There is no sense in trying to be diplomatic about this: If you still support Donald Trump for president in August of 2016, I have zero respect for your thoughts, ideas, and beliefs.
I might like you. I may enjoy being around you. I may even consider you an important part of my life. But failing the Trump Test ensures that I have absolutely zero respect for your views, your (apparantly nonexistent) critical thinking skills, and pretty much anything you have to say about anything more important than your favorite fast food French fries.
Yes, I realize that by opening this way anyone who supports or who is thinking about supporting Donald Trump will not only be insulted and offended, and that I may lose the goodwill of some people in my life. I also realize they will be disinclined to listen to anything I have to say in this piece. They’ll totally tune me out right away.
I don’t care. At this late point in the game, if you still think that Trump is a candidate who deserves your vote, I’m not particularly concerned about how you feel or what you think, and sincerely doubt you have the ability to say anything that will make me inclined to think that you are someone worth listening to on topics more complicated than the best color sneakers. The rest of this post will explain why, but feel free to walk away now if you like. It may prevent you from hating me. Besides, as a Trump supporter, it’s unlikely any of what I’m about to say matters to you, anyway.
Note that I’ve packed this post with links to sources, the vast majority to legitimate and respectable news outlets rather than the insane little blogs you’ll often see pop up on your Facebook feed. You know the ones I mean; the nutty garbage your weirdo friends post that tends to be full of breathless speculation but light on actual sources and facts. They are all too prevalent on social media. My views and claims here are time and again backed up by verifiable facts. And if you quibble with one point, well, there are another 90 or so to deal with, you cherry-picking bastard.
Oh, and yes, the quotes I use as subheadings are all from Trump, and they are all real. So on with the show…
“There has to be some form of punishment [for women who seek abortions]”
A year ago, Donald Trump was a laughable longshot candidate who got attention by pushing buttons and engaging people’s misguided sense of outrage. It was the usual stuff you often hear from fringe candidates: Brown people are taking our jobs, brown people want to destroy us, we need the rule of law (for brown people), and lots of vague nonsense about The System and I’ll Stop Corruption and so on. It was hard to take him seriously then — even his own party didn’t take him seriously — and most people seemed to believe, quite reasonably, that when people began paying attention, the reality show buffoon who was all bluster and no substance would be forced out of the race.
But a funny thing happened on the way to November 2016. Donald Trump kept going.
He did it by riding a wave of fear, xenophobia, not-so-subtle bigotry, and the kind of empty but effective rhetoric demagogues having been using to rile up crowds for thousands of years. Trump supporters routinely deny these charges, of course, even when, say, his decades long history of barely-concealed racism is well-documented and undeniable. And believe me, Trump as a bigot is only the tip of a very ugly iceberg. We’ll get into that below.
Perhaps more concerning than Trump’s deep failings as a candidate is the fact that this guy still has supporters. It would be easy to lay into the long list of the idiotic policy stances, dumbfoundingly stupid comments, and sheer lunacy he has offered thus far — and I’m about to — but the truth is that Trump supporters do not care. Every criticism of Trump is met with, “Bu- bu- but Hillary! Benghazi!” (often without a damn bit of understanding of what the hell actually happened at Benghazi). When Donald Trump said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?”, he was tragically correct. I’ve seen it in action too many times.
Hell, just as I was proofreading this piece, he floated the idea of taking up arms against Hillary Clinton. Such statements should be frightening in their implication — the New York Daily News called for him to end his campaign following the comment — but make no mistake, his supporters will find inventive new ways to play dumb or to deflect with “bu-bu-but Hillary!” His campaign is already doing it, claiming he was simply urging Second Amendment supporters to vote as a block against Clinton — a clear lie and a terrible attempt at spin, since Trump was unambiguously talking about what would happen after she was elected, not before. The truth is that he was probably just really shitty at getting his thoughts out and accidentally implied that people could resort to violence. With that in mind, I’ll ask something I’ll return to throughout this piece: is that really a trait you want in a president? Isn’t a propensity for doing that sort of thing kind of dangerous? And doesn’t his inability to simply say, “I misspoke” like a mature adult say something important about him?
