Trump's widespread appeal cannot be denied, as well the electoral facts that made him the GOP nominee. Fundamental to both of these realities is the indisputable anger of the American people -- the fuel (many would claim) to Trump's fire.
I could debate the countless issues #NeverTrump groups cite. Yet for the purpose of this article, I want to focus on the proclamation behind Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again": the idea that Donald Trump is an American prophet, here to deliver America to the promised land. Or to put it in his words, "I alone can fix it."
While Trump has never explicitly identified himself as prophetic, why hold our breath? His avid supporters undoubtedly think of him as such, and he clearly believes he is. Now that Trump is the GOP's nominee, it's worth asking: Is Trump an actual prophet, capable of fixing our broken-body politics? Or is he a sham, who will only lead us down the primrose path?
Like many Americans, I long for a politician capable of leading us from the wilderness -- someone who will bring commonsensical change to Washington. On the surface, I'm attracted to the prospect of a strong business leader fixing the abysmal mess that is both political parties.
But is Trump that leader? As an informed electorate, we must answer this question factually. By analyzing Trump's "strengths" one-by-one, I'll attempt to do so.
"He Has an Excellent Business Track Record"
Trump has created a real estate empire, that's clear. Yet countless building developments, some successful, some complete failures, do not necessarily correlate with top-notch business skills. More, The Trump Organization is a private company that publishes very little data, making wholistic business analysis extremely difficult.
The business research we could rummage, however, is not reassuring:
- If Trump had invested his inheritance intelligently, rather than engaging in his business endeavors, he would have netted more money.
- Four of Trump's companies went bankrupt.
- He licenses his name extensively, even to other builders; many "Trump" buildings were not actually built by Trump.
- LinkedIn shows only 291 current employees of The Trump Organization
- Trump University is subject to several lawsuits and does not appear to have benefited its students significantly.
Tons of data proving Trump's business genius may exist in the ether, but he's the only one who can access it. Until this data is released, Trump's "excellent" business track record must remain an unknown.
"He's Tough Enough to Get the Job Done"
This phrase is touted regularly, by Trump and his supporters. But where's the evidence? Trump loves to hate on war heroes like John McCain (because McCain was "captured"), but what tough decisions has he made? What courage has he shown, serving others or our country? Again, what evidence does exist (an arsenal of insults against well-respected American figures) indicates that Trump is not tough, but rather thin-skinned.
"He Can Assemble Great Teams"
Excellent leadership requires excellent team-building abilities. If Trump is so talented at team assembly, why are so few business and policy experts eager to work with him? Where are all his former business colleagues, and why aren't they rallying around him? Where is Trump bringing Bill Gates as America's Chief Technology Officer or Warren Buffett as Treasury Secretary? Again, the proof is in the pudding: great leaders are supported by great followers, collaborators, and friends. If Trump has led so effectively, I'd expect cheers rather than silence from previous "teammates."
"He Says it Like it is"
Trump certainly embodies Americans' right to free speech. He has absolutely no filter, and I find some of the things he says refreshing. Yet almost every fact-checking service has crowned Trump the king of falsity. As of March 2016, PolitiFact found that only 9 percent of the statements Trump made were true or mostly true -- meaning nearly 100 percent of his statements were false.
There's a big difference between "telling it like it is" -- that is, stating factual realities in a stark, unabashed fashion -- and saying what people want to hear and calling it "fact." By falsifying facts that play on many Americans' frustrations, Trump exploits ignorant citizens and fuels an increasingly delusional, and dangerous campaign.
Let's Follow the Facts
Many Americans believe our nation is paralyzed by dysfunctional politics, myself included. In theory, a skilled and resilient business leader, who brings common sense solutions and can build strong teams seems like a fantastic solution. America may need a savior, but when it comes to the facts, Trump is clearly a false prophet. So as election season advances, I advise you vote with your head, not your heart.