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


Truth or Dare: Is Trump's Campaign for Real?

By Rob Tenery, MD on December 14, 2015

The most important question about the current campaign to follow Barack Obama for President is whether Donald Trump’s run is for real. We know that he is a great businessman and he has had thousands and thousands Mexicans and women that have worked for him, because he tells us so. Trump also claims that he is financing his own campaign, so he is not ‘beholding’ to anyone or any special interest. But his message that is at the crux of his whole run for the Presidency is that he wants ‘to make this country great again’.

One point seems clear is that, more than any other candidate in either party, Trump controls who will follow Obama.

The second leading question that has yet to be answered is will the security violations that have been leveled at Hillary Clinton, when and after she held the position of Secretary of State, take her out of the election. There appears to be very little question that she violated federal security regulations that would put the average person either in prison or, at the least, with severe fines. The unknowns at this point are, after the FBI completes its investigation, will the Director James Comey recommend charges be brought against her? Second, if Comey recommends charges, will the Attorney General Loretta Lynch take Clinton to court? If the FBI recommends that charges be filed, convicted or not, it will be difficult, to impossible, for her to stay in the campaign. If the FBI does not file charges against her, the public awareness of her national security violations, her very poor handling of Benghazi and her questionable influence on donations to the Clinton foundation may be enough for the electorate to question her veracity as President. Still at this point, the likely Democratic nominee will be Hillary Clinton, unless, charges are filed against her. Then the nomination, most probably, will fall to Bernie Sanders. Remembering how Hillary Clinton lost to the then Senator Barack Obama, eight years ago, even if her campaign continues, the outcome is not guaranteed.

The Republican race for the Presidency is still very much in question. The three candidates that appear now to still be in the running are Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Many predicted that, with every political misstep, Trump would flame out. The Republican base hopes for that to occur, not that they oppose what he says, but are very concerned with his apparent callousness on the issues that alienate constituencies such as the women, Mexicans and now Muslims. To most pundits’ surprise, Trump’s popularity has grown as his support solidifies around him. But, so far, so have his unfavorables.

Looking at the possible scenarios for the Republican candidates, there appear to be four: Trump wins the Republican nomination outright. Trump flames out, and loses the state primary races. Trump wins in the state primaries, but not enough delegates to push him over the top at the Republican nominating convention. If enough delegates at the convention rally to his side, he them becomes the nominee. If they abandon him for another candidate, then it is reasonably likely Trump will run as an independent, insuring the Democratic nominee the Presidency.

Like him or despise him, Trump has opened a dialogue on immigration (closing the border, repealing birthright citizenship and closing Muslim immigration) that would not have taken place, to the extent it has, if had not entered the race.

No matter who ends up following Obama, the race to the White House is in the hands of Trump. If he feels he has ‘not been treated fairly’, only he knows what that means, he has two choices: Graciously step away and urge his supporters to back the Republican nominee or declare his candidacy as an Independent.  Trump is very savvy. He knows exactly what the consequences of his decision to go independent would mean to the outcome of the election. All one has to do is look at Ross Perot getting Bill Clinton elected, when he ran as an Independent, to see what would happen.

For now, Trump should be taken at his word and let the voters make their decisions in the primaries. Because of the significant anger in this country, his brashness, distasteful comments and biases may be offset by his passion to take on the problems of immigration and terrorism that no other candidate seems willing to address at his level.

Is Donald Trump telling the truth when he claims his reason for running is ‘to make this country great again’? Or if he loses, would he dare to ‘pick up his marbles and go home’; leaving this country with four more years like the last eight? 





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