“If (Hillary Clinton) gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”
Having to find something inside yourself that allows you to be comfortable with a politician’s flaws is par for the course, no doubt about it. There are no flawless candidates at this level. Voting for Obama, Romney, McCain, Bush, Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Dole, all of them required one degree of nose-holding or another. This year, the Democrats have Hillary Clinton, a candidate few Democrats are truly excited about for good reason: for all her accomplishments, she comes across as stiff, out of touch, and more interested in ambition than service (not to mention the fact that “honesty” and “Clinton” are not exactly peanut butter and chocolate). There’s also the incredibly uncomfortable fact that she’s a Clinton — and no, I’m not referring to the idiotic conspiracy theory that people who don’t support her are killed. Put away your tinfoil hats, you lunatics. You’re almost as bad as Flat Earthers. I’m instead referring to my distaste for political dynasties, something I feel is strongly contrary to what the United States should be about, Roosevelts or no Roosevelts. We don’t do royalty in the U.S., or at least we shouldn’t, yet much like the Bushes, Clinton has essentially been treated as de facto royalty that we must grudgingly accept.
Yes, a couple of scandals have followed her, notably Buh-buh-buh-Benghazi! and bu-bu-bu-but emails! No, none have been able to stick despite over two decades of the right trying to make something stick on her. Unsurprisingly, this is hand-waved away as being part of some vast conspiracy to protect her. The media is in on it, the FBI is in on it, everyone is in on it. Despite few people actually liking her or particularly wanting her to be the face of the Democratic Party, even within her own party, the theory goes that a huge, monolithic system has been constructed to protect her at all costs, up to and including murder. The Clintons can’t get away with blow jobs, but they can leave a trail of bodies in their wake.
So anyway, political candidates usually suck in one way or another, and Hillary is no exception. Despite the knee-jerk reaction of many Trump supporters, who assume that if you’re anti-Trump you must be pro-Clinton, I have no interest in supporting her or defending her. Saying “Trump is awful” is not the same thing as saying “Clinton is great.” In fact, I’d say she’s the worst Democratic candidate since Gary Hart. In any other year, she’d spell doom for the Dems’ chances. A good candidate she ain’t.
And yet when it comes to candidates that make you wonder what we’re doing in a handbasket, even she pales in comparison next to Donald Trump, a man who has made a mockery of our election process and who has revealed millions of people to be buffoons, and a not insignificant percentage of them to be bigots, too.
Where do you even begin with him? That he is unfit to be president is not even a question for any reasonable person, no matter your political leanings.
I mean, he doesn’t understand why we don’t use nukes on our enemies, a view he now denies despite the fact that he’s said similar things before. Seriously, the man is pondering why we don’t nuke people. That alone is reason enough to never let him within 100 miles of the White House. That kind of thinking is fucking insane and dangerous.
In a sane world, that would be the only reason needed for people to realize this man is not fit for office. But it’s only the start.
“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.”
He’s a thin-skinned, immature manchild. His inability to take criticism makes him such a poor fit for the world’s most important diplomatic position I have a hard time believing anyone can envision him as a world leader. He’s so sensitive to criticism, he attacks the parents of dead soldiers. He lashes out like a child when criticized. He felt the need to defend the size of his dick during a national debate. He has pondered damaging the First Amendment because he doesn’t like people being critical of him. He has carried a grudge about a childish insult for 25 years and counting. In example after example after example, he has shown himself incapable of accepting criticism, a petulant child who takes to Twitter the instant someone gives him the side eye — and yet he’s running for a position that is arguably the most criticized on planet Earth. No one, no one, faces more scrutiny and criticism than an American president. (This analysis of his Tweeting speaks volumes.)
Do his supporters not see what a disastrous bout of buffoonery they are setting our country up for? Are they incapable of understanding the damage such a pouty, thin-skinned person can do to international diplomacy?
The answer, of course, is that they don’t care.
Just as they don’t care about his long, troubling history with bigotry. Oh, they are quick to dismiss it when it comes up. You’ll hear “race card” trotted out and all manner of back-breaking, physics-defying twisting about to avoid confronting the uncomfortable truth: Donald Trump is a loathsome bigot.
And if you support him, sorry, but you’re at least halfway down that road by proxy. His history of bigotry is not ambiguous.
“I have a great relationship with the blacks.”
At this point, this is another charge that no reasonable person can deny once faced with the facts. Let’s set aside the fact that he has circulated material from white supremacist groups on more than one occasion (though we shouldn’t set it aside) (and yeah, Trump supporters, if you’re circulating images literally and verifiably created by white supremacist groups, that’s kind of fucked up and you’re kind of loathsome if you try to excuse it). As a response to the repeated accusations of racism against Trump, a silly meme has circulated saying, “Donald Trump has been in the public eye for 30 years and he was never once accused of being racist by anyone until he decided to run against Democrats.”
