July 23, 2016

The Case Against Donald Trump

I shouldn't need to make a case against Donald Trump, because the case against Donald Trump seems so incredibly obvious. And yet as I scroll through my Facebook feed, I see that some friends are supporting the man. What follows are seven arguments meant to persuade individuals of all political persuasions that Donald Trump is unfit to be president. 

Argument #1: Donald Trump has very little regard for the Constitution.

Trump's disregard for the First Amendment is well known: he's said the government should be empowered to shut down parts of the internet and to close mosques, and he has promised to "open up" libel laws so that he can more easily sue journalists who criticize him. Trump has also long held contempt for the Fifth Amendment's the prohibition against seizing private property except for "public use," as evidenced by his lobbying efforts over the years to use eminent domain to force unwilling homeowners and business owners to sell to him. Nor does Trump value the Fourteenth Amendment, which his promise to deport natural-born citizens whose parents came here illegally blatantly violates. Furthermore, he has shown contempt for the separation of powers, the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against torture, Article II's implied prohibition against unilaterally abrogating treaties, as well as Article's I and III, as evidenced by his plan to govern through broad executive orders.

Argument #2: Donald Trump is a sociopathic liar.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact has to date fact-checked over 200 of Donald Trump's statements and concluded that 72 percent of them are either False, Mostly False, or Pants on Fire. The organization has never given a politician so many negative ratings. Similarly, FactCheck.org stated, "In the 12 years of FactCheck.org’s existence, we’ve never seen his match. He stands out not only for the sheer number of his factually false claims, but also for his brazen refusals to admit error when proven wrong." Politico measured "how many lies Trump told over the course of 4.6 hours of speeches" and "found that he lied, on average, once every five minutes." Huffington Post "catalogued his lies over the course of just one town hall event" and "came up with 71 lies." From the claim that he watched "thousands and thousands of people" cheering as the World Trade Center collapsed to the claim that his campaign is "100 percent" self-funded to the claim that 81 percent of murdered whites are killed by blacks -- Trump lies habitually. 

Argument #3: Donald Trump is alarmingly ignorant of policy issues.

Senate Republican Leader and Trump supporter Mitch McConnell stated in June that Trump needed to pick "someone highly experienced and very knowledgeable" as a running mate "because it’s pretty obvious he doesn’t know a lot about the issues." We've repeatedly seen in debates and interviews that Trump loves to make bold proposals but when asked for details simply cannot deliver. The Washington Post writes: "Existing trade deals are 'stupid,' but Mr. Trump does not say how they could be improved. The Islamic State must be destroyed, but the candidate offers no strategy for doing so. Eleven million undocumented immigrants must be deported, but Mr. Trump does not tell us how he would accomplish this legally or practically." Eugene Robinson noted after reading the Post's hour-long interview with Trump: "Donald Trump’s ignorance of government policy, both foreign and domestic, is breathtaking" and that he "appears to know next to nothing about the issues that would confront him in the job." It's not surprising that Trump is not much of a reader.

Argument #4: Donald Trump is not a successful businessman.

Trump claims that his extraordinary business acumen uniquely qualifies him for office, but the truth is that his father was an enormously wealthy real estate tycoon who made his son's venture into real estate possible. The elder Trump not only loaned Donald $1 million to build the Grand Central Hyatt in 1978, but he guaranteed a $70 million construction loan. Over the years, Trump has bankrupted six companies, including two Atlantic City casinos in the early 1990s at a time when other casinos were thriving. Max Ehrenfreund points out that his net worth would be far greater today had he simply put his money in an index fund. And as Marco Rubio pointed out earlier in the year, Trump has had many, many failed businesses, including Trump Mortgage, which he opened at the height of the housing bubble, declaring that "the real estate market is going to be very strong for a long time to come," only to be forced to close shop when the bubble burst 18 months later.

Argument #5: Donald Trump is a sexist.

I don't think that Trump's three marriages and extramarital affair with a beauty queen discount him from office, but if the tables were turn and Hillary had engaged in such behavior, many conservatives would be making it an issue, and so I think it's worth mentioning. It's also worth mentioning that Trump has a long history of making degrading remarks about women -- e.g., telling the opposing counsel at a deposition that she was "disgusting" after she asked to take a break to pump breast milk for her three-month-old daughter and publicly referring to women as "bimbos," "slobs," "unattractive," etc. An NY Times article earlier this year featured interviews with over 50 women who have known Trump on a personal level over the years and revealed "unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form," and "unsettling workplace conduct."

Argument #6: Donald Trump is corrupt.

Trump has an especially long and ugly history of unethical dealings. Most well known is Trump University, a now defunct wealth seminar which received a D- rating from the Better Business Bureau and which former workers say used fraudulent tactics to prey upon the elderly and uneducated. There are currently three pending lawsuits accusing the operation of fraud, false advertising, unfair business practices, and violating "financial elder abuse" statutes." Many other scandals plague Trump; e.g., a recent USA Today investigation "found hundreds of people -- carpenters, dishwashers, painters, even his own lawyers -- who say [Trump] didn’t pay them for their work."

Argument #7: Donald Trump is an unprecedented flip-flopper.

Most politicians flip-flop from time to time, but the frequency and significance of Trump's flip-flops are truly unprecedented. I could give example after example, but for the sake of space will provide just two. Last September he plainly stated that he supported asylum for Syrian refugees. Three weeks later he said at a campaign event, "I'm putting the people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win, if I win, they're going back." In recent years Trump said that "Hillary Clinton is a terrific woman," that she is "smart," "tough," a hard worker, that she would "make a great president." And well, we know what he's said recently.

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