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DonAthos

Is Donald Trump Dangerous?

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I'm not a huge fan of following ongoing political cycles. In my experience, not much seems to change between one election and the next (on the whole, though I'm sure that there are large differences for some, depending on specific policies), and I generally find it tedious and depressing.

While just about every political candidate that our current culture will support is "dangerous," I created this thread because a quote from Donald Trump in a recent Yahoo interview caught my eye. Do I take Donald Trump seriously as a candidate? I don't know. Do I take Yahoo seriously as a news medium? I don't know. But as I say, this quote caught my eye:

Yahoo News asked Trump whether his push for increased surveillance of American Muslims could include warrantless searches. He suggested he would consider a series of drastic measures.

“We’re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule,” Trump said. “And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”

This seems pretty bold to me, and worrisome. But maybe there's no real cause for worry here, or no cause above and beyond what is typical politician bluster in 2015 America. But what do y'all think?

ETA: article link

Edited by DonAthos

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Trump is substantially more xenophobic that many recent candidates. He sounds like Rahm Emmanuel in that interview. Someone pointed out that Trump sounds like he's right out of chapter 10 of the Road to Serfdom. Now he is talking about registering Muslims in a national database and saying "we have absolutely no choice" but to close mosques.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/trump-close-mosques-216008

Does Trump think that Muslims won't meet if their mosques are closed?

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DonAthos, I'm of the opinion that you pretty well answered your own question: Donald Trump is not a threat, at least not as a serious presidential contender. Anyone so quick to disregard basic Constitution rights will never carry a majority. As for his opposition to illegal immigrants, and other sensitive topics, I am glad someone has the gumption to disregard popularized notions and speak like the guy who always shows up at (and stays too long after) Happy Hour. It was refreshing and entertaining, for a while, to hear someone tell it straight from the gut. I think it won't be long, and he'll have to knock it off soon; he's starting to get boring.

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Repairman , but what about Lincoln or Obama? I assume Lincoln views on slavery were known prior to his being elected, and Obama had been trumpeting the passage of the ACA in two election cycles.

Edited by tadmjones

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Lincoln and Obama were electable. Trump is not. What would be the point of belaboring the matter?

Addendum: William Randolph Hearts, Ross Perot, and Herman Cain. What do these men have in common? They were all very successful business men who assumed they could cut in front of the line to the highest office. Successful businessmen (or businesswomen) could via for the office, and I might even approve of some of their message. But if they haven't held any public office, the best they can be is a sideshow in the carnivals we now call our national elections. Even an unsuccessful entrepreneur could give it a serious try, as long as they've held a position, such as governor, congressman, or senator.

As for respect for the Constitution, it gets trampled often with executive privilege and bad policy-making, but that can be expected and corrected. Every populist that ever made it to the presidency has at least held some form of office prior to his presidential bid. Given that Trump has never held public office, and that he seems to have little concern for neither facts nor due process of law, I find it unlikely at best that he will even be asked to speak at the Republican convention.

Incidentally, in the past I have voted for candidates with no possible chance of winning. I am likely to follow my conscience again this coming year, given the current choices. Only the one who wins can be dangerous.

Edited by Repairman
afterthoughts

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Lincoln and Obama were electable. Trump is not. What would be the point of belaboring the matter?

A couple of months ago, I thought trump would fade, but he hasn't. People point to Herman Cain, who was also leading in the polls, but his lead was very different: 25% to Romney's 21% in October 2011. This time, the establishment candidate is not even in the top three. Prediction markets are giving Rubio a 50% chance at the nomination, with Trump predicted second at around 20%. So, at least the numbers provide a prima facie case to discuss the man's positions.

On what basis do you think he is not electable. I use the concept of "non-electable" to refer to the general election, not to the nomination. (e.g. GOP voters vote for their second choice, because they think their first choice would not be electable.) I think a candidate is  not electable if the other side can paint him as too extreme. I think Ben Carson comes close, and coupled with his nutty remarks about history and his super-calm tone, I rule him out. I'd judge Ted Cruz and Huckabee to be in the same "can paint as extreme" box (Huckabee has moved further extreme since his last attempt).

Trump cannot be painted as an extreme GOP candidate. Indeed, he's running as a GOP candidate but he supports many Democratic positions. As much as I think he;s the worst fascist in today's race, I have to admit he (and Bernie Sanders) can a spontaneous style which voters hear as honesty, while they think the establishment ones are simply saying middle-of-road things to not annoy anyone.

Finally, the country is in a progressive/populist mood ever since the great recession. European voters have been in a similar mood: opting for outlier candidates who seem to speak truth to power. 

So, even though I don't think Trump is the likely nominee, I would not rule him out. 

To the original question: I think Trump is one of the more dangerous candidates. The American voter in in a bad progressive/populist mood and Trump plays to that well. The American voter would ignore elements of t the constitution, and would walk over other people's rights if he thinks it is "sensible".

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DonAthos, I'm of the opinion that you pretty well answered your own question: Donald Trump is not a threat, at least not as a serious presidential contender.

I don't know. It seems like every few weeks, someone in the media is reporting on how the tide has finally turned against Trump, or the wheels have come off of his campaign, or he's shot himself in the foot, or whatever other mixed metaphor you'd prefer. I know that we've expected him to go away for quite some time now, but thus far it seems that he has managed to defy those expectations. I no longer take it for granted that this will change any time soon... and I wonder at what point he crosses the threshold of "to be taken seriously," and whether, at that point, it will be too late.

Anyone so quick to disregard basic Constitution rights will never carry a majority.

What worries me in the quote I'd provided, and why I bothered to make this thread, is how casual he seems about it. It's not simply that he disregards the Constitution... I'm sure that there are several candidates who privately don't care a great deal about it. But at least they pay some lip service to it, don't they? (2nd Amendment, perhaps, notwithstanding.)

But Trump... I just picturing him delivering that quote with a shrug. Like, "Constitution Schmonstitution. Yeah, we're gonna have to get rid of some civil liberties, big deal."

Is that better or worse than prospective leaders having to pay lip service to ideas about liberty? I'm not entirely sure, but I find it chilling to have it spoken so baldly. I never expected we'd have a presidential candidate who'd say, directly, that we would have to do "the unthinkable" in terms of curtailing liberty. And this is in a time of (relative) peace and prosperity. And he's, thus far, getting away with it. I find it all stunning.
 

Lincoln and Obama were electable. Trump is not. What would be the point of belaboring the matter?

Addendum: William Randolph Hearts, Ross Perot, and Herman Cain. What do these men have in common? They were all very successful business men who assumed they could cut in front of the line to the highest office.

I cannot speak to Hearst, who was a touch before my time, but I remember the Perot and Cain election cycles (and Steve Forbes as well)... and none of them seemed to me to have the kind of traction that Trump currently has. I'm not saying that means he's going to win, but I don't think that Trump can be counted on to follow pattern with those men, simply because they were all businessmen running for president. I don't remember anything like the Trump campaign.

 

A couple of months ago, I thought trump would fade, but he hasn't. People point to Herman Cain, who was also leading in the polls, but his lead was very different: 25% to Romney's 21% in October 2011. This time, the establishment candidate is not even in the top three.

Right? When I was seeing Carson rise over the last few weeks, I just kept thinking, "well that's good for Trump; Carson's never going to get the nomination, but this just pushes down folks like Jeb further." (Excuse me. Jeb!) For a while, Trump was complimentary of Carson. This may be my giving him too much credit, but I read that as a political strategy, to prop up other candidates against whom Trump could appear relatively mainstream/sane, and keep the more viable ones at a distance.

Trump cannot be painted as an extreme GOP candidate. Indeed, he's running as a GOP candidate but he supports many Democratic positions. As much as I think he;s the worst fascist in today's race, I have to admit he (and Bernie Sanders) can a spontaneous style which voters hear as honesty, while they think the establishment ones are simply saying middle-of-road things to not annoy anyone.

With the little I've paid attention (mostly to headlines), I have no idea how to read Sanders or his viability compared to Clinton. Is it even possible that we'll wind up with Trump vs. Sanders in the general election? What a choice! And I would have to believe that a self-avowed socialist is, at least, truly unelectable in 2015 America (along with a Muslim, I'd imagine, and an atheist, and I don't know what else).

Would that seriously mean President Trump?

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I have no idea how to read Sanders or his viability compared to Clinton. Is it even possible that we'll wind up with Trump vs. Sanders in the general election?

... ...

Would that seriously mean President Trump?

Not probable, but yes there is a tiny (near-zero?) probability that someone will discover some smoking gun in Hillary's email or that she might have some type of serious health problem in the next few months. Right now, the general "crowd prediction:" is that it is going to be Rubio vs. Clinton, with Trump vs. Clinton as the second highest probability.

if it is Trump vs. Sanders, I might contribute to Sanders.

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I don't think Donald Trump is dangerous on foreign policy, or that he's any threat to American Muslims. He never committed to any kind of radical departure on current policies on either issue. The recent comments about Muslims, in particular, are about as vague as you can get, and, to me at least, don't mean what a lot of the media claims they mean.

I do think he's a significant threat to globalization, and, if implemented, his anti-globalization economic policies would set back the world economy significantly, though. Not as badly as Sanders', but pretty badly.

His xenophobia is also a threat to the Republican Party's future. Not a significant threat to minorities (be it Muslims, Hispanics, or even illegal immigrants), mind you, because it's mostly empty rhetoric: Just like other Republican candidates stance on abortion is no real threat to the legality of abortion in the US, his stance. Even if he becomes President, he can't actually carry through on his silly plans to deport illegal immigrants, or on his supposed plans to close mosques.

But, saying (or, in the case of the mosque thing, being presented as saying, in the media) those things, and finding support among the Republican core as a result, will alienate vast numbers of Americans, and cost Republicans dearly, in the long term.

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Very much so in my humble opinion as a foreigner. The guy is obscenely against economic globalisation for a start with his whole protectionist appeal, if put into place his policies would be damaging to the global economy and they'd shift the position of 'world's most powerful trading hub' to China once and for all, which'd be incredibly dangerous for the future of liberal civilisation. Hes also got a Luddite streak, attacking other candidates (Rubio) for wanting to assist advanced technological Capitalism that could destroy old, dying manufacturing jobs that Trump thinks should be preserved for his voting base. Then theres his outright fascist and authoritarian proposal to form a database and public ID'ing system for American Muslims, which for me spells the beginning of a thorough, violent police state.

Oh, hes also a manipulative liar whose opinions change with who hes talking to, shows classic examples of the authoritarian personality type, and his border wall costs just about as much as any Bernie Sanders free college plan. He also endorsed a wealth tax of 20%, so a Trump presidency will deliver you all the heavy-hitting taxes you want to pay for a useless wall.

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... The guy is obscenely against economic globalisation for a start with his whole protectionist appeal,... Hes also got a Luddite streak, ... dying manufacturing jobs that Trump thinks should be preserved for his voting base. Then theres his outright fascist and authoritarian proposal to form a database and public ID'ing system for American Muslims,...

The Muslim database things is about 99% media-frenzy on the concretes. It won't happen, but it illustrates is Trump's lack of knowledge of history. He's a pragmatist in principle, where most other candidates are something else but pragmatic. He sees just one layer of the onion and wishes to attack that, without a deeper understanding of issues. In this, he is similar to a huge number of American voters: hence his high poll numbers.

Like these voters, he is protectionism on goods and people (immigration) , he thinks that the government should handle something important like healthcare. A good chunk of GOP voters are all for having the government in the economy, as long as it is a GOP plan. Even among GOP intellectuals, there is a group who started their careers leaning Democrat, but moved to the GOP as a party that offered more nationalistic or religious meaning, while also being receptive of "market based" approaches to intervention.

You're also right about his lies. Not that other candidates do not stretch the truth, but Trump seems to have a more cavalier attitude -- perhaps because he has a knack of saying extreme things but also adding a hedge, and because he thinks he can overcome any gotchas with his bombastic style. 