Except that’s complete bullshit. He’s been repeatedly accused of being a racist since the 1970s. The Department of Justice came after him and his company in the early 1970s for alleged racial discrimination. The company settled. He was accused of racism again in the 1980s for his response to the Central Park jogger case. Even though the accused black youths were exonerated with DNA evidence, as recently as 2013 he was still hinting that they were guilty. He was accused again in the early 1990s in John R. O’Donnell’s Trumped! The Inside Story of the Real Donald Trump, where he’s quoted as saying “laziness is a trait in blacks” and saying he hates letting blacks count his money. A few years after the book was published he told Playboy, “The stuff O’Donnell wrote about me is probably true.”
Did you catch that? “The stuff O’Donnell wrote about me is probably true.”
That’s just the stuff concerning African Americans, too. He’s more than happy to engage in bigoted bullshit concerning others as well. For example, in 1993 he was accused of racism in his casino dealings with Native American tribes. In 2000, he settled a suit that stemmed from anonymous ads he took out that included rhetoric like, “The St. Regis Mohawk Indian record of criminal activity is well documented.” His xenophobic and decidedly anti-American views on Muslims are well-documented. Same with his fear-mongering concerning Mexicans, which wasn’t helped by his tone deaf “I love Hispanics” taco bowl tweet, which came off more like your awkward racist-in-denial uncle uttering cringe-worthy gems at a family gathering than a man ready to take the most powerful office in the world. He even kept a book of Hitler speeches by his bed. Yes, you read that right. Frickin’ Hitler speeches.
I still haven’t gotten to his laughable status as an Obama Birther, either, nor his repeated insinuations that Obama is a secret Muslim (which he continues to imply to this day), his attacks on a judge because of the judge’s ethnicity, his recent suggestion that a Muslim mother didn’t speak alongside her husband at the DNC because she wasn’t “allowed” to (it doesn’t take a genius to read between the lines there), and so many more it’s making me dizzy.
An accusation here or poorly chosen turn of phrase there that gets blown out of proportion is one thing. This is quite another. It’s a decades long pattern of racial and cultural insensitivity, bias, and bigotry by a man who refuses to back down from it, refuses to acknowledge the reality of what he says and does, and who even hesitated to condemn the KKK. There is a reason why a steady stream of white nationalists support Donald Trump. The head of the American Nazi Party recently called a Trump victory “a real opportunity for people like white nationalists.” There just isn’t any denying what this man is. If you attempt to explain it away … well, go see the first few paragraphs of this piece.
Straight up, if you are supporting him, you are either supporting these views or are willing to ignore them. Good job. You’re kind of loathsome.
Even his own party recognizes that Trump doesn’t give a moment’s thought to anyone who isn’t an angry white person. Izzy Santa, the RNC’s former Hispanic media director, told Buzzfeed, “There’s no infrastructure and no plan because the Trump camp doesn’t want to take diverse voters into account.”
“I would bring back waterboarding and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”
Tragically, Trump doesn’t even need to be elected to do damage to this country. He already has. His rhetoric has already helped poison the well (and it’s not the first time over the years he’s been accused of that). He has made bigots comfortable with being bigots again for the first time in decades. Bigotry and racism never died, of course — if you think black Americans don’t live by a different set of rules in this country, you’d give Helen Keller a run for her money — but at least we had reached a point where we all agreed that it was shameful to be a racist. Bigots were encouraged to shut their damn mouths, their poison shared only in private or with knowing glances and nods. Yet now, Trump is making bigotry mainstream again. The damage is done and it’s getting worse by the day.
President Obama has been accused of being “the most racist president in history” for having the temerity to acknowledge that racism still exists and remains a problem to be addressed. No, I don’t understand the amazing mental hoops someone has to jump through to come up with that kind of nonsense, but it’s an incredibly common sentiment.
Meanwhile, a repeated, clear, unquestionable bigot is the frontrunner for the GOP and all his supporters can muster when it’s pointed out it, “Bu-bu-but Hillary!”
That’s always the answer to criticism about Trump. Talk about his dishonesty instead of his race-baiting and you’ll get the same response. Point out Trump’s long list of lies and false statements to a Trump supporter and the response is not unlike a child who immediately points to another kid when caught doing something wrong: “But Johnny spilled a glass of milk” from a kid who just got caught chucking rocks at cars. It makes you wonder about the maturity level of the people who resort to it.
But I digress. Trump’s list of lies grows by the day, and he never backs off from them. He loves to tell lies in bunches. Court depositions lay bare his propensity to exaggerate and spin untruths (in this specific case, he was caught fibbing 30 times). He claimed to have seen a video of hundreds of Muslims celebrating in New York after 9-11. No such video exists. When a journalist correctly reported that no such video existed, Trump mocked the reporter’s disability. He now lies about having done it. He most recently claimed to have seen video of money being delivered to Iran by plane. No such video exists. PolitiFact, an independent fact-checking organization, examined statements made by an array of candidates since 2007. Hillary Clinton is a politician, and as such she’s not particular honest. Some 50% of her statements were rated as “half true” or worse. It’s not a flattering portrait – until you look at Trump, who spouts half true or worse comments over 90% of the time. Over 60% are rated flat-out FALSE.
