There are two distinctly different schools of thought about whether Trump’s status as ‘presumptive nominee’ helps or hurts Hillary Clinton. Strangely, both of these thoughts have merit and I am as yet undecided which will prevail.
On the side of his presumptive nomination being a deal-breaker in favor of Hillary, Trump is despised by most all democrats and a large portion of republicans alike. He is the least qualified, least experienced party-affiliated candidate I can remember ever making it this far in the election process. He has alienated entire groups of people: African-Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, women, immigrants, disabled people, academicians and scholars. Clinton, on the other hand, is well qualified, has experience not only in domestic policy-making but also in foreign policy. She supports civil rights and equality for all, she supports important topics like raising minimum wage, environmental protection and education. It is rather like weighing the merits of eating a sugary donut vs. an apple, with Trump as the donut (though there is nothing actually sweet about him) and Clinton, the apple.
Thus one would think … but therein lies the problem. One would think Trump wouldn’t stand a chance against an experienced, qualified candidate of the other party. But, if we think back over the past ten months, we didn’t think he would get this far. We didn’t think people would ever take the man seriously, and I am not sure they actually do take him seriously, but they vote for him anyway. Why do they vote for someone who they know is not qualified to govern this nation? They do so because of one thing and one thing only: he tells them what they want to hear. And willingly they believe because they want to believe, need to believe. He first creates the need, the want, and then he tells them that he is the answer to those needs and wants.
Trump plays on the fears of terrorism, puts forth the fallacy that Muslims, Middle-Eastern immigrants, are responsible for terrorism and that there are so many of them in this country that we are in constant danger. He stirs that pot relentlessly, and then, when the Islamophobia reaches a peak, he provides the “answer”. He says he and he alone can fix the problem by deporting all Muslims, all immigrants of Middle-Eastern extraction. Not only that, but he will “bomb the shit out of” Daesh and kill the family members, including children, of any and all suspected terrorists. See how he first created a fear (terrorism), then a need (safety from terrorists), and then a solution (extinction). This is but one example of his marketing blitz.
Trump is a businessman, and there is little difference between his tactics of creating a need, then fulfilling the need, and the tactics that businesses use called ‘advertising’. He is marketing himself in much the same way that Mattel markets Barbie dolls and other toys. They advertise them on Saturday mornings when your little kids are glued to television cartoons, then your kids are convinced they need as certain toy. Never mind that the toy will not fulfill any real need and thus will be forgotten within a few short months, or even hours, and never mind the money you wasted. The toy company got what they wanted and they really do not care if your child actually plays with the toy or not. Just as Trump creates a need then promises a solution, a solution that he cannot possibly fulfill. But people believe because they want to. They need to.
All of which explains the second school of thought, which is that, while many democrats are thinking that Trump just handed the presidency to Clinton, it may not actually be so. Certainly when one steps away from Trump’s rhetoric and realizes that he cannot come through with virtually any of his promises, then Clinton looks like the better option. But … those who so desperately want and need to believe that there is an easy solution to the problems, real or imagined, of the nation, they believe Trump’s promises because they need to. That is why we cannot simply assume that Trump cannot beat Clinton. Trump has brought people away from logical thinking and plays, instead, on emotions.
What does it take to shed light on the fallacies that Trump is filling the airwaves with? Almost all of his rhetoric has been proven to be lies, yet people do not seem to care. What does it take to bring back humanitarian values that Trump has shredded? So I ask again, what would it take to shock Trump’s blinded followers enough that they would see the reality that is Donald Trump? In January, Trump made the statement that “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” In January I scoffed at such a statement, but now I suspect he may have been right. This is a sad statement, not so much about Donald Trump, but about the state of mind of many of the citizens of our nation. Trump cannot win on merit, but he may well win on bluster.
Trump cannot possibly follow through on 90% of his promises if he is elected. The foundation upon which our entire government rests will not permit it. I suspect that most voters, in some part of their minds, know this. They just do not care anymore. They just want somebody to tell them it will all be okay, someone they can hand their troubles to and go to bed feeling secure. Never mind that it is a false sense of security. Is there a simple solution, a simple way to put Trump back in his box? I doubt that there is a panacea, but the ultimate solution must be comprised of educating the voters, which is 80% the role of the media, who have frankly been doing a lousy job of it. It must also require that Clinton do a better job of marketing her policy beliefs, playing up her strong points and addressing those that are concerning in a forthright and honest manner. And last, but not least, it requires We The People to stop being lemmings and start thinking … thinking of what a Trump presidency would really mean, thinking of truth vs. falsehoods, and start questioning what the candidates are saying, start thinking with logic instead of sheer emotion. We need to think on a global, not an individual basis. For it is not about just one person. Perhaps John F. Kennedy said it best in his famous quote, and one of my personal favourites: “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”