Tag Archives: Corey Lewandowski

Trump puts Democracy on Notice

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Whenever I make the case against Donald Trump, I am subject to a barrage of, “what about Hillary” comments. As a Jewish American and strong supporter of Israel I’ve often been asked by those who oppose Hillary Clinton how I can choose her over Donald Trump.  Even if I am to  accept that she is not a friend of Israel, something I do not necessarily accept and another discussion irrelevant to my point, my answer has always been as follows.  A weakened American democracy is something that puts the whole world in danger and is something far more perilous for Israel than a president that does not support her.

This is no longer about which candidate you prefer to win on November 8th.  This is now about the future of democracy in the United States of America.  It is dishonest and irresponsible to put Donald Trump’s answers in convenient vacuums.  When the Republican nominee for president indicated at the 3rd and final debate that he would decide after the election on November 8th whether or not he would accept the outcome, this was not an isolated answer.  This was an answer from a man who is pushing a populist movement based on discontent, scapegoating and anger.  This is an answer from a man who has mocked people from almost every ethnic group.  It’s a man who has fired up the extreme right wing of the country. In his answer about the importance of the Supreme Court he honed in on the 2nd Amendment while once “joking” about how supporters of the 2nd Amendment could take matters into their own hands in stopping Hillary Clinton. I take umbrage with the comparison of Trump to Hitler, simply because you can’t compare a man who makes volatile and irresponsible statements to a murderous dictator guilty of the murder of millions of people including the slaughter of 6 million Jewish men, women and children.  However,that being said, that doesn’t mean any of this is good for democracy. That doesn’t take away from from his glib suggestion that his supporters take out his major opposition.

Trump is a high stakes gambler.  He personally has very little to lose by his effort to be president.  The problem is he’s been playing with house money, which in this case means the future of the country.   The only way what Trump has done turns out to be good for the country is if he wins and does a phenomenal job.  Two things that are seen as highly unlikely to a large segment of the American population.  For argument sake however, let’s play this out.  Trump wins, appoints the best advisers, defeats ISIS, stabilizes the Middle East, strengthens relationships with our allies, and orchestrates an historic economic boom.  If this were to happen, not only would American democracy be strengthened, the Republican Party would survive their organizational catastrophe.  As an American, should the unexpected happen and Mr. Trump does win, I hope and pray it plays out this way. Problem is, I am quite certain it won’t.

Of course as most polls show, it is unlikely Donald Trump will win.  But even if we allow that to be considered as a possibility, the demeanor and temperament he has displayed throughout this campaign has to be concerning to anyone looking at this with a level head. I know his surrogates and ardent supporters will make excuses for everything he’s said and allegedly done, but that doesn’t change any of the facts.  Corey Lewandowski and Kayleigh Mcenany can spend all day saying “what Mr. Trump was saying is….”, but that will never actually change the candidate’s words.  And words hold power. Not everything can be blamed on political correctness and not being a typical politician.  Most significantly, telling a debate moderator that “I’ll keep you in suspense” as to whether or not he will accept the will of the people and respect the peaceful transfer of power has nothing to do with being a New Yorker or an anti-establishment candidate.  It has more to do with an inability to accept defeat as an option.  That happens to be quality I love in an athlete and to some extent see as a positive in a political figure, but that does not mean Mr. Trump’s inability to accept defeat supersedes the will of the American voter or a political system that has worked for 240 years.  And let’s be honest and say what is on everyone’s mind and is everyone’s ultimate concern.  Trump’s refusal to agree to accept the outcome until he sees what happens is just short of incitement to riot and undermines the very core of American democracy.  His supporters have already shown that he can say anything he wants and they will still listen to him.  What happens if he loses, claims the election is rigged, and tells his supporters to take to the streets in protest?  The United States of America may face a problem greater than any it has faced in its history.

How is that possible you may ask?  Simply put, even in the face of the greatest threats, the most incompetent leadership, or the greatest discontent of the populous, America has always been able to rest its head on one basic fact. It has, at least functioned on the perceived principal of democracy.  It’s impossible to give full credit to a nation that once considered slavery legal, but even then it was a country that respected its system.  That respect held it together and allowed it to grow from a place where black slaves helped build the White House to a place where a black man resides in it as President of the United States.  Politics aside, I believe any reasonable and decent person has to see the beauty in a system that allows for that kind of growth.

