This week’s top news story was again Donald Trump. No surprise there. His voice is loud, honest and clear.
THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE ROBBER BARON?
Trump, a billionaire real estate mogul, prolific entertainer, and now politician is a modern day robber baron. I say that with the respect due for those few American barons that have mastered the financial and political system so completely that they are virtually above the law and social precepts. These men include the likes of Rockefeller, Ford, Sloan, Hearst, and Getty.
None of these names associated with his own would offend Mr. Trump, and frankly the majority of American free enterprise is modeled on entrepreneurs both young and old aspiring to become the next name numbered amongst these icons of enterprise.
A fundamental difference between these men and Trump is that the majority preferred to exercise their influence the same way Trump had become accustomed to wielding his own influence; through the funding of campaigns and back room deals. I do not think this prior approach was due to the humility of these men, but simply reflective of two fundamental facts; the first that the position of president would distract these men from building their empires, which in their respective eras were vastly influential. The second is that, although in certain arenas these men were competitors, it was hard to engage in free enterprise under the limitations imposed by public service, especially service so carefully watched as that of the POTUS.
WITH ALL THAT SUCCESS, WHY APPLY FOR A JOB?
It begs the question why Trump would decide to trade his clear influence for, arguably, the toughest job in the world. I believe Mr. Trump would answer this question the way he has answered this in the past, i.e., because he wants to, “make America great again!”
Of course, although I am far from an expert of the plethora of conflict of interest policies that swirl around the office of the presidency it might also be the case that a wall paid for by a foreign entity would be open to bidding by what is ostensibly a Trump-controlled entity. The “Great Wall of Trump” might be just the thing to make a man thought to be worth around $3 billion shortly after groundbreaking worth upwards of $50 billion.
He has argued, and I must say that I agree, that the United States is on the verge of becoming, if it has not already become, a second or third world country. Before anyone starts arguing that “we still have the greatest economy in the world today, that we still have positive population growth, that the Dow is still above, or at least near, 18000 (forget about that 1000 point one day drop…it was a fluke)”, and another million details that simply serve to obscure the forest by focusing disproportionately on the trees, the simple fact is that one of the core reasons for his popularity is that the average American doubts the attainability of the American dream.
The fact is that there is a large pool of people who believe immigrants, both legal and illegal, have a better chance of buying that house with a white picket fence than those who are native born.
The members of that pool with children are fearful that their children will have less opportunity than they had.
Trump, like Rockefeller, is an aggressive businessman, and generally is a shark amongst guppies. But perhaps the biggest difference between Trump and those others mentioned is that, as a class, what was once the “silent majority” is now feeling the pressures often felt by minority groups; albeit a vocal minority that may now feel the need to openly do what in the past was not necessary to openly declare given the circumstances.
THE DEMOGRAPHIC CLIMATE IS CHANGING
In the next 40 years Latinos will become the dominant racial affiliation in no fewer than six U.S. states. According to the most recent figures released by Pew Research, “Since 1970, the Hispanic population has grown 592%, largely because of the arrival of new immigrants from Latin America — especially Mexico. By comparison, the U.S. population overall has grown 56% over the same period.”
For Asian Americans the Brookings Institute recently released estimates predicting the doubling of their category of the population, achieving an effective growth rate of 129% by 2060.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau during this same period the forecast for the black population trends slightly upward, and the nation’s white population trends downward.
THE RISE OF TRUMP REX
If we had the ability to see a live tyrannosaurus rex in captivity I am sure it would be an awe inspiring attraction and generate some of the largest, if not the largest, revenues of any venue it may happen to appear at. The T.rex of lore was a smart, insatiable, apex predator dominant until its extinction.
In the end a similar sense, that is, of impending extinction may be what is spurring on Trumps supporters. A sense of impending doom, as if perhaps our great country may go the way of the dinosaur if something is not done quickly pervades the current presidential campaign. Of course it is actual terrestrial climate change that we blame for helping foment the end of the reign of mighty tyrannosaurus rex. Right now the greater focus is obviously the political climate.
Yet as dominant as Trump Rex appears today, I am still not sure the meaty prize he has set his eyes upon will not be the very thing that diverts him from it. The same ability he has to cut through topics or people to simplify the debate is more often divisive than substantive. The Tyrannosaurus ate what it killed and did not leave enemies behind. As efficient and unapologetic a predator as Trump may seem to be he seems just as efficient at making enemies. It seems only a matter of time before Trump Rex bites off more than he can chew.
BEING POPULAR NOT NECESSARY TO WIN
To win the popular vote Trump will need the support of Latino and Asian Americans. Of course, the electoral college has been known to “trump” the popular vote from time to time. Since the founding of our country, from as far back as 1824 (Adams vs. Jackson) until as recently as 2000 (Bush vs. Gore) the popular vote has not been sufficient to elect and seat the president no less than four times.
Ultimately no matter what November has in store, as it has always been the case it will be up to us, united and not divided, to make it (the world) a better place. I hope we can keep America great while we’re at it!