Donald Trump is a shopkeeper, our country is a child of a nation of shopkeepers, and if there was a time in which we needed a shopkeeper to run this country, now is it.
As everyone knows, the only qualification you need to run for the office of the President of The United States of America is a desire to be President of The United States of America. There is no trade to master, certificate to test for, or college degree to study for. You just want to have to do it.
However, there are many qualities that are very handy to have if you are running for President of The United States of America. It is handy if you have had some exposure to things like large organizations, working on committees, planning, and explaining yourself when things don’t go as planned. But the most handy skill to have if you are a politician is the ability to explain why you need more money, how you’re going to spend it, and where the hell it all went, and Donald has that in spades.
That skill is going to become more and more critical going forward. Why? Because the 2015 estimate of the total costs of the $100 billion war we were promised in 2003 are currently hovering around $3.375 trillion dollars in 2014. That hasn’t really gotten too much press, because it’s a major downer.
For that kind of money, people could have accidents on Mars instead of having to watch a movie about people having accidents on Mars and still have almost $2.9 trillion left over to spend on things like education, environmental cleanup, jump-starting a non-carbon fuel market, basic science funding, a degrading infrastructure, and maybe a few pork-barrel projects.
Of course, we also all know we didn’t spend that money on those things because we spent it on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is why there was so much pearl-clutching in some Republican quarters when Donald Trump condemned the Iraq war and said President Bush should have been impeached for it, because Republican bulls always defer to Republican hawks. It’s how business gets done. Tons of cash flows from the government to businesses that are plugged into the military-industrial complex.
Trump, if you study his financial career, has done pretty damn well in real estate and television. Sure he’s had bankruptcies. I’d suffer some bankruptcies too if I could end up the 324th richest person in the world. He can afford to thumb his nose at all those Republican bulls that finance the ‘traditional’ slate of candidates this year.
Traditional candidates take on debt to finance their campaigns compared to non-traditional ones who self-finance their campaign like Trump, Ross Perot, and Steve Forbes. This gives Trump much more maneuverability when campaigning than his opponents.
A consummate promoter and salesman, Trump’s core platform pitch is about creating and raising wages for jobs, and taking care of wounded soldiers. U.S.-China trade reform, Veteran’s Administration reform, tax reform, and immigration reform are all tied back into more money going to more jobs, and you certainly can’t support soldiers unless you support guns and the VA, which also explains his support of Second Amendment rights. His campaign has zeroed in on two defining issues of our era and he’s selling like crazy.
Everyone knows that Donald Trump is full of bullshit. He makes outrageous claims and promises, is self-contradictory over time, and has a known history of saying provocative things to gain free press coverage. He’s a salesman. And like most good salesman, he will promise anything to close the deal and then figure out how to deliver afterwards.
Most importantly, for all of his checkered financial history, he has gotten shit done by hook or crook and become the 324th-richest person in the world. It doesn’t matter if what falls out of his mouth during the campaign is true or fascist because Hillary Clinton can’t compete where he is playing and winning.
Hillary and Bill Clinton only have a net worth between $11 and $53 million according to her public presidential election filing. Clinton’s last run for president left her deeply in debt so it’s reasonable to assume she’s taking on lots of debt to finance this campaign as well.
In a Trump/Clinton matchup, which is looking increasingly likely, Trump would eviscerate her on the economic front. His wealth and the fact that he earned it outside of the military-industrial complex will make it deadly simple for him to point out how beholden she is to those same special interests that are Holding America Back by shipping jobs overseas and letting illegal immigrants take what jobs are left, leaving our troops without the care they need, and supporting the current tax structure.
Couple that with his, ‘I’m in charge, I’m the CEO,’ attitude, and you can easily imagine political interns sifting through hours of C-SPAN video looking for key Clinton quotes to drive a narrative about how she’s a consensus-builder who works best by committee and making her look as effective as Michael Dukakis did wearing a helmet and riding around in a tank, except Hilary doesn’t have a choice about her ride.
Short of Trump doing something actually stupid like shooting someone on purpose or the Republican Party defrocking him and putting Ted Cruz in his stead as the party nominee, he’s got this one in the bag because his message of jobs and soldiers turns the Republican base out to vote for him in a way his Republican competition can’t match because their voter-suppression techniques are tuned for Democrats, not another Republican candidate.
Place your bets accordingly.
© 2016 Chris Kilbourn