At the beginning of the year I made a list of my largely irrational political hopes for 2015, and among them was the earnest desire to see gilded coprolite Donald Trump’s presidential hand-waving ignored by the press. We’ve been playing this tiresome game for who knows how many election cycles now: Trump pretends to run because he loves attention, the media cover his pretend run because Trump is an inherently comic figure who drives clicks. Rinse, repeat, regurgitate.
I had hoped that maybe – just maybe – it had become so predictable and dull that we finally could break this inane pattern and ignore the increasingly blatant attempts to steal headlines by this bigoted pile of hair and self-tanner. But Trump switched things up on us. He’s doing things that real candidates do, like hiring staffers and setting up committees. It’s more than he’s done previously, but there’s still no reason to take him seriously because he’s Donald Trump.
But if he’s trying to at least appear like he’s a serious candidate, then by all means let’s comb over his policy proposals and try and game out what sort of garish nightmares a Trump presidency would bring upon this country.
Before we do that, though, it’s important to remember that Donald Trump is not a smart person. He has little to no understanding of politics and policy, and he doesn’t so much have an ideology as he does a compulsion to self-aggrandize that is rooted in feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing. This is the sad little core of all his policy ideas, and it’s also what animates his worldview.
Take immigration as an example. Trump’s stock answer for how he’d handle border security is that he – as the best builder of things the world has ever known – would build the best wall the world has ever seen on our southern border with Mexico. And that’s not all. Apparently the Great Wall Of Trump won’t cost the U.S. a dime because President Donald will seize all the money from Mexico, somehow, as retribution for that country “screwing” us in some fashion:
Asked by an audience member about how he’ll tackle border security and immigration reform, Trump touted his building expertise. “I will build the best wall, the biggest, the strongest, not penetrable, they won’t be crawling over it, like giving it a little jump and they’re over the wall, it costs us trillions," he said. "And I’ll have Mexico pay for the wall. Because Mexico is screwing us so badly. I will take it from out of just a small fraction of the money they’ve been screwing us for over the last number of years.”
First things first: would the Great Wall Of Trump work? No. It would not. Despite this puckered sleazebag’s boasting that his wall would be impenetrable, migrants and smugglers have consistently found ways to get over, under, or through the physical barriers on our southern border. The existing fencing was breached over 4,000 times in 2010 alone. Repairing those breaches is expensive and diverts resources away from other border security measures.
Of course, that assumes that this ridiculous wall would be built in the first place. I’m sure that Trump is charismatic in his own way, but here he’s proposing that Mexico – a developing nation with a 52 percent poverty rate – provide the wealthiest and most highly developed economy on the planet with many billions of dollars for a massive infrastructure project. (That doesn’t include the aforementioned costs associated with maintaining many hundreds of miles of border wall.) That’s going to be a tough sell, and I wouldn’t blame the Mexican government were it to react to Trump’s “pay for our massive wall because screw you” proposal with an equally respectful “chíngate, cabrón.”
Speaking of respect, it’s not very “presidential” to talk about your southern neighbor and third-largest trading partner in such a way. The U.S. and Mexican economies are inextricably linked – Mexico buys more goods from the U.S. than any other nation except Canada, and there are millions of jobs in the U.S. that are dependent on trade with Mexico. Proposing that we throw up a big wall and demand that Mexico pay for it would be very bad for business, as they say. But would-be candidate Trump views Mexico as an adversary – “Mexico is not our friend,” he declared at CPAC – because he is an idiot.
Anyway, there’s still no actual reason to pay attention to Trump because he’s not – and never will be – a serious contender for the presidency. But if he’s going to pretend and we’re not going to ignore him like we should, then let’s at least devote our energies to educating the voting public in minute detail on just how incredibly stupid he really is.