Should we laugh or should we cry? We came back from a five week summer vacation in the Netherlands and what do you know: Donald Trump has consolidated his lead in the polls on the GOP side for the 2016 White House elections. Of course, at 15 months away from the voting booths, this means as much as the Cleveland Browns winning a pre-season game, but I still have to rub my eyes in disbelief. Are we really that alienated, frustrated and stupid?
Speaking of Cleveland, that is where, in about a year from now (July 18-21, 2016), the Republican convention will crown its contender for the White House. Who will carry the day there? The convention will not know who the Democratic nominee is going to be, since the Democratic convention in Philadelphia will come a week after the GOP gathering. The party will, by the process of elimination, have to find that person that can put the White House back in Republican hands, without knowing (for sure) who the Democratic opponent is going to be. The scenario will be most interesting if the democrats, somehow, avoid turning their convention into a crowning ceremony for the next Clinton.
I don’t think it will be Donald Trump coming out as the winner, for only one reason: Cleveland does not give him a large enough platform to display his ego. For the emperor of Manhattan to be contending with mere mortals is bad enough, to have to do it at ‘the mistake at the lake’ is outright demeaning. This may exactly be why the party bosses (about the only Americans not infatuated with Mr. Trump) have picked the city at the confluence of the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie as the site for their convention. I am in good company in believing that the 69 year old caricature of an American capitalist will not carry the day, because a good number of political pundits, including New York Times columnists Ross Douthat and David Brooks, categorically assure us that Trump will not be president or even the Republican nominee.
But, regardless of who the GOP nominee will turn out to be—who knows a lot can happen in the 11 months separating us from the circus coming to Cleveland—it is a distressing thought that for almost a year we will have to witness the charade of all the characters who think that they are just the right candidate for the presidency parading across our TV screens. This spectacle would be impossible if it was not for the billions of dollars floating around looking for a political cause or campaign to support. Money, in this case, is the root of all evil. Isn’t it amazing that Americans will fight tooth and nail to avoid tax increases, but they voluntarily part with billions if it comes to buying lottery tickets or they think it will buy them political influence.
If you think about what the job of President of the United States really is, isn't it surprising that so many Americans are even in this race? Who wants the job? Well, that is clear, Donald Trump really wants it and he is used to getting what he wants and a virtuoso at it. In this case, it is well within his reach, because he is probably the only candidate who can simply buy the presidency.
Jon Lovett, in an August 18, 2015 article for The Atlantic, writes a futuristic piece “Looking backward on the Presidency of Donald Trump”. Of course it is speculative but it is equally foreboding. Is this what the American people want and deserve? Isn’t our political system screwed up enough, that it needs to be thrown further into demise by the election of an egotistical buffoon of the size of Donald Trump?
The American people already have plenty of reasons to be rejecting most of the other announced candidates for one of the following reasons:
· You don’t allow the forming of a republican form of dynasty, which rules out electing another Bush or Clinton.
· The baby boomer generation has had its chances to make a difference and wasted them all, so no-one over 60 years old should be nominated.
· The American Presidency is probably the toughest, most demanding, job in the world so it should not be entrusted to people my age, card carrying AARP members.
· Candidates capable of only producing soundbites without being able to present a coherent strategic plan for the nation should be disqualified.
· Candidates intent on building a wall at our borders instead of looking at modern day information technology to keep undesirables out.
· Candidates who refuse to acknowledge that we are all immigrants, who wrested this territory away from the Native Americans, and can’t differentiate between immigrants and undesirables.
Is anyone left standing if these criteria are applied?
America has now been an independent nation under 44 occupants of the White House. Most Americans cannot name more than a handful of men who have occupied the highest office in the country. They can be excused, because most of them have had a reign that was utterly forgettable or worse. It shows that America’s destiny is not dependent on who occupies the White House. Why then are we getting so worked up, for so long, about will be the 45th President?
Aren’t we better off ignoring this money infused circus and focusing instead on correcting the flaws in our political system? That’s what I advocate in my book “NEITHER HERE NOR THERE, A First Generation Immigrant in Search of American Exceptionalism’. The American people will have a crucial decision to make: Are they going to believe that a single person can make the difference or will they accept that the 45th President will, like his/her recent predecessors, be doomed to failure if the rules of the game do not change?