Just because Trump says so doesn’t make it wrong

Beyond the bluster, insurgent GOP candidate makes some points

By Nathaniel Smith, Columnist, The Times

NSmithColLogoDonald Trump has many gifts: wealth (thanks to an initial hand from his multimillionaire father), fame, stage presence, attractiveness to voters, and the ability to alienate most of the GOP political establishment.

Although his self-aggrandizement, lack of consideration for individuals, prejudice against whole groups of people, and ignorance of public issues and foreign policy are truly shocking, that does not mean everything he says is wrong. We should not allow guilt by association to drag down all his positions on the issues.

Despite his demeaning attitude toward women, he mostly supports Planned Parenthood and is not obsessed with other people’s abortions.

He appears to respect the Founders’ concept of separation of church and state.

He elevates the concerns of working people above those of the 1% and supports federal programs like Medicaid and Social Security that benefit ordinary citizens.

Like many of all political persuasions, he has attacked insufficiently unregulated international trade deals and job outsourcing as causes of working class economic decline in this country. That issue splits both parties but I happen to agree with him.

He repudiates the influence of corporate money and lobbying groups that hold such vast power in Washington.

He wants to prevent corporate defection from the US and the resulting decline in government resources.

He might well, as originally claimed, be “neutral” in trying to end the intractable conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, which has disabled US  Mid East policy for generations.

He said what most Americans think about the lies that got the US into interminable warfare in Iraq and dares to remember that 9/11 did not happen when a Democrat was president.

He believes in increasing (and this year has increased) the number of Americans who pay political attention and vote. Who (except those who promote discriminatory Voter ID requirements, which our state mercifully escaped) can argue with that?

This doesn’t mean I look forward to a President Trump, far from it. But the Trump phenomenon can help us remember that our government is not one of personalities but one of laws and a long-term struggle to advance the common good.

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One Comment

  1. Tom Watson says:

    I have long thought, at least back to when NAFTA was put into effect but probably before that, when the move to globalization and free markets became a true force in American economic reasoning, that we were sowing the seeds of a revolution in this country.
    Globalization has been the single most significant contributor to income disparity in the United States. It has enabled the leaders of multinational corporations to concentrate wealth and power at the expense of the American working class.
    Our previous system of protective tariffs helped to create one of the strongest middle classes in the world. Much of this this middle class included the working class. When we had a strong manufacturing base in this country, with unions that ensured that the workers would participate in the revenues, we had a vast sector of the population who could create value to a sufficient degree that they could live a good life, send their children to college, and look forward to a secure retirement.
    By allowing the great migration of manufacturing jobs to other countries, while the corporate headquarters remained here, we set up a mechanism that gutted the economic viability of our working class.
    Someone should have asked the question: “What do we do with all those whom we have not educated to fit into the new global paradigm?”
    We did not and now we have a large and growing number of workers who do not fit into the current economic model. They are a class of people who were very productive in a manufacturing driven economy. They have not done well in the post-industrial age. Many of them do not fit well into the service sector – they are people who were used to making things and took great pride in that. They also do not want government assistance – they want to work. They want to make things again.
    These are the people who look to the authoritarian and xenophobic rhetoric of some of the current candidates with hope. Hope that their world will be restored to what it once was – where a worker could expect that he would enjoy the fruits of his efforts and could be what we used to call Upwardly Mobile.
    These are also the people who are expressing their frustration at political rallies and to any media person who will listen to them.
    Make no mistake – these workers who feel disenfranchised under the current system need relief. If they do not get it, they will become a force that will tear this country apart.
    We are currently in what I think of as a domestic version of the Cold War – but it is heating up.
    If our leaders do not address this in an intelligent manner, the next decade will be a social, political and economic debacle.

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