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Though this has been coming for some time, it now seems that Trump is certain to be the Republican nominee. Since we can now move past the once-standard stance of not taking him seriously as a candidate, I'm wondering if anyone has new thoughts regarding Trump and how he stacks up against (presumptive) Democratic nominee Clinton, especially with regard to liberty.

I'm no fan of Hillary -- obviously -- but I continue to fear Trump more. What say you?

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Trump is flawed but at the very least he will buy us time.  I think all the talk about him being a fascist is absurd.  If you want fascism vote for Hillary.

Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, is very upset over Trump, or rather, over his supporters – he says it’s scary that Trump is so popular.  Google
... yaron trump scary crony ...
and you’ll find some of his remarks.

He doesn’t say very much about Hillary, but of course what he does say is entirely negative.  Still, the impression he gives is that Trump is worse.  Again, I cannot follow this.

 

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5 hours ago, DonAthos said:

I'm no fan of Hillary -- obviously -- but I continue to fear Trump more. What say you?

I agree. Trump will try putting "a chicken in every pot", and we know where that got us the last time around.

Yet, if we step back from the day-to-day, this type of thing was bound to happen. The ignorant American voter has been voting for mainstream candidates who make the regular promises, in line with the middle-of-road ideology of the American voter. It's a deeply flawed ideology that helps the voter ignore reality and to live short-term... until the next bust. Now, they want someone who can make all the same promises (and even more outrageously contradictory ones) than the boring candidates. So they look for a genuinely ignorant demagogue like Trump, who is clueless about his own contradictions.

Also, mainstream candidates have become very focus-group oriented: it is a bland pandering to all groups that comes across as the lying pandering that it is. The American voter is to blame again. Every little slip of the tongue a candidate makes becomes a great wringing of hands. Then, someone like Trump breaks the rule in his role as equal-opportunity abuser of all and sundry. Where a small slight might get a normal candidate into trouble, Trump makes downright kindergarten style personal abuse a badge of pride. The American voter laps it up... totally ignoring his own contradiction of worrying about it in other candidates.

And if Hillary wins, that might only buy us a little time. Who knows which demagogue will run the next time around, with voters possibly ready for someone crazier than Trump. Not that I would vote for him. There's always a possibility that a Trump loss leads to soul-searching among politicians and perhaps a sensible candidate will emerge in the future, who takes some lessons from Trump, and can combine it with a positive vision (not expecting anything radical here, just something sensible while not being bland).

I think we have seen a demonstration that "American exceptionalism" does not exist: not in the sense of having a more sensible electorate. This election has brought the unwashed voter to the fore: the bigoted nationalist who never thought deeply about politics, but expected the politicians to deliver contraditions, somehow, anyhow, who is he to know how!

Edited by softwareNerd

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5 hours ago, HandyHandle said:

Trump is flawed but at the very least he will buy us time.  I think all the talk about him being a fascist is absurd.

His main campaign promise is to round up 12 million people, and seal the borders. By what means do you suppose that could be accomplished, besides fascism?

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7 hours ago, DonAthos said:

Though this has been coming for some time, it now seems that Trump is certain to be the Republican nominee. Since we can now move past the once-standard stance of not taking him seriously as a candidate, I'm wondering if anyone has new thoughts regarding Trump and how he stacks up against (presumptive) Democratic nominee Clinton, especially with regard to liberty.

I'm no fan of Hillary -- obviously -- but I continue to fear Trump more. What say you?

Perhaps this is needless to say, but in the current age, expecting anything but damage out of ANY government is unrealistic (only thing that would change that is a full scale cultural revolution, that would take decades), so the only possible question to ask ourselves is, as usual "In which scenario will the damage be more limited?".

In light of that, I prefer Hillary for US President, over Trump. Hillary will continue with current policies, and the Republican Congress will continue to limit the damage. We also have to keep in mind that Obama's economic policies haven't all been bad. There aren't many positives, but the main one is that he expanded global trade, and Hillary would continue to do that...and would probably do a decent job handling a potential British exit from the EU (she would work with the EU in creating a new framework for trade with Britain).

Meanwhile, Trump (depending on how much he lied about his intentions, during the primaries) would at best be just as bad, and, at worst, would lead the world towards disaster.

 

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The following disturbs me more than the leader.

