Trump: What You Don't See Is What You Will Get

Matt Welch, on Reason.com, recently called out Hillary Clinton’s die-hard supporters – which is to say, all of her supporters – challenging them to admit that she “could strangle a puppy on live TV” and they would still support her.

In Donald Trump and his supporters’ case, make that two puppies.

As a longtime New York resident (since 1977), who has witnessed the rise – and bankruptcies, and failed marriages – of Donald Trump, this writer feels especially well-suited to opine on Trump, certainly better-suited than the bulk of his supporters, who know “The Donald” only from his now (like many of his business ventures) defunct reality show The Apprentice, People Magazine, sound bites, and rants masquerading as campaign speeches, most of which were delivered in only the past two or three months.

This writer will not attempt to dissuade the Trump-o-philes from their ardor.  If one’s idea of a Joe-Six-pack-cares-about-guys-like-me-populist is an arrogant brat in grownup clothing, who pulled himself up by the multimillion-dollar bootstraps he received and ultimately inherited from his daddy, a guy who builds luxury apartments that, one suspects, few of his supporters could ever dream of affording, then, by all means, vote for the guy.

What this writer can do is show Trump’s supporters – and make it impossible for them to say, should this life-imitates-Elmer-Gantry snake oil salesman become president, that they didn’t know – what they, and the United States of America, would be getting.

First and most important, Donald Trump is not a Republican.  Nor is he a Democrat.  Donald Trump is a businessman and an opportunist.  And would be, if his supporters get their way, the first Republican president who, at least as of April 26, 2011, has given most of his financial support to Democrats:

The real estate mogul and “Celebrity Apprentice” host has made more than $1.3 million in donations over the years to candidates nationwide, with 54 percent of the money going to Democrats, according to a Washington Post analysis of state and federal disclosure records.

Does that sound like someone committed to Republican values, let alone conservatives values?  Not exactly the Koch Brothers, especially when one looks at just who some of these recipients of Trump largess were, such stalwart Republicans as:

  • Harry Reid
  • Rahm Emanuel
  • John F. Kerry
  • Charlie Rangel
  • Chuck Schumer
  • Teddy Kennedy
  • Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton?  Well, one hopes that he will refrain from contributing to Clinton 2016 if and when he finds himself running against her.  On the other hand, don’t assume that he won’t.  Could be bad for business, post-election, if Hillary wins.

And for Trump, at the end of the day, it’s all about business, as his explanation for this supposed (by his supporters) conservative Republican’s substantial contributions to liberal Democrats – $50,000 to Rahm Emanuel, $10,400 to Harry Reid (in his campaign against Tea Party fave Sharron Angle – something Tea Party Trump supporters might want to consider) – shows.

“Everyone’s Democratic… So what am I going to do — contribute to Republicans? … Am I going to contribute to Republicans for my whole life when they get heat when they run against some Democrat and the most they can get is 1 percent of the vote?

Or, as liberal website Politics USA’s Sarah Jones writes (emphasis added):

… Trump owns a lot of businesses and anyone in business will try to spread their donations around to grease the wheels.  This doesn’t reflect a party preference as much as it does a desire to have an open door.  … Trump defended his giving to Democrats in blue state New York because there is no one else.

“Because there is no one else.”  True enough, if one’s objective is graft.  If, on the other hand, one is a Republican and the object is to support one’s political beliefs…well, how about donating – exclusively, as the writer, a New York State resident does – to Republicans?  Republicans admittedly are a minority in New York, but they are not extinct.  Indeed, Republicans control the State Senate.

Given Trump’s numerous contributions to liberal Democrats, his playing on both sides of the aisle, the writer hopes he can be forgiven for having to stifle a laugh on reading the following:

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump suggests that Governor Bush, former Secretary of State Clinton, and other politicians cannot be trusted due to their willingness to accept money from special interest groups and large donors.

Unless the “large donor” is…Donald Trump?

