Super Tuesday and the “Cult of Trump”

Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking of voting for Donald Trump on Super Tuesday. I posted this on Facebook a few weeks ago.

Trump enthusiasts shouldn’t go along with everything he says or does just because it has shock value. Do you disagree? This isn’t a game or one of Trump’s “beauty pageants” where he should be able to “strut the runway” without accountability. His supporters, especially, have the opportunity and the responsibility to hold him accountable. That’s the most significant contribution you can make, as an individual, in this election—compel your candidate to face the music, whatever it is, whatever it’s source. Wouldn’t you like to know what he’s really made of, and who he is behind the bluster?

No one denies that Trump is full of bluster. That’s what many like about him. So let’s include that in the mix, for argument’s sake. A voter who’s mad about what’s going on may like the sound of Trump’s brass. But is bluster all that matters to Trump fans? Is that all it takes to convince them that he’s The Man? What about substance? Talking tough without showing courage is revealing. Do you disagree?

Wouldn’t you like to know how Trump would hold up under the most intense scrutiny? I know I would, no matter what candidate in any election.

Here’s something to consider. Donald Trump may be the ultimate “insider.” This possibility should not be taken lightly, since it contradicts what his fans would like to think about him. He’s master of the sound byte. He makes big promises to woo conservatives, but without a conservative track record. He’s an opportunist, something he tacitly admits when he says he “gets along with everybody.” This is code for, “I can buy whoever I want to get whatever I want.” That’s what I’ve done (“had to do”) as a business man. How about this? He’s paying His own way for his campaign, right? So he’s buying your vote. He hopes it will get him what he wants. (And he criticizes fellow candidates for depending on the support of others who raise money for them. The implication is that you aren’t a worthy candidate for the presidency unless you’re a billionaire. That’s a convenient way to narrow the field!)

Talking so glibly about getting along with everybody “to get things done” is Trump’s diversionary way of explaining his generous donations to liberal politicians and liberal causes. He did it to get something out of it. He admits it. Fine. Maybe that has gotten him where he is as a business man. But should it qualify him for the presidency? Should it even qualify him as a man of integrity in the world of business? At the very least, this is a question worth asking. A man of integrity in the world of commerce would want you to know such a thing.

In any case, Trump has made deals with insiders to get where he is. That makes him an insider. But is that what you want?

Trump supporters, how do you know Trump isn’t selling you a bill of goods to get what he wants? How do you know he’s being honest about what he wants? Hasn’t he proven that he’s an arch manipulator? Ask yourself, is there any evidence for that?

I understand people want an activist, someone who will “get things done.” I also understand people wanting what Trump promises. And I understand the temptation to think he’ll get it done because of his track record as a corporate kingpin. But will he be your friend after he wins and has no use for you any more? When he’s done with people who get him what he wants, he’s been known for throwing them under the bus. (How does he feel about Hillary now?) This is Trump’s M.O. But isn’t that what has turned you off about other candidates? So why give him a pass?

(Did you catch what Trump said when he was asked why he gave to the Clinton Foundation, which was using their finds dishonestly? He said he didn’t know how they were using their money. Do you believe that? He wrote the book on the art of the deal. No prudent donor would give to an organization without scrutinizing their practices. A responsible donor investigates an organization that asks for money. He has to be convinced that his money will be handled responsibly. So either Trump did not exercise due diligence or he knew more than what he wants you to know he knew. If he knew, then he’s been dishonest with you (to keep your vote). If he didn’t know, then he’s not as savvy as he says he is (and he hopes you won’t consider that possibility, again, so he can keep your vote). Hasn’t Trump admitted, in a sly sort of way, either that he didn’t act wisely, or that he knew all along and didn’t care? You be the judge. But it’s a good question, don’t you think?)

How do we know this is Trump’s M.O.? Have you read his book? Have you ever wondered how he made his billions? Have you watched his campaign strategy closely and his media appearances? One day he likes Fox. The next day he despises them. One day he’s devoted to the Republican Party and willing to accept the results of the nominating process. The next day he’s threatening to go his own way if “he isn’t treated right.” One day he wants to please you, the avid supporter, the next day . . . .