Darkwing Donald is channeling a political force that is only united by anger, and whose only agenda is payback.  In most respects, I believe he is simply the patsy of the growing mob he represents; a form of puppet king.  If elected, and I give them better than 50/50 odds of getting there, America will become a darker place.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
cleanup

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Before 1964 or so U.S immigration law was enforced.  To deport illegal aliens now is just to return to that time.

There’s much to complain about the presidents before 1964 but I wouldn’t call any of them the hard names you call Donald Trump.

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14 hours ago, HandyHandle said:

Before 1964 or so U.S immigration law was enforced.

That's a cute rationalization around the basic fact that the roundup and deportation of at least 12 million people living and working in the US would be an unprecedented act of mass violence, against them and against the millions of Americans who would choose to hide them, or stand with them in what would likely turn out to be a violent struggle. 

(not to mention of mass invasion of privacy, not just of the direct victims, but also of everyone else...these 12 million people don't live in isolated communities, they live among the rest of the population, and finding them would require mass surveillance of the entire US population).

14 hours ago, HandyHandle said:

There’s much to complain about the presidents before 1964 but I wouldn’t call any of them the hard names you call Donald Trump.

The program you are referring to, that supposedly "enforced immigration laws" (it didn't, not even close) was called Operation Wetback. It started in 1954, ended in 1964, and it was as despicable as it was ineffective. The program was fraught with violent and abusive acts against immigrants. Hundreds died. Beatings were commonplace. The practice of shaving the heads of captured immigrants, in an attempt to shame them into not returning, was an unwritten rule. It was those kinds of unwritten rules, aimed at humiliating, abusing, and murdering "wetbacks", that Operation Wetback was enforcing, not any law passed by Congress.

The program was also aimed at a fraction of the 12 million who would be its victims today...and it failed to prevent illegal immigration. So, to fulfill Trump's promise, much harsher, and much larger scale violence would be needed than the despicable acts hundreds of thousands of innocent people fell victim to during Operation Wetback.

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Arresting criminals in any number is an act of violence.   Arresting criminals is one purpose of our government and far from rationalizing it I proclaim it.  

No borders, no sovereignty, no country.  But perhaps you don’t think America is my country, it belongs to the world.

How much the Eisenhower administration’s “Operation Wetback” (starting in 1954) succeeded is in dispute.  Hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens were forcefully deported and consequently many of the remainder, facing that risk, left on their own.  There’s a Wikipedia article about it.

 

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2 hours ago, HandyHandle said:

 Arresting criminals is one purpose of our government...

Arresting criminals or stopping criminals is not the primary purpose of government. Surely you know the argument that you're ignoring here, you don't need me to fill in the blanks. Arresting runaway slaves was the purpose of government?

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Apparently softwareNerd argues as follows:  A foreigner has an inalienable right to enter America and stay here.  Current American law violates that right, and the violation is so egregious that the foreigner has a right to take the law into his own hands and ignore it.

We disagree on the premise:  A foreigner has a right to enter America.

Apparently Nicky argues from what might be called the other direction:  An American has an inalienable right to bring a foreigner into America.   Current American law violates that right, and the violation is so egregious that the American has a right to take the law into his own hands and ignore it.

We disagree on the premise:  An American has a right to import a foreigner.

My position is that a country is a special entity, that – as Rand said in  “Collectivized ‘Rights’ ” in The Virtue of Selfishness:

“A free nation – a nation that recognizes, respects and protects the individual rights of its citizens – has a right to its territorial integrity, its social system and its form of government.”
...
“Such a nation has a right to its sovereignty (derived from the rights of its citizens) and a right to demand that its sovereignty be respected by all other nations.”

Surely if another nation must respect America’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, so must a foreigner.  In fact that’s the meaning behind Rand’s words.  When one nation violates another, in the last analysis it is people who do the violating.

 

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I live in an agricultural area where private farmers employ undocumented workers. These workers are neither imported nor displace any other member of the community those farms operate within.  The community supports the farmers' practice by purchasing their goods, which in turn provides revenue to the government, which in turn legitimizes the practice by allowing it to continue...

Who is violated, and how?

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