Donald Trump’s relationships to media, truth, his supporters, his enemies, and his vulnerabilities.

Donald Trump’s relationships to media, truth, his supporters, his enemies, and his vulnerabilities.

Trump has a number of defenses that make him less vulnerable to the kinds of issues that affect more conventional politicians. The other GOP candidates for President were unable to deal with the almost unique set of characteristics he had. They made him almost invulnerable to media-generated public opinion, which is the primary fear of most politicians. All sixteen of them were disposed of by his tactic of ridicule, abuse, exaggeration and outright lying about them. And, the media-generated attention to this “entertainment” morphed into the reality of a president elected by a minority of voters.

How can this happen in a nation with supposedly well-educated and informed population, and laws that are supposed to be able to select the most qualified persons by a democratic process? What happened? Does Donald Trump represent the “dumb” minority who came out to vote when the “brighter” voters remained at home? Did women like Trump better, because or in spite of his “groping and sexism?” Or just stay home because they didn’t care? And the “special interests?” Which ones DID come out, and which ones decided it wasn’t important enough? Almost a third of eligible voters stayed away from the polls. Who are they? Why?

Trump was able to lie his way into the nomination because of the limitations of the consequences to a celebrity whose “persona” has already become established (by the media) in the consciousness of a large segment of the population.

Trump considers himself responsible ONLY to his supporters, who are his audience. These may change, but the core remains supportive, and so long as it does, the TRUTH is irrelevant to them. Nothing else matters.

What are the characteristics of that core? First, many are “special issue” people, who will support him because he supports THEM. Proving that he does NOT really do that requires of the media a focus and attention that it almost never applies. It requires, at the least, a credible source that directly contradicts him, and ALSO that it relates directly to the issue the supporters perceive Trump is supporting.

Trump has his celebrity, but also he is immune because he can “walk away” back to his business empire. His assertions that he will “give it all up” to serve has a strong effect on many uninformed people.

A relatively unaddressed issue in the politics of the past election is the “passivity” of the Republican Party in addressing the FACT that their CANDIDATE lies so frequently that there are entire websites established that do little else than point it out. The Party has abandoned its integrity to a point that it appears that, if there is a “reckoning” it may well lose many of its more intelligent and respected supporters.

As pointed out above, Trump feels responsible ONLY to his supporters. Until now, most of the Republican Party has—reluctantly or enthusiastically—supported him, first because he won the nomination and then the election, and now because there is no immediate alternative. In two years, that will no longer be the case. What kind of GOP will emerge from a Trump presidency?

The single major question that time will answer is: CAN or WILL Donald Trump deliver enough of what he has promised to his supporters to do to satisfy them.

What are Trump’s weaknesses? In what ways can he be attacked or his judgment affected, or prevented from acting? How can he be stopped by public outcry,law or regulation, or impeded by inaction, or found to have violated traditional or social mores? How can the media be used to make most of his actions “transparent” for the public’s information, and how can public opinion be focused on what Trump “might” do, rather than always “after-the-fact.?”

A list of his weaknesses might include the following aspects of his activities, history, and purposes. His relationships with foreign nations is now in the news and is a primary issue.

His businesses and their financing
His foreign loans—especially from China and Russia
The “quid pro quo” of his appointments
His character and personal flaws—e.g. Sexism, narcissism, sensitivity to criticism
His willingness to lie and then deny that he did despite the record that he did
His family, their activities during his term
The lawsuits now pending and others against his business and himself
His wealth, possessions and property
His name on businesses—how will this be dealt with
His fringe area supporters—how will they react and how will it play out

As the Chinese say, in their oblique curse, “My you live in interesting times.” I think the “special-interest” voters whose support elected Donald Trump seem very likely to have made that either very likely or at least possible.

John H. Langer, JD, Ed.D. Retired Federal agency manger, former professor of education, public school administrator, and writer of a number of articles and publications on education, public affairs, substance abuse and social issues. In writing a book on attention and memory as it relates to education, this blog is helping to focus attention n current issues, and hopefully, add something useful as well.

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