I was shopping at a large, discount retailer last week for a dress. I had only 45 minutes, so I quickly grabbed three and found the fitting room. I put the first one on over my head, a pretty, blue dress. It didn't look great on me, and I started to take it off. But its stiff waist got stuck around my shoulders. I tried to wriggle out of it, but no luck. I started to panic -- worried I would have to yell for an employee to help. I took a deep breath, and finally freed myself. I put on my glasses and looked at the label: it was from the Ivanka Trump collection.
The dress is a perfect metaphor. I'm starting to panic that we're going to be stuck with Ivanka's father as president. And I'm stuck in the endless feed of stories about Donald, unable to write about much else lately.
The day after the dress incident, a friend sent me an article from The American Spectator called, "Why Donald Trump Should be President," by Don Surber. My friend said she'd like to see me take on the author, point by point. How could I resist? So here goes. The words in bold are my additions to Surber's ten points.
1. Inspires and motivates others to hate, and speak freely about it.
Surber's example is a golfer who Trump encouraged to go for the PGA. Great.
But for some Americans, Trump is the motivational mouthpiece for all the prejudicial things they've wanted to say, but didn't dare. He didn't create racism or even wake it up. But he gave it permission to come out of the closet, to be shouted and applauded, en masse. His voice is that of an authoritarian leader, and the voices he courts are the angry operatic mob, carrying pitchforks and brimming with malice.
2. Displays high integrity and honesty about almost nothing.
Surber says fellow billionaires like T. Boone Pickens and Carl Icahn vouch for Trump. He says in business your word is your bond. So we should take Trump's promises at face value, meaning he's a misogynistic racist who knows little about the world. And honest? Are you kidding? Trump lies and exaggerates daily about everything from his businesses, to his view of world events, to past statements he's made and the people he's mocked.
3. Solves Problems and analyzes issues in a vacuum.
When you don't care about facts -- and Trump rarely does unless they benefit him -- you don't need them to make assessments or solve problems. Take the Egyptair crash. Within hours he was tweeting that it was a terrorist attack. Maybe so. But it's dangerous for someone in his position to make such a major assumption without the facts. True leaders know when to speak, and when to wait for evidence to analyze and assess a situation.
4. Drives for results to fill his own pockets.
Of course he's driven - that's not in question. But his motivation isn't altruistic - it's always been about his ego, and his lifestyle, which is lavish, and on display. It's easy to strive for your own interests when handed one million dollars, and all the privilege that goes with it. But it's not as easy to be driven on behalf of other people. It's ego gratification and power Trump's after.
5. Communicates powerfully and prolifically to hear himself speak.
Surber writes, "He was the Big Dog who showed that the rest in the litter were runts." If you want a pit bull to be president, then you've got the right dog. He's the macho loudmouth, the self-satisfied womanizer. He is the classic narcissist. Strongmen, dictators, authoritarian rulers - they've all possessed that charisma that Surber admires. Frankly I can't stand to hear Trump talk - all the bravado and childish attacks. Clinton is crooked Hillary. Warren is goofy Elizabeth. Lyin' Ted, little Marco. But some people love it. And some people loved Mussolini, Hitler and Gaddafi too.
6. Builds relationships, and tears them down.
We can get personal and talk about what he did to first wife Ivana or second wife Marla. Or we can talk about his already precarious relationships with world leaders, many of whom express fear of a Trump presidency. Some U.S. allies have used adjectives like "stupid" to describe his ideas. I get hives imagining him talking to leaders in Asia or the Middle East.
7. Displays technical or professional expertise about nothing presidential.
Surber says Trump's sons know how to operate a D-10 Caterpillar. That will certainly help them all in the Rose Garden. What knowledge or ability does Trump possess that qualifies him to be president? He knows nothing about foreign policy, balancing government budgets, education, diplomacy, or the Supreme Court. He knows how to navigate bankruptcy, and how to build a fake university that bilked people out of their hard earned savings. That's expertise.
8. Displays a strategic perspective to keep people who are other, out.
The only consistent strategy we've heard from Trump is how he's going to bar Mexicans and Muslims from the U.S.
9. Develops others into a xenophobic frenzy.
Surber's only example here is how Trump turned his caddy into his social media director. I say he develops others into his mouthpieces -- the "build that wall" chant is one of his great unifying achievements on the campaign trail.
10. Innovates exclusion.
Until Trump, Surber writes, candidates had to go out and raise millions for their campaigns. He says Trump didn't buy the election, but earned it by rallying people around America. Yes, that most noble America -- for the angry, white, Christian male.
If we get stuck with Trump, we'll all be raising our arms -- either in surrender or salute -- to America's first authoritarian president. And once he's put his little hand on that big book and sworn allegiance to this country, we're not going to be able to wriggle out of whatever he tries to pull over our eyes.