Diagnosis for Democracy
Insights into the State of Our Union
A Blog by Rob Tenery, MD


October 6, 2015: Is Donald Trump Presidential?

By Rob Tenery, MD on October 6, 2015

The upcoming election for the nation’s highest office will be the first in my lifetime that a candidate could be elected who doesn’t owe loyalty to anything other that his own beliefs and the voters who put him there.

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Donald Trump is rich, white, brash and not as informed as many of the other candidates. Often, he defies political correctness, saying what he thinks and doesn’t seem to care whose feet get trampled. But after almost seven years of President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Eric Holder, he has tapped into America’s anger over racial divineness, war against the private sector and apologizing for the United States position of prominence in the world community. Trump thinks of himself as the ‘great white hope’ and he is convincing many others that he is.

Even if his growing popularity fades, as the long campaign drags on, Donald Trump’s footprints will set the tone for whoever ends up as the Republican nominee. One test for Donald Trump will be if he does not get the nomination. Will he stay in the race acting as the spoiler, as Ross Perot?  Not only would his becoming a third party candidate guarantee a win for the Democratic candidate, but would define him as a self-serving egomaniac that many try to make him out to be.

I wouldn’t claim to be a Trump supporter yet. Although his gritty performance on the last Republican Presidential debates would make us think otherwise, he may be more than his bluster. Trump is the antithesis of our current President. Unlike Obama, he’s usually not eternally apologetic, which can sometimes not be a good thing. No one can deny that Trump is a great businessman. It is also obvious that he supports the military. But what sets him apart from President Obama is that he believes in the greatness of this country, and he says he’s willing to try to make it great again. It’s obvious that he doesn’t need the money that would come with the lauded position. To him, it has to be something more--- maybe to cement his place in history by, once again, making us proud to be an American.

His campaign theme is restoring America’s prominence and stopping the flood of illegal immigrants across our southern border with Mexico--- promises made by most of the past occupants of White House in recent times. It may just be the confidence he projects, but he has a way of making us believe that he can do what he says.

Both Trump and the leading Democratic candidate for President have high disapproval ratings, but for different reasons. Trump for his unfiltered remarks, such as those pertaining to the illegal immigrants who flood across our southern border and John McCain not being a war hero (he did retract his comment later). Whereas, the leading Democratic candidate is looking less Presidential with each new revelation that pertains to her ‘lost emails’ and the questionable contributions to the Clinton Foundation.

Trump appears to be politically honest, and is authentic. He knows how to ‘work the system’ and wears it like a crown. Like him or not, he is who he says he is.  He doesn’t ‘owe’ any Wall Street mogul, union organization, industry or lobbying cartel anything; answering only to himself and, maybe, the voters. Rather than relying on donations that seem to always come with ‘strings attached’, he is willing to spend his own money to get his message out.

Concerns have been raised that Donald Trump may not really be a conservative, because, over the last two decades, he has donated significant funds to candidates in both parties. He argues that it is all part of  ‘doing business’. He did support Ronald Reagan when he first ran for President, as well as endorsing Mitt Romney in his try for the White House. To back that up, he has been vocal in his doubts over President Obama’s birth certificate and whether Obama’s college grades were good enough to warrant his acceptance at Harvard Law School.

Even with all his accomplishments in the business world, is Trump presidential? It’s a term that must take into account many factors. At a time when the Middle East is teetering on collapse from ISIS, Iran developing a nuclear weapon to ‘wipeout’ Israel, Putin’s aggressions in Ukraine and now Syria, the instability of the European Union, China’s territorial grabs from Taiwan and the Cartel’s control of Mexico, is Trump qualified to be the leader of the free world?

The answer may be to look back at some of our past Presidents: The marital unfaithfulness of John Kennedy and Bill Clinton didn’t seem to have compromised their role as Presidents, just their reputations. Truman’s lack of experience and lack of education, didn’t keep him from making the difficult decisions that ended World War II. It was Nixon’s deceit in the Watergate cover-up and Bill Clinton’s lying about his misadventures that did them in. The one virtue that seems to raise any President to a higher level is character--- that inner strength that defines who they are.  

Trump’s inner strength, and belief in this country, may be the most important qualifications in judging whether he would be a capable President. But, what sets Donald Trump apart from the rest of the candidates, on both sides, is that not only does he have character, but he is also a character!





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