I fear that Donald Trump’s America has a danger of damaging that freedom to grow.  I don’t know what is in the man’s heart and what his true intentions are. There are people I like and respect who think he is doing this for selfless reasons.  Others believe he is doing this to attain the greatest power, either for personal benefit or at worse, anarchy and destruction.  I don’t know the answer, but I do know that his words have put a dent in our democracy greater than any put by any of our external foes, because the more Mr. Trump falls behind the more he pivots from challenging the establishment to challenging the system.  He does this in what appears to be an effort to mold the system to his liking and his benefit, something that terrifies many for one very important reason.  Even a system with a corrupt establishment within its ranks is better than a country running on one individual’s idea of what the system should be.  A system running the way only one person wants it to run is nothing short of a dictatorship.

This election has transcended Republican against Democrat, Conservative against Liberal, or Trump against Clinton.  This election is now a referendum on the democratic system that has held this country together for almost 2 and a half centuries, and regardless of the outcome, that is something that should concern and disturb many American citizens because it should never have gotten to this point in the first place. When this election is over, if the democracy remains in tact, the challenge of leadership, media and all concerned citizens is to find out why.  Otherwise it will only get worse.

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The Real Reason Donald Trump is Dangerous

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Donald Trump is right about one thing.  More people are talking about this year’s presidential primaries than any time in history.  One could argue this is partly due to the fact that we are dealing with a polarizing populist with a one syllable name.  As the primaries continue, the feelings towards Republican candidate Donald Trump are becoming more and more intense on both sides.  By now most people either love him or hate him.  He’s been called a racist, misogynist, another Hitler, Mussolini, demagogue, fascist, you name it, he’s been called it.  Who and what Donald Trump is has become the most talked about issue, not just in American politics, but in the entire country. It’s even transcended American politics, becoming a discussion all over the world where the big question being asked is, “what if he wins?” Of course a lot of this discussion is rooted in fear. Even a lot of the people who like him have at least some trepidation. So the obvious question is whether or not we actually should be afraid of Donald Trump. The short and definitive answer is yes, just not necessarily for the reasons most often discussed.

While most people think the most frightening thing about him is his behavior and demeanor, something certainly a cause for at least some concern, I believe the thing we should be most worried about is far more significant.  When people speak about Trump being anti-establishment they are generally referring to his developing battle against the Republican establishment.  That in itself might be fine to everyone other than members of the actual Republican establishment.  Their fear is based more on their personal status than the future of the country.  The thing we as a nation really need to be worried about is far more serious than the damage being done to the GOP and its high-ranking members. What we need to be concerned with is how Donald Trump is trying to change a lot more than the Republican establishment, he is looking to change the entire American establishment. If that doesn’t scare you, it should.

A perfect example of what Trump is doing can be seen in the impact he is having on the media.  The actions and words of Donald Trump and members of his campaign together with the polarization his candidacy is causing has often created a situation journalists and members of the press universally try to avoid, and that is those reporting the news becoming the story.  The most notable example is Megyn Kelly of FOX.   Kelly is a consummate professional very adept at reporting the news while never actually becoming the news. But the following exchange with Donald Trump in a debate last August 6th did just that, not so much because of Trump’s response at the debate, but because of his subsequent behavior and comments towards Kelly since.

Kelly: “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals.’ Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?”

Trump: “What I say is what I say. And honestly, Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry, I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn’t do that to you.”

 

As we all know by now, Trump went back on his word and did indeed do that t0 her.  If we want to be fair and say that Kelly was particularly hard on Trump at the debate, we can go one step further and say that Trump’s response was appropriate and fair.  But it did not end there.   That was just the beginning of a continuing onslaught  as he went on to repeatedly refer to her as Crazy Megyn Kelly on Twitter, and calling her names like “sick” or “overrated”.  Nothing however was more bizarre than the line, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever …”.  All of this was punctuated by a call by Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski to FOX prior to a later debate in which he basically threatened Kelly by saying, she had a ‘rough couple of days after that last debate’ and he ‘would hate to have her go through that again.’ 

Then of course there’s the  Michelle Fields incident.  Regardless of whether or not one believes Fields is right or wrong, it was without doubt, Trump’s subsequent handling of the situation that truly made her the story.  After Fields accused Trump’s campaign manager of manhandling and injuring her to prevent her from getting close to his boss, rather than deal with it swiftly and tactfully, Trump decided to once again go on the attack. In most instances a campaign would do everything in their power to make something like this go away quietly.  But not this time.  Donald Trump’s reaction was to go on the  attack and accuse Fields of making up the allegations.  In doing so Trump made Fields the story.  Had he reacted differently and allowed the current established system the opportunity to handle this through the legal system, the worst case scenario would have been that she would be proven correct and it would likely have become much less of a story.  The best case for Donald Trump and his campaign would have been that his assertion that this was a fabrication would have been validated, making anything that would happen to her be a result of her actions, not his.  If you take Michelle Fields on her word, an apology would have made this go away entirely. What happened instead?  Trump went on full attack mode and Fields would wind up having to leave her job and deal with death threats. All this as a result of Trump’s continuing strategy of bucking the establishment.

Losing graciously is not an established tradition of the Republican Party, rather an expected and yes, there’s that word again, established behavior in American politics. After losing in Wisconsin, Trump issued the following statement:

“Donald J. Trump withstood the onslaught of the establishment yet again. Lyin’ Ted Cruz had the Governor of Wisconsin, many conservative talk radio show hosts, and the entire party apparatus behind him. Not only was he propelled by the anti-Trump Super PAC’s spending countless millions of dollars on false advertising against Mr. Trump, but he was coordinating `with his own Super PAC’s (which is illegal) who totally control him. Ted Cruz is worse than a puppet— he is a Trojan horse, being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination from Mr. Trump. We have total confidence that Mr. Trump will go on to win in New York, where he holds a substantial lead in all the polls, and beyond. Mr. Trump is the only candidate who can secure the delegates needed to win the Republican nomination and ultimately defeat Hillary Clinton, or whomever is the Democratic nominee, in order to Make America Great Again.”

In direct contrast, after losing to Bernie Sanders in Wisconsin Hillary Clinton made the following comments:

“Sen. Sanders had a good night last night, and I congratulated him, but if you look at the numbers, I’m still considerably ahead in both the popular vote and most importantly, the delegate count,” Clinton told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “So I’m feeling very good about where we are.”

 

This is not to say that the more amicable comments of Clinton automatically make her a better person or better candidate than Trump, rather to show the distinct difference between someone who follows the established process rather than work towards changing and restructuring it according to their own will.

That is where the ultimate danger lies. Of the  many people who chuckle at the entertainment value provided by the Trump candidacy, there are those who think he is exactly what the country needs and there are those who believe he may just be an out of control lunatic.  Regardless of what you may think, make no mistake.  His strategy is extremely well-planned and calculated.  To use the old cliche’, Trump is looking to divide and conquer.  Many people already see that, but a large percentage of these people believe he is attempting to do it only to the Republican Party.  In reality what he is really attempting to do, with a somewhat frightening degree of success till now, is tear down the entire established way of doing things so he can rebuild it according to his will.  The one glaring problem with Democracy, is if you convince enough people that your way is the right way, it becomes more and more difficult to fight against it, no matter how damaging it may be.  Populism feeds into the fear and anger of the citizenry and Trump is nothing if not a populist.  The continued popularity of Trump and increasing popularity of Bernie Sanders is all about populism. There are people out there who don’t even need to know that their political savior has realistic or safe approaches towards what ails them, they merely need to hear someone say they are going to do things differently and save them.

If Donald Trump is successful, a lot of what we know to be the norm will change.  As a successful and powerful businessman, Trump is used to doing things his way, not necessarily the expected way.  This is why he does nothing truly genuine to discourage violence at his rallies and why he can go as far as to talk about his private parts at a rally.  A valid argument can be made that we want a leader with so much confidence in their way that they only want to do things according to their plan.  The problem with this is very clear and very simple.  The amount of power that scenario potentially gives that leader is extremely dangerous, regardless of whether that leader is Donald Trump or anyone else.  The difference with Trump is that he has shown a clear desire and ability to break down many elements of the establishment and has garnished enough support in his populist movement to be very relevant.  The one thing no one can be sure of is, should he achieve his desired goal, is whether or not that power will translate into brilliant leadership or devastation and catastrophe.  It is human nature to get drunk on power, and the dangers of Trump getting that power make it a risk anyone supporting him should think about long and hard before taking. The problem with populism is that it is often fueled far more by emotion than reasonable thought.  A factor Trump may very well be counting on.

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