My reaction to the election of Donald Trump is intensely negative, but some people I respect did vote for him. I want to explain to Trump voters why many of us are appalled by this fellow, and I hope these comments will also be helpful to those who voted against him. Please forward this post if you find it valuable.
I don’t expect to convince people that I am right. I just want to explain why I feel so strongly.
Some of what I’ll say will be blunt, but if you voted for Trump you probably feel OK about blunt language. I’ll start with a short list of issues, followed by more details in the “footnotes.”
- Donald Trump loves to brutally humiliate people. “She had blood coming out of her wherever.” “Look at that face.”*1
- He brags almost nonstop.*2
- He changes policy stands repeatedly and erratically.*3
- He speaks impulsively without considering the consequences. Example: saying the US might not fully repay those who hold US government bonds! An unbelievably irresponsible comment.*4
- He has encouraged violence against protesters. For examples see:*5
- He has no experience in government, and it shows.*6
- He is prejudiced against people due to their race or religion.*7
- He was taped bragging about being a serial sex offender, and he has been taped many times saying things about women – including those in his own family – that are absolutely creepy.*8
When the tape surfaced about grabbing women’s genitals, Trump apologetically pledged to be a better person, but did not deny that he has molested women in this way. On TV Anderson Cooper asked him if what he said on tape was true, and he dodged the question! Cooper pressed him further, and Trump said it was “locker room talk.” But anyone who brags in a locker room that he gets his jollies by grabbing women’s crotches risks being reported to the police.
- He has just pulled off a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. It looks as if the party will keep its name and lose its principles.*9
- And for those who think Mrs. Clinton is just as bad, see:*10
Because he is so unpredictable, I have no doubt that Donald Trump will surprise us in some positive ways. Play roulette fifty rounds and sometimes you’ll win big. But overall, what are the odds?
And now, the gory details:
#1. Do we really want a sadistic bully as President? Here’s an example of verbal sadism and erotic aggression. In front of a big audience Trump calls Miss Universe, Jennifer Hawkins on stage and makes a bizarre reference to an orgasm, implying that he’s talking about her. She is obviously and understandably uncomfortable:
Garry Trudeau has collected a list of Trump’s insults, including:
“Lightweight!” “Choker!” “Disaster!” “Phony!” “Dope!” “Fraud!” “Loser!” “Grubby!” “Wacko!” “Third-rate!” “Clown!” “Dumb!” “Clueless!” “Nasty!” “Failed!” “Ridiculous!” “Sad!” “Crazy!” “Totally corrupt!” “Dumb as a rock!” “Totally flawed!” “Nervous wreck!” “Zero talent!” “A real nut job!” “Blowhard!” “Truly weird!” “A joke!” “Unattractive!” “Disgusting!” “Spoiled brat!” “Low-class slob!” “Goofball atheist!” “Fool!” “Worthless!” “Garbage!” “Dishonest!” “Hopeless!” “Dummy!” “Liar!” “Disgrace!” “Basket case!”
#2. Here’s part of Trudeau’s list of boasts by Trump.
“No one is more conservative than me!” “No one respects women more than me!” “No one reads the Bible more than me!” “There’s nobody that’s done so much for equality as I have!” “There’s nobody who feels more strongly about women’s health issues!” “Nobody knows more about taxes than me, maybe in the history of the world!” “I have studied the Iran deal in great detail, greater by far than anyone else!” “Nobody’s ever been more successful than me!” “I’m the least racist person you’ll ever meet!”
Admittedly Garry Trudeau has despised Donald Trump for many years, so these lists might be a tad slanted. For one thing I assume he’s added many of the exclamation points.
#3. For a truly astonishing number of policy flip-flops: http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/full-list-donald-trump-s-rapidly-changing-policy-positions-n547801
#4. On the above list of flip-flops, look for the section on National Debt.
#5. For many examples of encouragement to violence: http://mashable.com/2016/03/12/trump-rally-incite-violence/#mFJu282Aciqq
I did some checking on these quotes encouraging violence, because internet articles can just make things up. Unfortunately it looks as if Trump really did make these statements.