The list of Trump B.S. quickly becomes overwhelming. And yes, there is more.
He has claimed to never settle lawsuits. That is a lie. He has said we have a $500b trade deficit with China. Wrong. He said, “I never met Putin. I don’t know who Putin is.” Total rubbish. Back in 2011, he claimed that people who went to Obama’s school never actually saw him there. False. Also in 2011, he claimed Kuwait never paid back the U.S. for ousting Saddam Hussain. Not true. He has recently claimed he never said Japan should have nukes. Yes he did. He claimed people knew about the San Bernadino attacks in advance and did not turn the attackers in. Pure fiction. He said Clinton and the Democrats rigged the debates so that they would take place at the same time as NFL games, thus sapping away viewers. More fiction. He shared some racially-loaded crime statistics on Twitter. Yes, they were made up. Just as he has aired vague accusations about Obama’s religion, he has done the same about Clinton, claiming we know nothing about her beliefs. He’s either ignorant or a liar.
“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
The list keeps going. I could spend another hour listing them and linking to verifiable sources, but let’s be honest, the effort would be futile. Supporters will dismiss this in the usual way. PolitiFact is surely biased if Trump does not look good by their standards. The same accusation is often hurled at Snopes, in semi-viral articles that are incredibly light on substance and incredibly dense with vague accusations. These accusations are easily dismantled. In fact, when Snopes was independently investigated to determine whether or not they are secretly a biased site in the pocket of the Democrats, they got an A.
Perhaps more importantly, Trump supporters could simply fact-check the fact-checkers and PROVE that PolitiFact and Snopes get it wrong on him. They could dismantle a Snopes debunking with good sources, verified facts, and a lack of the weasel words all too common on far right and far left blogs. Note that they rarely do. That’s telling.
Trump, meanwhile, continues to spin whoppers and his supporters continue to ignore them. His status as an honest straight-talker was dismantled last year – longer ago, if you’ve paid attention to his career – but he offers so many untruths each one just gets lost in the sea of them. To steal John Oliver’s analogy, it’s like a bed of nails. Step on just one nail and it will screw up your world. Step on a dense bed of them and no one nail will pierce your flesh.
And these aren’t vague accusations by fringe lunatics that are dogging him, similar to “Hillary murders anyone in her way.” This is public stuff that can be verified by anyone with an 8th grade diploma, an Internet connection, and ten minutes of time on their hands.
Yet the response when these lies and misstatements are pointed out is pretty consistent: the media must be biased against him. He’s already trying to build a case that the election is rigged against him, too, and his supporters are eating it up, because obviously if everyone in their echo chamber likes Trump, the whole country must be united behind him, right? The only way the media can say otherwise is bias.
The facts say otherwise. Reality is biased against him.
Genuine conservatives are struggling with how to deal with his untruths, though even as early as February commentators were pointing out that it just doesn’t matter. Politicians lie. Every candidate in this election so far has some lies on their record, Trump’s Democratic opponent included. That’s because politicians basically suck. That Trump himself is so many miles ahead of everyone else in that regard should be troubling to any reasonable person. Even MORE troubling should be his inability to admit when he is wrong or when he spoke falsely. Remember when you were a kid and you got in more trouble for lying about what you did wrong than you did for what you actually did wrong? Important lesson about honesty, maturity, and owning up to your actions there, one Trump never learned. Even Bill Clinton, who told a huge whopper on national TV and lied right to our faces, admitted to using weasel words in an attempt to lie without really lying. Bill Clinton is not a noble man, and those actions were pretty goddamn scummy, but at least he was adult enough to admit that he screwed up.
Trump, on the other hand, has both a deep history of untruths and a complete inability to admit when he’s made a mistake. He actually bragged on Jimmy Fallon that he has never had to apologize because he’s never wrong.
This is not a trait a president should have.
And even without all this bigotry and all these half-truths, he’d still be kind of a shitty candidate.
