan. He was for universal coverage before he was against it. His views on abortion are still confused. There is the fear that the positions he holds now are ones that will impress conservative Republicans and do not represent his real views.

His personal life is a mess.

Many of Obama's problems come from his total lack of experience - he spent half of his four years in the Senate campaigning. Trump has no experience in government.

Obama's arrogance also causes him problems. He was reported to say how difficult it is filling such jobs as chief of staff and political adviser since no one could do these jobs as well as he could. Trump makes Obama seem shy and retiring.

The biggest argument in Trump's favor is that a businessman might handle running the government better than politicians. Ross Perot ran on this argument and lost. What is more, Perot had a better record of success than Trump. Several of Trump's projects turned out badly. His casinos have gone into Chapter 11 twice and at one point Trump was $900 million dollars in debt. He claims to be worth more than $2 billion but other sources have put the figure much lower. The most successful enterprises with Trump's name are ones that he was not involved with beyond licensing his name.

There is nothing in Trump's history to suggest that he would make a competent president and many of his statements on foreign policy are outright scary.

So why are we even talking about him? I am because the Washington Post ran multiple columns on him yesterday. The Post and other news outlets want an early start to election coverage because they think it will sell more papers.

No comments: