His voters trust him. That’s the perception that Donald Trump has of the people supporting him for President of the United States. The reality is that he’s correct. They don’t know what he really stands for, specifically, and they really don’t care that they don’t know. In fact, they don’t want to know. They just want him to get in there and fix it.
Those of us who do care what his policies would be as President can scratch our heads all we want, but the writing has been on the wall for a while. Every time he starts speaking about specifics, he messes it up and the media jumps on him. So, his gameplan for months has been to avoid substance and focus on getting people riled up about the problems. This is acceptable to the majority of his supporters who don’t want specifics even while we argue that he’s too liberal and ignorant to succeed. The same argument was used by Republicans against Barack Obama in 2008. Now, millions have reversed course. What didn’t work during Obama’s administration is somehow supposed to work better during a Trump administration.
In a TIME interview, Trump said, “My voters don’t care and the public doesn’t care. They know you’re going to do a good job once you’re there.”
Here’s the problem with that. His history doesn’t back the statement. He’s been extremely successful in real estate. After a few mishaps in managing the real estate empire he was born into, he received large loans from his family and turned the ship around. Then, he tried branching out into other arenas. He bought an airline. He started a mortgage company. He bought a USFL team and took the lead in guiding the other owners down an aggressive path against the NFL. In all of these and dozens of other non-real-estate endeavors, he failed miserably. His failures were so pitiful and embarrassing that it’s understandable why his supporters think he can do a better job this time; most of the stories of his failures are so hard to believe that his supporters dismiss them entirely.
It’s the USFL story that’s arguably the saddest because it’s the one that should have worked out the best. The league was well positioned to become the spring league to go opposite of the NFL. It would be able to keep football going year-round and act as a high-powered farm league. They had an exclusive contract with up-and-coming network ESPN. They were on the verge of an agreement with the NFL. Then, Trump happened.
He decided that they didn’t want to work with the NFL but wanted to force a merger with them instead. He insisted on competing head-to-head. He talked the other owners into turning the universally beneficial relationship into an adversarial one. He sued the NFL (as he is often wont to do when he wants things done his way). He guaranteed his fellow owners that they would win the lawsuit and it would make them all rich.
They won the lawsuit. The only problem is that they put so many resources into it, drew so many lines of contention, made an enemy out of an ally, and started losing all credibility as a result. Why? Because they were “awarded” $3 from the legal “victory.” Yes, $3, as in 300 pennies. The league dissolved soon after.
Details matter. The details of his extremely poor judgment in the past weren’t enough to prevent him from being the nominee and the details about his policy proposals haven’t hurt him yet. They probably won’t. If you’re someone who votes on policy, you’re either trying to decide who would be less awful between Trump and Clinton or you’re a diehard liberal who has accepted Clinton. If you don’t worry about policy, your allegiance goes to one or the other along party lines. For the remainder of this election, details probably won’t matter that much. It’s after the election when someone other than President Obama is sitting in the Oval Office when the details will matter.
It’s in those details that the country is likely to fall on the watch of either of these two disastrous candidates.
The only thing that gives me hope is the notion that Ted Cruz or maybe even Scott Walker can do what it takes to win the election. Both chances are slim, but it’s all we have in this upside down year of political lunacy.