Donald Delano Trump

How are we to think of Donald Trump?  He oozes confidence.  He holds opinions that are more practical than ideological.  Trump promises results more than anything else.  Trump has lived his life in New York, the real center of power in America, with the wealth and power to rub shoulders with the men who largely run America.

Donald J. Trump, in many ways, looks more like the last rich and powerful New Yorker to win the White House: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was nominated by an uneasy Democrat Party Convention 84 year ago in 1932.  FDR and DJT both have the characteristic of being an outsider fighting not only the establishment of the nation, but the establishment of the party and also being, by any objective analysis, a penultimate insider.

FDR and DJT both have a sense of grand showmanship that is able, often, to transcend the media establishment.  It is easy to forget that FDR was overwhelmingly opposed by the newspapers in America when he first ran for office.  Of course, FDR, with his "Fireside Chats," largely invented direct mass communication between a president and the American people.

FDR and DJT both seem to sense the emotional and psychological temper of the people in ways that defy normal politics.  FDR and DJT are both running as the standard bearer of the party out of power and DJT has, as FDR had, the luxury of being able to promise change without really worrying too much at the outside what that change will be.  FDR famously said he would keep trying things until he found policies that work.

DJT, like FDR, has abundant executive experience but virtually no legislative experience, which accounts for the approach to government of acting more or less unilaterally rather than work with the other branches of government.  (FDR, according to one story, asked his aides to find some bill for him to veto, and he tried to pack the Supreme Court.)

There are other similarities.  DJT, like FDR, is intimately connected to his family.  FDR's wife was deeply involved in politics, and he and Eleanor were close relatives of Teddy Roosevelt.  Trump, to his great credit, loves his parents and his children, and that seems reciprocated.  He clearly intends to use his wife and children in his administration as president.  This is another aspect of a presidency that promises to be intensely personal rather than ideological or even partisan.

Is this good or bad?  Pragmatism, relentlessness, big thinking, optimism, steady calm, and conveying that calmness are all important elements of good presidencies, especially in scary times.  More than almost any candidate since FDR, one can see Trump repeating the theme of FDR when he told Americans that "we have nothing to fear but fear itself" and having us believe him.

FDR was a president who was rather unscrupulous and who played fast and loose with the facts on many occasions.  The quip that he "never told the truth when a lie would do just as well" was something both his enemies and his allies generally agreed was accurate.  DJT, however, would certainly be as honest as Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton – though surely that is damning one with faint praise.

There is little doubt that FDR genuinely loved America and accepted the notion of American exceptionalism, which seems just as true about DJT.  Here is the sharp distinction between the odious Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton and the boisterous DJT, so the cynicism of method we will surely find in a Trump presidency, as it would be with Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton, would be offset by a genuine sincerity of purpose in a Trump presidency, something Mrs. Clinton seems utterly to lack.

Most of all, with a Trump presidency, we may see the same sort of grand change in America we saw with Roosevelt.  Not all of that change was good, and not all was bad, but it was most surely actual, not imagined, change.

The campaign plan by Democrats to paint Trump as "dangerous" may well backfire if the American people want real and dramatic change in our country, which also holds an element of risk.  It is easy to see Trump painting Mrs. Clinton as a pinched, dull ghost of Herbert Hoover, though without the goodness of Hoover.  If that is so, then Donald Delano Trump could surprise everyone this November.

How are we to think of Donald Trump?  He oozes confidence.  He holds opinions that are more practical than ideological.  Trump promises results more than anything else.  Trump has lived his life in New York, the real center of power in America, with the wealth and power to rub shoulders with the men who largely run America.

Donald J. Trump, in many ways, looks more like the last rich and powerful New Yorker to win the White House: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was nominated by an uneasy Democrat Party Convention 84 year ago in 1932.  FDR and DJT both have the characteristic of being an outsider fighting not only the establishment of the nation, but the establishment of the party and also being, by any objective analysis, a penultimate insider.

FDR and DJT both have a sense of grand showmanship that is able, often, to transcend the media establishment.  It is easy to forget that FDR was overwhelmingly opposed by the newspapers in America when he first ran for office.  Of course, FDR, with his "Fireside Chats," largely invented direct mass communication between a president and the American people.

FDR and DJT both seem to sense the emotional and psychological temper of the people in ways that defy normal politics.  FDR and DJT are both running as the standard bearer of the party out of power and DJT has, as FDR had, the luxury of being able to promise change without really worrying too much at the outside what that change will be.  FDR famously said he would keep trying things until he found policies that work.

DJT, like FDR, has abundant executive experience but virtually no legislative experience, which accounts for the approach to government of acting more or less unilaterally rather than work with the other branches of government.  (FDR, according to one story, asked his aides to find some bill for him to veto, and he tried to pack the Supreme Court.)

There are other similarities.  DJT, like FDR, is intimately connected to his family.  FDR's wife was deeply involved in politics, and he and Eleanor were close relatives of Teddy Roosevelt.  Trump, to his great credit, loves his parents and his children, and that seems reciprocated.  He clearly intends to use his wife and children in his administration as president.  This is another aspect of a presidency that promises to be intensely personal rather than ideological or even partisan.

Is this good or bad?  Pragmatism, relentlessness, big thinking, optimism, steady calm, and conveying that calmness are all important elements of good presidencies, especially in scary times.  More than almost any candidate since FDR, one can see Trump repeating the theme of FDR when he told Americans that "we have nothing to fear but fear itself" and having us believe him.

FDR was a president who was rather unscrupulous and who played fast and loose with the facts on many occasions.  The quip that he "never told the truth when a lie would do just as well" was something both his enemies and his allies generally agreed was accurate.  DJT, however, would certainly be as honest as Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton – though surely that is damning one with faint praise.

There is little doubt that FDR genuinely loved America and accepted the notion of American exceptionalism, which seems just as true about DJT.  Here is the sharp distinction between the odious Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton and the boisterous DJT, so the cynicism of method we will surely find in a Trump presidency, as it would be with Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton, would be offset by a genuine sincerity of purpose in a Trump presidency, something Mrs. Clinton seems utterly to lack.

Most of all, with a Trump presidency, we may see the same sort of grand change in America we saw with Roosevelt.  Not all of that change was good, and not all was bad, but it was most surely actual, not imagined, change.

The campaign plan by Democrats to paint Trump as "dangerous" may well backfire if the American people want real and dramatic change in our country, which also holds an element of risk.  It is easy to see Trump painting Mrs. Clinton as a pinched, dull ghost of Herbert Hoover, though without the goodness of Hoover.  If that is so, then Donald Delano Trump could surprise everyone this November.