(*The political phenomenon, not the individual)
While the keyword in the headline is “decent,” the underlying premise should be self-evident: The Democratic Party will not defeat Republican President Donald J. Trump in his re- election bid in 2020 with a political insider as its candidate.
The point was driven home Tuesday evening when Trump came to the heavily Democratic Mahoning Valley and delivered a fire-and-brimstone sermon to a raucous crowd of 7,000 inside the Covelli Centre in downtown Youngstown.
For almost an hour, Trump reprised his us-against-them stump speech that proved so effective last year. He attacked the political establishment in Washington, Democrats and Republicans in Congress, illegal immigrants and, of course, the news media. His repeated references to “fake news” had the crowd howling at the moon.
The event was portrayed as a political rally and organizers went so far as to insist it was a private affair. The message was clear: Trump detractors would be unceremoniously tossed out – and they were.
But it was Trump’s willingness to tap into his supporters’ basest instincts that led this writer to conclude that for this president, the long-standing rules of the game are irrelevant.
Nothing is off limits. Personal attacks are now part of his political rhetoric, victimization is the accepted excuse for his supporters’ economic dislocation, and bigotry in all forms is encouraged.
Assessment of Trump
A year ago, on July 31, 2016, just days after the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, this writer offered the following assessment of Republican Trump’s candidacy:
“Let us give the supporters of Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt – that they’re for him not because he’s a racist, a misogynist, a chauvinist and a religious bigot, but because they agree with his positions on the important issues of the day.
“Yes, it’s a leap of faith to believe that the backers of the Republican nominee for president have given much thought to the challenges the next leader of the world’s lone superpower will face. But this writer is willing to take that leap for the sake of this column.
“So, to begin.
“One of the main issues that has endeared Trump to millions of voters is his unabashed protectionist attitude when it comes to global trade. The New York City billionaire businessman – he claims he’s worth $10 billion – has said that as president he will cancel all agreements with America’s trading partners and will demand new terms that benefit this nation.
“Trump, who is making his first bid for elected office and won the GOP primaries and caucuses by playing on the fears and frustrations of the voters, has refused to answer repeated questions about what he would do if countries around the world retaliated with their own protectionist moves.
“But there’s a larger problem with the GOP nominee’s stand on trade that his followers choose to ignore. It’s hypocritical.
“There is, fortunately, one person who knows Trump the businessman better than most Americans – and he has some very poignant opinions of him.”
Who is that person? The “decent” version of President Donald J. Trump.
He is Michael Bloomberg,
the former mayor of New York City for 12 years, who is worth $53 billion. Yes, he’s five times richer than the president. He has been a Democrat, a Republican and ran for mayor as a Republican and an independent.
Bloomberg addressed the Democratic convention, and the speech he gave should serve as a clarion call for the party leaders who today are flailing as Trump steals more of the faithful in heavily Democratic regions like the Mahoning Valley.
Here’s what Bloomberg had to say about Trump’s position on global trade and manufacturing:
“Trump says he’ll punish manufacturers that move to Mexico or China, but the clothes he sells are made overseas in low-wage factories. He says he wants to put Americans back to work, but he games the U.S. visa system so he can hire temporary foreign workers at low wages. He says he wants to deport 11 million undocumented people, but he seems to have no problem in hiring them. What’d I miss here?
“Truth be told, the richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy. He wants you to believe that we can solve our biggest problems by deporting Mexicans and shutting out Muslims. He wants you to believe that erecting trade barriers will bring back good jobs. He’s wrong on both counts.”
Bloomberg is a self-made successful entrepreneur, who is a pragmatist and consensus builder. He created his empire from the ground up, and that has influenced the way he looks at humanity.
Bloomberg’s humility is his strength.
Trump, on the other hand, began his business career with a significant infusion of money from his developer father. Trump has used his wealth to bully his way through life.
By the time the 2020 presidential election rolls around, Trump will be 74 years old, and could be defeated if the Democrats come up with the right candidate.
Bloomberg, who will be 78 in three years, has said he is not contemplating a presidential bid.
However, given the disarray of the Democratic Party, it’s time Democrats begin looking around for a candidate cut from the same cloth as Michael Bloomberg – the antithesis of Trump.