#6. Just one example: North Korea’s nukes are a gigantic problem. Chinese cooperation in pressuring that country to give up these weapons is incredibly important. But Trump loves to insult China by claiming they manipulate their currency, keeping it low to boost their exports. That was true several years ago but in recent years they have spent nearly a trillion dollars to do the opposite – to prop their currency up! So to look tough and win votes he angers a nation whose help we need, and the Chinese know his charge against them is ridiculous.
#7. Evidence of his prejudice is so widespread and well-known that I won’t bother to repeat it.
#8. For Donald Trump’s sex-abuse admissions see http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/08/politics/trump-on-howard-stern/. Read and listen carefully, because some of these charges against him may be debatable. But there’s plenty of damning evidence in recordings of Trump’s own words.
I’m going to be blunt. Trump is a creepy sexual predator with incredibly poor judgment. And we have made him the most powerful person on Earth.
#9. Republicans have emphasized being tough with our adversaries, but now Trump is cuddling up with Russian oligarchs. And Trump tells CEOs how to run their businesses – commanding them, for example, to make their products in the US. In the past Republicans have at least given lip service to free-market capitalism, opposing the idea of a managed economy where government dictates business decisions. If Obama had tried to push CEOs around like Trump does, that would have been “proof” that he’s a Communist. See:
Although I’m not a Republican, I appreciate intelligent conservatives such as George F. Will, who sometimes correct my biases. Will has long protested Trump’s anti-conservative policies, and finally left the Republican Party to protest Donald Trump’s racism. When Trump tweeted insults in response, Will wrote: “He has an advantage on me, because he can say everything he knows about any subject in 140 characters and I can’t.”
Snarky, but we get the point.
#10. I think Clinton would have been a decent, though not great, chief executive. She has important flaws, but she also has a wider and deeper background in foreign and domestic policy issues than most incoming Presidents. Balancing her vast knowledge and experience versus her defects, she would have been acceptable. And she pledged to do one thing that is far more important than almost any other issue – appoint Supreme Court Justices who will repeal Citizens United. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC.) Until that court decision is repealed there is no hope for effective campaign finance reform, and we will continue to have “the best government money can buy.”
Many voted for Trump so he’d appoint justices who will kill Roe v. Wade. But even if you see this as a high priority, would you vote for absolutely anyone for that reason? Of course not. You wouldn’t vote for Hitler, right? So where do you draw the line? How about a sadistic, impulsive, hostile braggart with no experience in government who makes bizarre policy proposals, encourages violence and bigotry, throws away traditional Republican principles, and brags about being a serial molester?
I’m reminded of one of Dan Piraro’s Bizarro comic strips:
Pollster: “OK last question: If you disagreed with all of your candidate’s positions, he spoke no known language, and he set fire to everything he touched, would you still vote for him?”
Obviously Trump supporters could disagree with some of these points and add arguments of their own. But I hope I’ve made it a little easier to understand why many us are dreading the next four years.
It’s incredibly dangerous to be led by a demagogic genius with a twisted personality. And there’s a boatload of evidence that this is exactly what we’ve got.
And here is a postscript for conservative Christians:
In one Doonesbury cartoon, a chaplain asks two friends, “So can you explain Trump’s evangelical supporters to me? What are they thinking? Trump’s a twice-divorced, non-churchgoing ex-casino operator – the living embodiment of the seven deadly sins! Pride? Greed? Heck, those are core brand values! Envy? He attacks his betters every day! Lust? He’s a womanizer who says he wants to date his own daughter! Gluttony? He’s all about bloat! Wrath? No one is angrier!”
“Sloth. You forgot one,” says a friend. “So one for seven? That’s the bar now?” (Garry Trudeau, Yuge! p. 106.)
Donald Trump’s greed, deception, egotism, hostility, vengefulness, and sexual exploitation are antithetical to the New Testament. How can Christians support him? I am baffled, and I welcome comments.
(Revised January 19, 2017)