Trump supporters, do you have such admiration for Donald Trump that you would like to be the kind of person he is? How about this: Would you like your children to emulate him? If you reflect unqualified zeal for Trump in your home, aren’t you representing him as a role model to your children? How do you feel about that? Do you want to teach your children that getting ahead is the main thing to shoot for, and that this end justifies any means? (Can you convince me that’s not the way Trump operates? Again, have you read his book?)

And has it occurred to you that maybe you’ve accepted the relativism of the age, and bought the same line: “The end justifies the means.” Have you decided that a vote for Trump, whatever reservations you have about his character and reliability, is the means that is justified by your desire to “Make America Great Again”? Is this the right way to do that? In other words, do YOU believe the end justifies the means?

Is it possible that you’re making an emotional decision about something that requires rational deliberation? Is it possible that the way you justify your choice of a candidate is no different than what drives those you consider mindless zealots for Obama? Do you believe that Obama fans have abandoned the tools of critical reasoning? Can you honestly say you’re different?

If you think you’re different, a model of critical thinking and rational deliberation, how do you convince others that you are? How many of his other supporters are being properly critical in their support? Does Donald Trump want you to reflect carefully and examine his detailed arguments for his proposals? (Right now you should be wondering, “What arguments?”) Is it just possible that Trump is counting on an emotional frenzy to get you jazzed up and wired to vote for him?

Have you joined the cult of Trump? Or is there something different about your support for him, compared with all the others out there that you know are not exercising due diligence?

Advertisements

About Doug Geivett
University Professor; PhD in philosophy; author; conference speaker. Hobbies include motorcycling, travel, kayaking, sailing.

2 Responses to Super Tuesday and the “Cult of Trump”

  1. Doug Geivett says:

    Thanks for your very thoughtful reflections. I concur with much of what you say.

    Like

  2. Mark says:

    >> Trump enthusiasts shouldn’t go along with everything he says or does just because it has shock value.

    This. You know, in the 90’s I saw a tape of WF Buckley discussing Jerry Brown, I suppose either his 76 or 80 run for president. It was funny so I recall it well all these years later. He said many of his votes were an “up yours” vote. The sentiment was “I’m voting for Brown and see what you can do about it.” Maybe the same thing is going on here on a wider scale.

    I also think of Ross Perot’s run in 92. I remember it well because I’m a political junkie and I worked for his company at the time after he’d sold it to GM. I always thought he was something of a nut, though a good businessman. He made his money with government contracts, which is fine, but why people thought that would translate into success in any other area I never saw. Especially with his arrogant and prickly temperament. But I know people that voted for him saying “he gets things done”. Some thing businessmen that attain a certain level of success can do anything, or at least better than anyone else. It’s crazy, but I think that’s what people think. Perhaps nothing more than wish fulfillment.

    I feel sheepish now because I was one of the ones who thought the Trump phenomenon would pass quickly. The RNC should have funded negative ads on him earlier. I’m not an idealist and I Think negative ads are actually educational, at least to puncture pretentious candidates promoting an inflated image. But I guess I can’t blame them too much since I wasn’t worried at the time either. Now I have a dread of tomorrow. It’s not over yet, but it depresses me to think I might wake up sometime and see Trump the nominee.

    As a Conservative, I think it is a positive sign when voters want to “stick it to the man”. But turning to Trump is insane. I think there is going to have to be a libertarian revolution, since it has been obvious for a good while now that an impartial and professional civil service is a fiction. It’s a double-whammy. The office of president is more powerful than the Founders intended, though they wanted it powerful, but on the other hand it doesn’t really matter that much anymore who is the president since the government agencies chug on in any case. I guess it means having the presidency for Republicans doesn’t matter that much, but if it’s a Lib it does.

    I’m still hopeful that the Trump phenomenon hits roadbumps. But if it doesn’t I’ll console myself into thinking that he’ll accelerate the lack of faith in government and the movement will lead to something better. But I just don’t know how we get there. That reminds me to read Kevin Williamson’s “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome”.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: