Robert F. Jakubowicz: The candidate you know


PITTSFIELD >> Donald Trump is full of bromides, such as, "a foolproof way to defeat ISIS," having a divine role to be "the greatest jobs-producing president God ever created," the ability to "make problems (such as terrorism) go away," and causing "so much winning, (that Americans will) get bored winning. All are calculated to create the illusion that he has solutions for all of the nation's problems.

While Trump says he will do all this essentially as a one-man government, he does not say how he will do it, other than uttering this frequent exhortation to the voters: "Believe me!"

Trump is not only saying he has all these solutions, but that he will use them to resolve problems in short order, some in as little as in his first 100 days in office. In this complex world and with the constitutional limits on presidential powers, it would take somebody with divine powers to accomplish what Trump is vowing to do so quickly. He is not that somebody, but he sure is acting like he is.

His core supporters are a mixed bag of political fringe groups which have been seeking a savior for a long time to dignify their groundless beliefs in kooky conspiracy theories. Some believe the government was involved in the 9/11 destruction of the Twin Towers in New York. Others claim that the government staged the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut with young actors to create an increased anti-gun sentiment in America.

Many of them believe that President Obama is a foreign-born Muslim bent on destroying America. The white supremacists among them cannot abide having a president of color and some gun owners in their midst fear a government plan to take away their guns This group feels vindicated by having a presidential contender who has been encouraging them. Their belief in Trump is total.

But the political support of these still relatively small fringe groups could not on their own have fielded a presidential contender from one of the major parties. The political dynamic in this presidential election, which makes it appear to be a close one at the moment based on public opinion polls, is the anger and frustration by a large group of voters of all political stripes who joined the fringe groups in supporting Trump in the primaries.

These voters are fed up with the dysfunction of the federal government, an economy favoring the wealthy establishment. They come from places that have not recovered from the last recession. They want real change to deal with these matters.

Hillary Clinton did not appeal to them because she was part of that system for many years. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, despite his enthusiastic young crowds, with his socialist views did not appeal to enough of older voters to make him their champion for such change.

Then there was Trump with his unconventional talk and antics, blasting away at Democrats, the Republican establishment, President Obama, the political system, and just about everything and everybody else. He was a ready-made poster boy for the grievances of these voters. So they chose to use him to this point in the election process to send a warning to all elected officials that they really want change this time, or they are prepared to elect Trump-like candidates, ousting incumbents.

Now that we are entering the home stretch run to the election, I sense that many of these disgruntled voters went as far as they dared with Trump to send their message for change, but they will not vote for him in the general election because of both the knowns and unknowns about him. His so-called "dog whistles" to the fringe groups are now well known by the public. His unknowns remain unknown.

What exactly are his plans to create jobs and end terrorism? Why does he refuse to release his tax records to inform voters about his business dealings? Will he actually try the kind of one-man rule he has been talking about despite the constitutional separation of powers provision? Does he really think he can simply tear up and renegotiate, based on his self-promoted expertise in making deals, existing treaties which under the Constitution are part of the supreme law of the land?

Barring a major blunder by Clinton, all this bodes well for her to win the election. Both she and Trump have low favorable ratings, but I think this is shaping up as an election in which the voters will elect Clinton as someone they know, even if many of them don't like her, rather than the election of Trump, a person they don't know and could be worse.

Robert "Frank" Jakubowicz is a regular Eagle contributor.


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