Donald Trump is the Republican nominee.
So while everyone is still asking how we got here, I want to point out some warning signs that we missed. I’m too busy to do a full analysis, but I did have time to rewatch his announcement, so in those fifty minutes, here are eight signals that we didn’t take enough warning to.
- “Our country is in serious trouble. We don’t have victories anymore. We used to have victories. We don’t have them. When was the last time anybody saw, us beating, let’s say, China, in a trade deal. They kill us. I beat China all the time.”
You’re not supposed to “beat” people in trade deals. You’re supposed to, you know, trade with them. If both sides don’t come out with at least the perception that they’re better off than when they went in, then the deal isn’t a successful one. Think about it, if you make a trade with someone, then instantly turn around and call them a sucker, why would they honor the deal you just made?
- “The US has become a dumping ground, for everybody else’s problems.”
Well, in principle this may not be true, but I can’t in all honesty and with appropriate hindsight condemn this comment after Trump defeated Canada’s problem, Ted Cruz.
- “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. (They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you.) They’re sending people that have lots of problems. And they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”
This comment is now infamous and represents the idea of a Donald Trump presidency. Yes, Mr. Trump, refugees do tend to be people with a lot of problems, and yes, those problems do involve drugs and crime. Specifically, escaping those things.
- “We need somebody that can take the brand of the United States and make it great again.”
The United States is not a brand, and while we do have a PR problem, it’s well deserved. Right before this comment, he said that America needed a “cheerleader”. Is that what your administration would be, Mr. Trump? Is that why you haven’t put forth a single viable policy position? Is that why you only use buzzwords and why you lifted your campaign slogan from a historical figure that already exists in our country? You don’t want to lead the US, you just want to consider it a part of your personal brand and stick your name on it somewhere to feed your ego.
- “I will be the greatest jobs president that god ever created.”
Because what would a presidential announcement be without a reference to a god that the candidate tailors to their base? It’s funny, because out of the Republican candidates that ran this year, Trump would have been preferable if only because he was secular. I still think that (Imagine Ted Cruz’s first day in office and weep with relief), but pandering is still important when your base gives no fucks about anything else.
- “This is going to be an election, in my opinion, that’s based on competence. Somebody said to me the other day, a reporter, a very nice reporter, ‘But Mr. Trump you’re not a nice person.’ (crowd member interjects: We don’t need nice) That’s true, but actually I am. I think I am a nice person. People that know me like me. Does my family like me? I think so.”
An election based on competence? Trump is winning. Debunked. Reporters aren’t supposed to tell people that they’re interviewing that they aren’t nice people, although I certainly wouldn’t blame a reporter that did this. He doesn’t at all make it clear why in the hell he brought up a reporter or how this makes him competent. As for his family liking him, I suppose in that respect, he’s better than Cruz.
- “So, the reporter said to me the other day, ‘But Mr. Trump, you’re not a nice person. How can you get people to vote for you?’ I said, ‘I don’t know.’ I said, ‘Number one I think I am a nice person. I give a lot of money away to charities and other things. I think I’m actually a very nice person, but I said, ‘This is going to be an election based on competence.’”
After pandering about his family he returns to the reporter story and finishes the conversation. I still don’t know why this story was brought up. He just said something and then told a story about how he said the exact same thing to a reporter. If he was making a point, m guess would be that it had something to do with the amount of words you can use to say absolutely nothing.
- “I started off in a small office with my father in Brooklyn and Queens. And my father said, and I love my father so much. He was a great negotiator. I learned so much just sitting at his feet, playing with blocks, listening to him negotiate with subcontractors. But I learned a lot. He used to say, Donald, don’t go into Manhattan. That’s the big leagues. We don’t know anything about that. Don’t do it. I said, Dad, I gotta go into Manhattan. I gotta build those big buildings. I gotta do it, Dad. I’ve gotta do it. And after four or five years in Brooklyn, I ventured into Manhattan and did a lot of great deals.”
What an inspirational story this is. If you’re born into a rich family you can be successful, even in a different area of the same city. I can only imagine how proud my parents would be if I got a job at a paper in Plaza Midwood (I would love that, in all honesty) but I can’t imagine them ever cautioning me against a job just because it’s outside of our neighborhood. That’s the idea of being lower or middle class. You’re expected to leave if you want any amount of social mobility. But I imagine it’s probably true that if you’re born at the top of the social ladder there’s probably a certain amount of pressure to do nothing because you’re almost guaranteed to stay there. Lack of incentive to work seems to be a problem in some circles.
I’ll never say there there weren’t significant cultural flaws that led to the rise of Trump, but those of us who hadn’t at the time fallen victim to those disasters should have seen this coming and done something more than make jokes about it.