I often wondered what supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump saw in him. It can’t be his positions, which change like the wind. It can’t be his business sense, since that too is dubious. It can’t be his moral stances, since by anyone’s standard they’re not consistent.
But last week, the New York Times published an op-ed piece during which one woman in Kentucky said, “We need somebody spectacular.”
That made sense to me.
Basically, I see it as a codependent woman falling in love with the proverbial “bad boy” and, when he acts up, justifying his behavior. Folks haven’t addressed his racist and sexist comments, which at this point are legion. Disdainful of compromise and with no concrete plan to cause change, he’s relied on sheer emotion to win fans (I mean, voters). They don’t even listen those who have courageously denounced him for his divisiveness, insisting that they represent, in essence, just “some establishment that doesn’t want anyone else in its club.”
But as we all know — and, having been in-and-out of 12-step recovery programs since 1983, I see this — “bad boys” make terrible husbands due to their unreliability and lack of centering. Being “sexy” doesn’t have anything with ability.
And people need to understand that political change in this country is always incremental. Retail politics isn’t stimulating; it takes work and commitment. Frankly, the staying power of Sen. Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side surprised me, but in endorsing Hillary Clinton he said that the political revolution which he embodied would, and should, continue after him. (And President Obama seemed to concur, saying, “I’m 'feeling the Bern'.”)
Moreover, I take note of the number of editorial pages of newspapers that haven’t in my lifetime, if ever, endorsed a Democrat for president; the Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, Arizona Republic and Cincinnati Enquirer have all recommended that their respective readership vote for Hillary Clinton. They’ve done the homework, scrutinized positions and considered temperament overall and believe that Trump is too dangerous.
That to me represents wisdom based on knowledge and experience, not a desire for “remaining in the club.”
You can make a big splash on the political scene but, like a marriage, being an effective leader takes work behind the scenes. I don’t think many of Trump’s followers get that.