During the years my wife Anne and I spent our winters in Florida, we made a number of friends, and with some of these we remain in close touch. In Florida, folks take their politics seriously and with only a few exceptions, most of our friends are staunch Republicans. Being a middle of the road Conservative myself, we would have some rather interesting discussions from time to time, especially if there was a little liquid medication involved!
I am not sure my friends are of the Tea Party type, but the reality is that many Conservatives in the United States are moving farther to the right as they react to what some see as a radical movement to the left under the Obama administration. And so it is with some trepidation that I write about my views on Donald Trump and his bid to be President of the United States. They might well tell me to mind my own damn business! But then, they know me better than that!
Years ago, I knew Donald Trump. He was actually a client of our Firm when he was seeking to do business in Canada. He was bright, he was aggressive and he had an ego that surpassed anything I have ever seen. At the time, there was much about him I liked. But I also saw a bit of the bully in him and observed that he was not a good listener. I also thought he was an astute businessman but not well read on broader public issues. Hard to believe, but he was also a Democrat!
And now I watch as Donald Trump seeks to become President of the United States and I am shocked and deeply concerned. It is hard to tell if his alarming rhetoric is simply strategic or if he actually believes it. But either way, some Americans are eating it up and fairly or unfairly, it exposes the underbelly of extreme right wing Conservatives.
While some will see it as an overstatement, there is much about Trump’s election campaign that reminds me of events preceding the Second World War. Hitler’s rise to power followed a platform of making Germany great again. Trump’s Slogan is ‘Make America Great Again’. Hitler was a racist. In my view Trump’s proposal to block all Muslims from entering the United States and tracking all Muslims who are already there, smacks of it. It also smacks of religious persecution. Hitler was a bully. He would tolerate no opposition. Just watch Donald Trump on the campaign trail. He ridicules anyone who dares to criticize him. He appeals to baser instincts and is unable to back up many of his audacious claims with hard evidence. And worse, he doesn’t care.
Of course, the rise of terrorism primarily by radical Islamists, has brought a new reality, not only to the United States but also to much of the Western world. There is no doubt that there are very bad people out there that want to change the way we live and take away our freedom as we know it. Those that bury their heads in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening, do so at their own peril.
However, Donald Trump’s proposed solutions many of which in my view, border on fascist philosophy, are way over the top. Every time he opens his mouth, I believe he is actually abetting and strengthening the cause of ISIS and other terrorist organizations. More importantly, this is not who America is and it is not who the Republican Party is, as many in their leadership are finally beginning to point out.
Donald Trump knows that his best chance of winning the Presidency is to do so as a Republican. Even so, hopefully he will not win the nomination as 25% support among Republican voters is currently his ceiling, although he is still way ahead of the pack. But it is time for the Republican Party to dump Trump. He is ruining their brand and hijacking their credibility, when in fact they have much to offer in the realm of public policy.
Some in the Republican Party, while not supporting Trump, fear dumping him because he might run as an Independent, split the right of centre vote and deny them a chance at the Presidency. They may be correct, but in my view it is a risk worth taking to avoid many years in outer darkness. If push comes to shove, I actually doubt that Trump would run as third party candidate. He hates losing too much.
There are a number of good candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination. With Trump out of the way, some of these lights will shine and the Party will have a good chance of giving the Democrat’s candidate, whoever she may be, a good run for their money next November. To keep harboring and encouraging Donald Trump however, can only end in disaster. Dump him now. It will be good for America and Canada. End of rant.
LET’S STOP PLAYING TENNIS
I enjoy writing ‘Listen Up’ and appreciate the number of people who click on to read it, as well as the comments I receive. My opinion pieces are intended to spark debate and provide thought for fresh thinking. I write from my perspective and expect folks to respond from theirs. My column this past week attracted 24 comments. 16 of them were from the same two people, both of them friends of mine. It was like watching a tennis ball go back and forth. My neck got sore! And so friends I ask this. Please continue to comment and if someone else’s comment ticks you off, by all means reply. But let’s not turn it into a tennis match. Two or three submissions per person per week, should let you get whatever it is bugging you, out of your system and hopefully in a respectful manner. Also, if you have any suggestions of issues you would like me to address, please let me know. I would appreciate that as sometimes the well goes dry!