Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Illogical Nomination

A year ago, it seems like we'd never be down to only one Republican nominee for President. It finally happened yesterday, though certainly not in the way anyone expected when this whole thing started.
I don't go out of my way to follow presidential primaries, but I don't have to. I do watch the news regularly, but I don't even need to do that. Just this morning, I was out for a walk around my neighborhood, and saw plenty of Trump yard signs. Takes very little beyond sticking your nose out the front door to hear about the presidential race these days.

None of the Republican candidates in this primary cycle were viable for me personally, as I've indicated before. So I'm just an observer when it comes to that particular circus. The way it all played out is interesting from the political science perspective, though.
Despite several months to get used to the idea, it still surprises me that Donald Trump (or Drumpf) is actually winning votes. He's broken all kinds of political rules that would sink any other candidate. In no particular order (and this is by no means a comprehensive list):
  • Outright repeated lies: Sure, all the politicians bend the truth in their speeches, intentionally or otherwise. Trump takes it to another level, though. According to Politifact, less than 1/3 of his statements are even half true. (At least, of those significant enough to be fact-checked.) I see quotes on the news and the Internet about Trump "telling it like it is," but he really isn't.
  • Offending large chunks of the electorate: Trump didn't waste any time offending people. When he announced his candidacy, the speech included a section calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. He's said all kinds of unflattering things about women. I suppose everything offends someone, but he's a master.
  • Insane promises: Again, all politicians do this to some extent. I don't think anyone else has suggested the insanity of walling off the entire border with Mexico and making them pay for it, though. At least, not while still winning a major party nomination.
  • No understanding of foreign policy: Trump's idea of fighting terrorists is to "bomb the s--t out of them." He said that he'd be willing to bar all Muslim immigrants to the US, and I can just imagine how that would affect how the rest of the world sees our country. (Not to mention how that ignores the entire concept of religious freedom.) 
If anyone else was going around saying these sorts of things, they'd be lucky to win a local school board election, much less a major party presidential nomination. Somehow, Trump has managed to convince otherwise sane people to simply ignore a good chunk of what he's said and vote for him anyway. Maybe they think he'll change his tune once actually elected, or think that his promise to shake up the political establishment is one he'll actually be able to keep. Or perhaps they actually hope he'll act according to his statements against other countries, minority races and religions, and women. I hate to think that would be case, but it happens.
Whatever the reason, Donald Trump is going to be prominent in the news for at least another six months. Maybe longer, if he wins the general election. One thing is for sure, whenever he opens his mouth, fact checkers are going to have their work cut out for them.

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