Never Mind Trump. What’s Wrong with Everybody Else?

“Donald Trump said…”

Donald Trump has occasionally done some things that are right (which is why he got elected and why he still has supporters). But generally his term as President of the United States has revealed him to be foolish, erratic, self-centered, spiteful, impulsive, reckless, narrow-minded, and often untruthful and dishonest. I get that.

What I don’t get is other people. Every time Trump speaks or tweets, his words are greeted by an outpouring of surprise, shock, anger, outrage, horror, disbelief, mocking, and calls for his impeachment. His every word is reported and analyzed endlessly in the news media. Comedians, late night talk show hosts, and others in the entertainment industry attack him relentlessly, making him the prime target of their rants night after night. I have friends, many of them Canadian, who tweet or post negative things about Trump several times a day. Why? Don’t they have anything better to do? Is it like a car crash that is so horrible that they just can’t look away? I should say that I also have contacts—not as many— who tweet and post—not as often—positive things about Trump. But why this obsession with Donald Trump?

And why is the focus on Trump’s words? Some of his policies make sense, and some of them don’t. But nobody seems to care greatly about them. It is his words that everybody focuses on. And if people do comment on his policies, they comment on what he has said about his policies, not about the policies themselves. In fact, I am not sure that many Canadians, or even Americans, know what his policies are. We know what he has said, but do we know much about what he has done?  

Why the focus on Donald Trump’s words? It is not as if he is revealing anything new or, in many cases, important or insightful.

And what good does it do? While everyone is busy responding to Trump’s first words, he has often already contradicted himself, denied he said it, or said something else, which everyone feels they must also respond to. Why so much focus on Trump’s words, which receive far more attention than his policies? Why so much arguing about words, which leave everyone as confused as he is?

Why is there so much focus on Donald Trump in the media and social media? Most of his ideas are not profound enough to waste time on. Giving him that much attention just feeds into his agenda and bolsters his ego, showing him how important and ground-breaking he is. And the more he is attacked by other politicians, the media, and the entertainment industry (which has enough shallow, self-centered egotists and scandals of its own, including Trump at one time), the more his supporters rally around him, defending him against “the conspiracy of the liberal establishment.”

Why do so many people keep letting Trump set the agenda?

Do people think that if he hears enough criticism, he will change? Maybe, instead of attacking Donald Trump, people should just ignore him. Maybe if he was denied attention, he would just wither away into the insignificance he so richly deserves. Maybe if everybody focused on some other Republican, that Republican would gain enough attention and support that he or she could run against Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. Why reinforce Trump’s position as the most important Republican?

And why all the concern with impeachment? The checks and balances in the American system have worked well enough for the past three years that he has not been able to bring about the end of the world. If Trump ordered something truly catastrophic to be done, I suspect that his minions would quietly ignore him and wait for his attention to shift to something else. Surely Americans can put up with him and his nonsense for one more year.

Any attempt at impeachment would take a long time and would likely founder on the rock of political partisanship since the Republicans still have a majority in the Senate—just as Democrats countered Republican efforts to impeach Bill Clinton for professional sexual abuse. Any impeachment attempt, whether it succeeded or not, would be seen as a partisan effort—as it would be in reality since the only impeachment process in the American system is handled by politicians. There is no impartial judicial process to get rid of a sitting president. Even if impeachment succeeded, it would still be greeted by partisan bickering for months or years afterward. And the impeachment process would keep the focus right where it is now—on Donald Trump.

Why all the focus on impeaching him when a much easier solution is available in the ballot box? Is everyone afraid he might be re-elected? If so, shouldn’t people be focusing instead on why Trump might be re-elected? What is he saying and doing that might get him re-elected? Never mind what is wrong with Trump. What is wrong with the other candidates that many people think Trump might be preferable? Why is no one thinking and talking about that?

Why do Republicans put up with all of this? Why are they determined to let Donald Trump spoil their brand and drag them down with him? Why don’t they run a candidate against him in the primaries? Just about any candidate would appear intelligent, reasonable, and attractive by comparison.

I particularly don’t understand the Democrats. They are so locked into their feud with Trump that they go to the opposite extreme on every issue. He wants to build a wall, so they advocate for totally unfettered immigration. He is a capitalist, so they are pushing for socialism. He is labeled a “conservative,” so they seek out and promote the most extreme forms of sexual politics and social engineering they can find.  Every policy they propose is presented in terms of how it is different from one of Trump’s policies. Their speeches are full of vitriol, accusations, self-righteous anger, and name-calling, all directed at Trump. In fighting Trump, they have descended to his level. They are so busy bashing Trump that they are not thinking clearly about the American people and about the real issues that led people to vote for Trump in the first place. If the Democrats put up a middle-of-the-road candidate who could appeal to even some of Trump’s supporters, I think they would win in a landslide. If they could present a positive platform and an attractive vision for the country and offer a candidate who would appear presidential and statesmanlike, rising above the current deplorable state of American politics, Americans would most likely welcome that platform and that candidate with open arms. But they don’t. Why?



2 comments on “Never Mind Trump. What’s Wrong with Everybody Else?

  1. I’d like to respond to your ideas on Trump, JRC. One of your suggestions is to ignore him, then maybe he will “wither away into the insignificance he so richly deserves.” Wishful thinking, perhaps. He’ll probably go back to a reality TV show when all is said and done. The garrulous unwelcome house guest who never leaves. Ever.

    But more importantly are the words of retired Adm. William McRaven. He warns the greatest threat to American democracy comes from “the caustic rhetoric of President Donald Trump.” The very words you want us to ignore. I suggest everyone read his opinion piece, “Our Republic is Under Attack From The President” after reading this blog.

    • If Trump is so dangerous (and he may be), then the goal should be to replace him, and I think that is more easily accomplished by presenting a more positive vision to the country in the next election rather than keeping the focus on Trump.

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