Monday, May 2, 2011

Donald Trump as a Republican Candidate

Of course, he's mildly creepy and he has weird hair, but if I had to choose among Republican candidates for president in case Obama loses (which today seems less probable than yesterday), I'd choose Trump. The reason why I think he'd be better than all the other candidates from that party is that he is not a religious fanatic. Better yet, after all the divorce proceedings, casinos and TV shows, he will not be able to sell himself as a religious fanatic. I believe that there is nothing scarier in the world today that religious fanatics of any persuasion.

Religious fanaticism today is a symptom of not being able to accept contemporary reality. The hysteria of religious fanatics betrays how confused and lost they are in the world they simply don't get. Learning to live with the new and constantly changing realities is an impossible proposition for them, so they'd rather the whole planet went to hell in a basket.

Trump is obviously not one of these folks. He is the exact opposite. He has found a way to manipulate the existing realities to his own advantage and turn them into opportunities. This is a person who thrives and flourishes in today's world. I don't see him buying into the fundamentalist propaganda, not even to win an election.

This is a big country with a huge variety of opinion (I think I deserve the right to an occasional platitude, especially on a Monday). If there is a Progressive movement, there has to be a Conservative counterpart. "Audiatur et altera pars" is a principle that I hold near and dear. For the longest time, I've been hoping to hear what the Conservative discourse in this country is. However, the Conservative movement in the US has been hijacked by a minority of crazed fundamentalists. There must be intelligent, non-hysterical, educated Conservatives who don't evoke Jesus, sin and evil every fifteen minutes and who are as comfortable with today's realities as we are. A candidate like Trump could help such people take back the party. This would be the kind of a Republican party that I would still not support, but at least I'd be able to respect it. Difference of opinion is a great thing, and it's precisely that which no religious fanaticism can allow to exist. I'm a lot more comfortable with (mind you, not happy about but comfortable with) an administrator who asks me to demonstrate how my existence is profitable to the university than the one who requires that I demonstrate how the teachings of Jesus will be integrated into my course on Spanish grammar (a true story).

"But he is a ruthless capitalist who will walk over everybody and everything in search for a profit margin," people say. That he is. And for many people this is what this entire country is about: being able to do whatever is needed to become rich and assume the risk of failure. A Democrat in office is supposed to make sure that we have some protections in place in case we fail. A Republican's job is to remove such protections based on a belief that this will make us try harder to win the competition. One can dislike this position but at least it's based on reason and not on hysterical fanaticism. 

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Rimi said...

As an economic anthropologist, I'm compelled to say that Trump's favoured libertarian position of no regulations *is* hysterical fanaticism. Here merely takes it outside the churches, mosques, temples and synagogues.

Clarissa said...

Did God tell him to do whatever it is he does? If not, then it isn't religious fanaticism. You can't argue with God, but you can with everything else.

Rimi said...

Which is why I didn't say it was religious fanaticism, you'll notice. I said it is hysterical fanaticism, and specified that it has been taken out of religious instituons.

Anonymous said...

I disagree.
Trump went from "random blowhard billionaire" for me to "lying racist dipshit propped by multiple bankruptcy filings" with all of his birtherism. I neither know nor care what's in his heart, but anybody who espouses birtherism is personally dangerous to me and mine.

Birtherism, while not religious in nature, is an indication of an inability accept contemporary reality -- the reality that there is a 14th amendment, that people can get citizenship from their mother, and that a black person is qualified to run for President, and that citizens who are not white are an increasing percentage of the population that votes. A birther is someone who hears/knows all of that and sticks their fingers in their ears, screaming, "La la la la la."

If my choices are between Obama, the Republican candidate, and some other third party, I'm probably voting for a third party I like. It literally won't matter, since I'm in a solidly Republican state.

J. said...

But...would he manipulate the existing reality to the nation's advantage, or to his own?

I suspect the latter.

I would not vote for him, mostly for that reason. I don't think GWB was a religious fanatic, I think he (or Cheney, more likely) used the fanatacism of a few to manipulate the existing reality into something that would just give him more power. And I think Trump manipulated the birther hysteria for the same reason.

I think Trump is a putz, actually. Another reason not to vote for him, though not a very scientific one.

Clarissa said...

I think GWB was definitely a fanatic. I know that many people would disagree, but i believe he genuinely believed he had a mission that God entrusted him to complete. And that's terrifying.

A putz is the right definition for Trump. :-)

Tim said...

Hmm, at first you argument that Trump will not be able to sell himself as religious zealot because he is realistically way beyond that and will thus not be able to lead the US with all the fanatics behind him.

But then you go on to explain that exactly those fanatics are people who don't accept reality and instead paint their own world with a box of crayons.

If that is true, then I think your hope is forlorn.