The most unwelcome entrant into the Republican clown car has officially begun polluting our airwaves and brains. Marching through the Trump Tower to Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World”, which was not authorized by the Canadian singer, who in fact supports Bernie Sanders, Trump’s announcement was presidential in every way, with the demeanor of a narcissistic carnival barker rather than a sophisticated, intellectual candidate for the leader of the free world.
“Our country is in serious trouble, we used to have victories, but we don’t have them anymore? When’s the last time we beat China in a trade deal? I beat China all the time? When did we beat Japan at anything? Mexico is not our friend, they’re killing us economically. The US has become a dumping ground for everyone else’s problems, and these are the best and the finest. Mexico is sending people with lots of problems, they’re doing drugs, they’re bringing crime and rape. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America and probably from the Middle East.
Trump’s rambling speech touched on Hummvees, hotels in China – and was entirely delivered off the cuff, which may have contributed to his decision to make his own independent and entirely false claims about the unemployment rate, our national debt, the downsizing of the military, the effects of Obamacare. A man who clearly has no use for facts or numbers that don’t involve him.
“We need a truly great leader now. A leader that wrote the art of the deal, that can bring back our jobs, can bring back our military… and we also need a cheerleader”
The “making this country great” platitudes and vague pronouncements that barely resembled a policy opinion were in no shortage today from the billionaire, who called for the repeal of Obamacare, and to replace it with “something for everybody, but much better and much cheaper”. His statement that “I have lobbyists that can produce anything for me” reveals a sharp disconnect from reality, the delusions of an over-privileged buffoon. His inability to grasp basic sentence structure is similarly disconcerting, as seen when he said that “free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people, but we have stupid people, we have people who are not smart”.
The descent into lunacy continued with the statement that our leadership should emulate totalitarian China and our leaders, the declaration that he would make Mexico pay for a border fence, that he would berate his friend, the CEO of Ford, for building an auto factory in Mexico. A constant stream of offensive xenophobia and jingoistic exceptionalism was the theme of the day, echoing all the other Republican candidates but his boorish delivery really highlighted how absurd and illogical their talking points are.
Salon had the best conclusion regarding Mr. Trump’s decision to run:
“With Trump officially joining the race, he vindicates the increasingly obvious analysis that the Republican Party, at the presidential level at least, is little more than a shell corporation for opportunists and careerists who aren’t interested in governing or even winning.”
Trump is polling at a favorability rating of -32 points, and is deeply unpopular with 57% of his own party. He is the worst candidate in US history, and this may be the watershed moment of the lowest our political system has ever descended. He hasn’t even filed his FEC papers yet, With any luck, he won’t, but will reluctantly fade back into irrelevancy once again and our nation can get back to solving the issues we face with rationality and maturity.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.