Is Harry Reid, to whom Trump donated $10,400 to run against a Republican, a New York politician?  And can any Tea Partier supporting or thinking of supporting Trump not see the irony, the hypocrisy, of supporting someone who has donated cold, hard cash to a Tea Party candidate’s opponent – and arguably the most craven and corrupt Democrat in the Senate?

In fairness, and as Jones, quoting PolitiFact, notes:

Data from the Federal Election Commission and state elections offices provided by the two websites show that Trump has given $584,850 to Democrats and $961,140 to the GOP over the last 26 years.

So overall, Trump has donated about $350,000 more to Republicans than to Democrats “over the past 26 years.”  But:

The difference in donations is almost entirely captured in Trump’s recent giving.  Since 2012, Trump has donated $463,450 to Republicans and just $3,500 to Democrats.

Before 2012 – the year Trump ran, unsuccessfully, for president on the Republican ticket – Trump gave 54 percent to Democrats.  Suddenly, in that year, he began to favor Republicans.  From this, Sarah Jones concludes that Trump is a Republican.

For more on both Trump’s questionable political donation history and his “evolving” political and sociological views, see NPR writer Daniel Kurtzbleen’s article here.  It’s not pleasant, but as the saying goes, read the whole thing.

From all of this, this writer concludes that Trump’s true political party is…himself.  Trump is an opportunist – one who, by the way, continues to contribute to liberal Democrats, including $6,000 to liberal Democrat Kamala Harris in her successful campaign for California attorney general, and who now is running to replace retiring California senator Barbara Boxer.

Because, of course, a Republican, conservative, tough-on-illegal-immigration, Obamacare-overturning, tax-lowering, spending-reducing presidential candidate, if elected, would want to have as many liberal Democrats in Congress as possible.

One wonders how many Trump supporters know that Trump has “given $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation, supported Obama’s first presidential candidacy in 2008, and switched political parties at least five times since the 1980s.

So if primary voters insult “The Donald” by failing to anoint him with the GOP candidacy to which he clearly feel entitled as Hillary Clinton does to the Democratic one and Trump launches a third-party campaign, that would make…six?

Trump has also changed his position on abortion several times – was “for it before he was against it,” to paraphrase John Kerry, one of the above-mentioned liberal Democrats to whom he has donated in the past.

Ditto for economic policy.  For example, as Larry Kudlow, after reviewing Trump’s past statements on taxes, spending, and trade, explains:

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed back in May 1999, Trump praised Ronald Reagan’s tax-rate cuts.

[…]

Trump also attacked [former Senator Bill] Bradley for putting a lid on IRA savings accounts, which caused a big drop in personal retirement saving.

[…]

But Trump shifted into tax-the-rich mode during the 2000 presidential campaign[, proposing] a one-time tax of 14.25 percent on the assets of individuals and trusts in excess of $10 million [to] pay off America’s debt.

[…]

Later on, Trump shifted again, saying he was strongly in favor of extending the George W. Bush tax cuts ...

And so on.

Trump supporters have explained their unshakeable support for Trump as “He says what I think.”  That’s exactly right: Trump says what you think, not what he thinks.  And with five party switches and potentially a sixth on the horizon, we may never know.  Because Donald Trump is an opportunist, with numerous past flip-flops to prove it.

Finally, haven’t we already been down this road, electing to public office a celebrity real estate investor, one with an impressive, proven, successful business track record, expecting celebrity and business success to translate – somehow – into governing ability, only to be “terminated” after only one term?

In a previous article, this writer wrote:

There is a lesson to be learned from New York’s … decline.  The lesson is that liberals never learn[.]

And apparently, and sadly, some conservatives have not learned from the flameouts of former, one-term Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Or Jesse Ventura.

Finally, can any of Donald Trump’s supporters tell the writer what kind of Supreme Court justices a President Trump would appoint?  Didn’t think so.  Do any of Trump’s supporters care?  Didn’t think so.

Gene Schwimmer is a New York Licensed Real Estate Broker and the Author of The Christian State.  Follow Gene Schwimmer on Twitter.