Mega-rich businessman Donald Trump is the Republicans’ presumptive presidential nominee after winning every county in five East Coast primaries last Tuesday. He’s almost certain to face former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who won four of those five states, in November’s general election.
That will set up a mud-slinging match between two of the most unpopular presidential candidates in my rather lengthy lifetime. It’s Clinton vs. Trump in an electoral nightmare — nightmare because many Democrats don’t like and/or don’t trust the scandal-plagued Mrs. Clinton and about half of registered Republicans can’t or won’t vote for the bombastic, egomaniacal New York real estate developer.
In a general election move, Trump has hired a group of veteran political consultants led by longtime Washington insider Paul Manafort to re-tool his image and make him more “presidential.”
So I have a question for you: Do you think Trump will become more presidential between now and November? And if your answer is “yes,” I have a beautiful piece of waterfront property in Washoe Valley to sell you; cash only, of course.
“At some point I’m going to be so presidential that you people (the media) will be so bored,” Trump told the Associated Press.
Right, and I’ll become a handsome young movie star between now and November. How gullible is the American electorate? We’re about to find out.
Days after Trump derided his party’s nomination process as “crooked” and “rigged,” he sent soft-spoken former GOP candidate Dr. Ben Carson to smooth things over with the party leadership.
“He’s trying to moderate. He’s trying to get better” (but) he’s little on the brash side,” Carson said in the understatement of the year. Meanwhile, the rude, crude candidate continued to trash virtually everyone involved in the electoral process, including “lyin’” Ted Cruz, and “crooked” Hillary Clinton. So much for a more presidential Donald Trump.
Trump’s laughable attempt to present himself as someone he isn’t reminds me of when former Vice President Al Gore, who grew up in a luxurious Washington penthouse, attempted to present himself as a down home Tennessee farm boy wearing reassuring earth tones or when the aforementioned Mrs. Clinton, an exceedingly rich Washington insider, tried to pass herself off as an “everyday American” by eating a burrito and taking the New York subway. Please, give me a break!
If American voters believe this kind of nonsense, they deserve what they get. Bill Kristol, executive editor of the neoconservative Weekly Standard, said it best: “Donald Trump is a test for American conservatism,” he wrote. “It’s not too much to say he’s a test for America.” Kristol urged his fellow conservatives to stop whining and to come up with a viable alternative to Trump, who will probably fall slightly short of the 1,237 delegates needed to obtain a first-ballot victory at the Republican Convention in Cleveland in July.
Trump will do the whining if his party nominates someone else, but he’ll have only himself and his clueless advisers to blame. Obviously, I hope the “anyone but Trump” forces succeed, although I wouldn’t bet a lot of money on that increasingly unlikely outcome.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton lurches from scandal to scandal in her surprisingly difficult nomination struggle against 74-year-old Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont. Surprising because Sanders has won almost as many state primaries and caucuses as Mrs. Clinton, and he’s the overwhelming favorite of younger voters who won’t vote for a Washington insider who earned nearly $22 million in Wall Street speaking fees after leaving the White House. Let’s call it Clinton, Inc.
I can’t vote for Trump or Mrs. Clinton. Maybe I’ll stay home in November.
Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, is an independent voter.