“I think what he says and what he’ll do are two different things.” That was what our current Congressman, Duncan Hunter, recently said about Donald Trump as reported in The Washington Post last Friday. And doesn’t that just say it all?
Now, I’m no Duncan Hunter fan, and normally I don’t pay a whole lot of attention, but I think, this time, he might be onto something.
As a Democrat, I’ve been worried both about the things Trump says and about the things he’ll do from the moment his campaign began. Well maybe not since it began … did any of us seriously believe he had the slightest chance back then?
But I did start worrying in September, right after the second Republican debate, when a conservative-leaning friend, whose opinions I ordinarily respect a great deal, announced Trump was his first choice.
So, yes, I’ve been worried for a while, but there has always been a part of me that keeps wondering … is it really Republicans who should be worried?
Is Trump actually serious about wanting the Presidency? Or is this all just the best marketing ploy the U.S. has ever seen? Is he really as conservative as he now claims to be? Or is this new pro-life and anti- gun control Donald really a wolf in sheep’s clothing for conservatives?
And what of the former friendship between Donald Trump and the Clintons? Could this all be a brilliant scheme to dupe the Republican party and guarantee Hillary an easy coast into the nation’s top spot come November?
It’s just a hypothesis borne of a mind that, for good or bad, enjoys pondering conspiracy theories. Though … you do know that Bill Clinton and Donald Trump spoke on the phone shortly before Trump announced his candidacy, right? Hmm … So … yeah … the more I think about it, the more I wonder, could Trump truly mean the things he says? Or is he performing the parody role of a lifetime? Think Stephen Colbert’s The Colbert Report persona. On steroids. So channeling a little Niemöller here Trump-style:
“First I attacked the Mexicans, and I got some supporters.
“Then I attacked John McCain who is ‘not a war hero [because he got caught], and I got more supporters.
“Then I attacked Megyn Kelly and, you know all hysterical menstruating women, and I got even more supporters.
Then I attacked Carly Fiorina because … well … “Look at that face,” and I got even more supporters.
“Then I attacked Muslims, and my popularity went Through. The. [Insert Expletive.] Roof.
“And let’s see, I made fun of a disabled reporter, I played dumb about support from white supremacists, I attacked the Pope, every single one of my opponents, the stupid people of Iowa, a federal judge, the Press, and there are millions of supporters left to listen to me speak.”
Of these loyal supporters, Trump actually said: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” The disturbing thing is, he’s probably right.
It’s fascinating, isn’t it? This man has defied all conventional wisdom for how to run a campaign, yet … here he is.
I have a theory about why so many Americans are supporting Trump. Though I do believe a sizable segment of supporters are racists, bigots, sexists and Islamophobes, I certainly don’t think they all are. And I know my friend, who professed admiration for Trump from the start, is none of those things.
So here’s my theory: Americans love an unlikely hero. We love it when, against all odds, our underdogs win, the seemingly dumbest person in the room outsmarts everyone, and our modern-day Pygmalions are transformed from boorish and brutish into cultured and elegant.
Could some of Trump supporters believe Trump is our very own Eliza Doolittle?
And boy do Americans love it when our wise guy rebels refuse to abide by society’s established rules and manage to stick it to “the man.”
Finally, we swoon to see one invincibly strong good guy taking on all the bad in the world and emerging triumphant! Think Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry, Sylvester, Stallone as Rambo or Rocky, Arnold Schwarzenegger once he became the good guy in the Terminator series, Bruce Willis in the multitudinous Die Hards, and then there’s Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and I could go on and on. But I won’t.
Anyway, I suspect there may be many among Trump’s supporters who consider him to be that invincible strong guy, the anti-establishment rebel, Pygmalion, the consummate underdog and Br’er Rabbit all wrapped into one [thin-skinned, small-handed man]!
However, the fact remains. Neither the right nor the left really knows what type of president Trump might be since he has no work history as a politician. He has flipped 180 degrees on both abortion and gun control. He has both supported and condemned homosexuals depending on the audience, and he now refuses to clarify his position on same-sex marriage. He has decried U.S. policies on trade while benefitting immensely from them. And he claims to be both the “most militaristic” person and a “loud and clear” opponent of the Iraq War from the beginning … well except for that time when he told Howard Stern he supported the Iraq invasion.
Again, I could go on and on. But I won’t.
Suffice to say that if one of Trump’s ardent supporters can say about him, “I think what he says and what he’ll do are two different things,” then neither the right nor the left can have ANY [insert expletive] IDEA what he will do if actually elected. And, albeit for diametrically opposite reasons, isn’t that a little scary for all of us?