This is a guy whose campaign is largely based on sowing the seeds of fear and talking in big, broad terms about how awesome he is — no great surprise, given that his greatest claim to fame is that he stamps his name on everything he touches. He repeatedly tells people how he’s one of the smartest people around (and in really childish ways), which is hilarious because actual smart people don’t need to tell you they’re smart. It’s immature, embarrassing, and nonsensical. His bragging is weird and juvenile, and is readily debunked to boot. And like a bloodthirsty child, he not only endorses torture, but claims he’d order U.S. troops to commit war crimes and appears to endorse mass executions. This goes beyond “would be poor at international relations” and is deeply, firmly in “international disaster” territory.
Even the stuff that he supposedly has going for him turns out to be a lot of smoke and mirrors. He and his supporters tout the delicious Kool Aid of his business success, but that’s a load of hot air. Not only has he enjoyed a string of high profile business failures, when you run the numbers you discover he inherited a ton of cash and couldn’t even outperform the market. That doesn’t speak well to his skills as a business genius. He’s fantastic at selling HIMSELF and his name, but as the Washington Post points out, when it comes to actually netting a return on his business investments, “Trump’s returns are less even than those of an ordinary investor saving for retirement.”
So much for his business acumen.
“I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”
Amazingly, we’re not done yet. Yes, there are more nails to add to this bed. No other presidential candidate in history has been involved in more lawsuits than Donald Trump. It’s not just because he’s a businessman, either, because we’ve had businessmen-turned-presidents before, and loads of candidates who ran on their business background. Besides, if history has been any indication, businessmen don’t make good presidents (which the New York Times also pointed out in 2012). And racism? Don’t worry, he has an equally extensive history with sexism, too. His boorish behavior has often been discussed. He mocks the disabled and then, like a child, attempts to weasel his way out of what he did by playing word games. He’s a marital cheater who has repeatedly said creepy things about his daughter. He bizarrely pretended to be his own publicist, a charge he denies even though there are tapes of his calls. He got repeated deferments to avoid Vietnam, then had the gall to shame a genuine Vietnam War hero. Months later, he still won’t back down or apologize. If that seems childish, perhaps there is a reason for that: An analysis of his speeches shows that he speaks like a child — which is no doubt a great deal of his appeal to many, even if they don’t realize it. It means they can understand him. (Yes, Trump Supporter, I’m saying what you think I’m saying.) And for what it’s worth, Trump likely thinks the same: in 1999, he said poor people are morons, and earlier this year he said, “I love the poorly educated.”
Of course he does. They are on the cusp of launching him into the White House.
All of this makes his absolutely unfit to be President of the United States. There really isn’t much debate possible on that, because no thinking person can explain all this away without a hand-waving dismissal that amounts to sticking your fingers in your ears and saying, “La la la la la not listening!”
Look, I’ve got little good to say about Hillary Clinton. She’s an unexciting establishment candidate who is just a continuation of the same old political system we’ve had for ages. She’s unlikely to offer any sort of positive change for the country, her positions are fairly weak, and she can’t shrug aside sleaziness with the aplomb her charismatic husband managed to do. She’s just not inspiring in any way and she’s got the honesty of a typical career politician, which is to say if she tells you it’s raining you’re still going to open the window and check yourself. She’s the epitome of an establishment suit. All status quo all the time.
Yet she’s also not a clumsy, self-aggrandizing blowhard of a bigot who relies on fear and division to rally her supporters, so she’s got that going for her.
“She does have a very nice figure. If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
If you supported Trump when he first got rolling in 2015, I get it. He touted himself as a guy who wanted to break a corrupt system. That probably felt exciting. His need to put TRUMP on everything in huge letters gave him the illusion of being successful, and that’s appealing. I get that, too. I understand why early on you may have been intrigued by him.
But at this juncture, if you are actually paying attention and you still support him, it’s unlikely I will ever again respect your views and beliefs on just about anything, and it’s not out of the question that I will never again respect your intelligence. You may be a friend or family member, I may like you and consider you an important part of my life — I can separate those things from your (frankly baffling) beliefs — but I can’t muster up a damn bit of respect for anything you believe or say. I just can’t. Given all of the above and then some, it’s just too impossible a hill to climb.
This isn’t merely about disagreeing with someone politically. I’ve disagreed with many, many people I respect over the years, and will do so again many times in the years ahead. I continue to respect those people and their views. In fact, some of the people whose views I respect the most fundamentally disagree with me on some key issues, and that’s fine. It’s what makes the world go ’round. There is a lot to learn from people who see the world a little different than you do.
Yet this …
Donald Trump is not merely an embarrassing oaf (though he is certain that). He is a dangerous man. He’s dangerous for this country, he’s dangerous for the world, and on a personal level, he’s dangerous to how I see you.
Because if you support him now, in August 2016, after his last year of campaigning, well, I have to question every aspect of your judgment — and the answer is not a good one.