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Sorting out my aversion to Donald Trump

Sorting out my aversion to Donald Trump

Cruel. That was it, that’s the word that defines why I think Donald Trump is unfit to be president. Obviously, some others have already come to that conclusion. 

Like many Americans, I have spent too much of the time I have left on this earth cringing while listening to what Trump has said since he started seeking the highest office in the land, wondering how he has gotten this far.

At the same time, though, I have tried to work out why it is that I would vote for Hillary Clinton over Trump, why I have a much deeper aversion to this GOP nominee than I have had for any other major party nominee in my lifetime, an aversion that is many times stronger than what Clinton incites.

Let’s be frank: both of this election’s candidates have issues with truth and honesty. Period. We can argue about the different degrees of dishonesty each candidate possesses, something that happens during typical presidential elections. But these two candidates possess historically low likeability ratings, one of the reasons this is not a typical election.

Let’s be honest about another trait of both candidates: they are smart and have been successful in the U.S. system, a system that has been described as “rigged” by both sides but for different reasons — Trump supporters say the political system is rigged for Clinton, while her supporters say the tax code is rigged for the rich like Trump.

Clinton’s career as a lawyer, as first lady, a senator, secretary of state, and the first woman to become a major party presidential nominee — rising from very modest middle-class beginnings — is astounding, the quintessential American success story. I run a very small business and have worked hard to find a measure of business success, so Trump’s accomplishments in myriad dealings and the fortune he has amassed is something that I know from my own experience is very, very difficult to achieve. Definitely requires a savvy most of us don’t possess, and in making himself rich has become somewhat of an iconic cultural figure.

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But the dividing line for me, the reason I find Trump an inferior candidate and human being, is his cruelty. This is not my description but one I found while reading as much background on the candidates as I could find. It was from a May 2016 article in the National Review, probably the most respected conservative magazine in the United States. 

The magazine was founded by the revered William F. Buckley Jr., who by my estimation was one of the most brilliant social critics of this century, a man who took very seriously his role as one of the guiding lights of modern conservatism. Since its founding in 1955, the magazine has been the standard bearer of conservative thought and has influenced many of this country’s leading politicians, those on the left and the right.

So that’s where I went to try and put a finger on why I am repulsed by Trump but merely disappointed with many of Clinton’s actions. 

Look, I won’t plagiarize. Monah Charen nailed it in the National Review, so I’ll let her end this column for me:

It wasn’t just Donald Trump’s betrayal {of his wife Ivanka} that caught my eye, nor just the tawdriness — it was the cruelty. 

That’s the part of the Trump rise that is quite shocking. Most politicians, for as long as I can remember, have been at considerable pains to present themselves as nicer, nobler, and more empathetic than they really are. Since many of them (not all) are selfish egotists, this requires some skill. Now comes Trump unblushingly parading his viciousness — by, for example, mocking a handicapped man, toying with white supremacism, or encouraging political violence — and still gaining the loyalty of a plurality of Republicans.

… Trump seems to suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, an insecurity so consuming and crippling that he has devoted his life to self-aggrandizement. This is far beyond the puffery that most salesmen indulge to some degree. It strays well into the bizarre. Asked who he consults on foreign policy Trump said “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” What grown man says things like that and continues to be taken seriously? How can he be leading the race for the Republican nomination? 

People with severe ego weakness are to be pitied — but also feared. Everything Trump says and does is a form of self-medication for a damaged soul. His need to disparage others, to glorify himself, and to be the “strong man” could lead to disastrous judgments by the man in charge of the nuclear codes.

Here’s the link to the entire article for those interested in reading more:

(Reach Scott McLeod at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

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