I live in New York City where a smug hatred for Donald Trump permeates the air. Last night at an arts benefit, a number of performers made snide Trump jokes eliciting raucous laughter.
I get it. These people are classic liberal Democrats whatever that means. But why Trump? Surely, Cruz and Rubio are more likely to stick to their strictly conservative platforms. Those New Yorkers who find Trump so much as amusing will admit so only quietly, to close friends.
The reason may have as much to do with who Trump is as with what he says. Trump is known as an aggressive, litigious real estate speculator. Trump has used his name to sell clothing, food, golf club memberships and who knows what else. When his empire was sagging,
Trump took to the airwaves in a lengthy free self-advertisement: the reality show “The Apprentice.” The show was hugely popular and featured weird competitions judged mainly by Trump. The field of apprentice contestants was famously narrowed with the words, “you’re fired.” He’s blunt.
So Trump is a shameless self- promoter, but that hardly disqualifies him from politics. Trump’s campaign message is strongly anti-establishment. We have seen this theme before, but this time people believe it, and either like Trump or hate him for it. Trump makes no apologies for his changing cast of wives or his bizarre hairstyle. This man is happy to flaunt society’s norms.
I think of New Yorkers as conservative Liberals, in that they often espouse the ‘Liberal’ point of view, whatever it happens to be. This year it is that Hillary is not so bad. But she voted for the Iraq war that Trump rightly called ‘stupid.’ She pushed a hawkish agenda as secretary of state. Her husband cut welfare and deregulated Wall Street. She herself is a Wall Street sycophant. How is she a liberal?
Americans know that something is rotten in our election system. Activists select candidates in primaries in a system that used to be dominated by party bosses. In state caucuses voters must be willing to invest hours to participate.
The order of the primaries is odd and the early primaries skip most of the most populous states. The political parties supposedly set the rules, but they are inconsistent from state to state. In some states it is ‘winner take all,’ in others, winner take all by district and in still others delegates are divided according to the actual vote (with a variation that requires a minimum threshold to acquire delegates.) And Trump has used this byzantine system to his advantage.
Why are protesters breaking up Trump rallies and not Cruz rallies? Leaving aside the strong possibility of political tricks, I think that it is because we know the depressing reality that a Cruz presidency would present. We have no idea what it is like to have a reality TV star in the lead role.
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|Allen L. Jasson|