A Philosopher's Blog

Trumping Populism

Posted in Politics by Michael LaBossiere on March 11, 2016

I think that Trump would be awful as a President. While I could grind through my ideological, moral and philosophical disagreements with him, my main practical concern is that he would simply be rather bad at the job. The first reason is that he has no experience in political leadership. While he has run a business (with many failures), being a business leader is rather different from being a political leader. To use an analogy: I have years of experience teaching philosophy but this does not qualify me to teach, for example chemistry or even a subject closer to philosophy such as history. The second is that Trump has not presented any developed plans or proposals and the ones he has advanced are patently absurd. The third is that Trump seems to lack even a basic understanding of critical matters such as international law, international events, the rules governing the military and so many more things. While Trump makes sweeping claims that bring cheers, he does not seem to accept that he is making claims that are untrue and while not logically impossible, are practically impossible. In sum, Trump is not qualified or suitable for the office.

As much as it pains me, Trump does deserve some praise for what he has managed to do. First, he has made the Republican party live what it has become, in full view of the voters. Second, he has launched a successful campaign against the political establishment by appealing to the people. While I disagree with Trump, it is good to see a complacent political machine knocked off balance. If only we could see something similar happen to the Democrats. To be fair, Bernie has been trying to kick the machine and I think it might have shuddered just a bit.

Third, he has captured a bolt of the lightning of American anger and fear; thus giving voice to the rage of those who have long been ignored. I think that he is getting people to turn the right anger in the wrong direction, but he speaks for those who have been effectively abandoned by the current system to a degree that none of the other Republicans can match.

Fourth, he has energized American participation in politics to a level that has not been seen in a long time. Currently, he has energized the Republicans but there is a chance he will energize Democrats and Independents to vote—most likely against him. He has made more people care about politics and has even, I must concede, made people believe that it is worth getting involved. While I certainly hope that he does not succeed, I must commend him for getting so many out of the pit of apathy that has become the norm in American politics.

It is worth considering that Trump does not deserve much credit for this. It could be that people were ready to reject the establishment and motivated to become politically active and Trump just happened to be the guy that got the attention. That said, somebody has to be the guy (or gal) that the voters rally behind. Trump is, no matter what one might think of him, that guy.

It has been claimed that Trump cannot beat Hillary or Sanders; that the polls show he will lose in the general. As others have pointed out, Trump was never supposed to get this far. So it is unwise to count him out. Trump actually does have a path to the White House.

First, Trump needs to keep the remaining candidates in the race so that they keep splitting the vote. If he can do this, he is likely to keep ahead of all the others. Second, Trump needs to be ready to fight it out at the convention. If he does not get the automatic win, the Republican establishment might try to rob him—which would be a disaster for the party in many ways. Third, Trump needs the usual low voter turnout among those who are likely to vote for the Democrat. While Sanders has an enthusiastic group of supporters, they tend to be the folks who are not reliable voters. Also, to be honest, neither Hillary nor Bernie are really lighting the base on fire—though Bernie does have some devoted folks. So, there will probably be the usual weak turnout of Democrats—unless they are set afire by fear of Trump. Fourth, Trumps needs a high voter turnout among the folks who will vote for him. Trump does not need to win a majority of registered voters—he just needs a majority of the minority who actually vote. Trump can, I think, do this—he has enthusiastic supporters who have turned out to support him. They will almost certainly vote in the general election. Put simply, Democrat apathy + Trump enthusiasm= President Trump. As always, the beauty of democracy is that it is the best political system for giving us what we deserve.


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  1. ajmacdonaldjr said, on March 11, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    It’s a shame so many voters have been influenced by the (unusually many) “debates”. Commercial television seeks viewers in order to sell advertiser’s products. The better the entertainment, the larger the audience of potential product consumers. Televised political debates are entertainment. That’s why Trump is winning. He’s a professional television entertainer, not a politician. May the best reality star win. College Lecture Series – Neil Postman – “The Surrender of Culture to Technology” https://youtu.be/hlrv7DIHllE

  2. magus71 said, on March 11, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    Here’s why Trump appeals to me: he’s identified nearly everything that I think is important and said he’ll move to improve/fix those things. Could he be lying? Absolutely. Are there things about him that I don’t like? Absolutely. But it’s like this: In any relationship, with any person or organization, you have to identify your “deal breakers”. If a woman gets super irritated that a man leaves the toothpaste cap off and the toilet seat up, and wants a divorce, there’s a good chance no man will ever please her. But what if the guy does all the big things right? He goes to work every day, he doesn’t beat her, he loves the children…He buys her flowers every now and again. Oh, but he’s messy, drinks too much…so it is with Trump. He may be lying that he thinks cops and soldiers are getting treated poorly, maybe he doesn’t give a crap that we have the most porous border of any first world country in the world, perhaps he knows absolutely nothing about economic incentives, despite being a millionaire, and conversely, maybe he’s super greedy, despite having paid for his own campaign, probably spending millions to hear slurs thrown against him on a daily basis. Maybe he really likes the fact that America protects itself less than any other country when it comes to trade and that other countries take advantage of that. Maybe the rich oligarchs that the Left hates so much, really DO love the rich oligarch Trump, who counter-intuitively says he will fight to keep big companies here in America where they will have to pay higher wages to Americans as opposed to Taiwanese villagers.

    And maybe, just maybe, he’s lying when he says: “I love this country”. Something I’ve never heard Barrack Obama say in 8 years. And Make America Great AGAIN implies we were once great. Obama believes our history is simply one of evil imperialism and racism.

    So forgive me if I doubt that all of these things he says he wants are lies. And forgive me if I don’t think it’s insane to question the immigration policies regarding Muslims, just as Japan does, a country that severely restricts the rights of all muslims, which is worse than what Trump hinted at. I mean, is the thought, the possibility insane and evil? No. It’s a possibility that many logical and honest people would consider, even if it doesn’t happen.

    Obama mostly told the truth. He’s a communist sympathizer and racist, just as he said in his books. He dislikes America, and received mentorship from a high level communist plant, Frank Marshall Davis, while in college, just like’s he’s said in his speeches and book. His own pastor, stated Obama’s thoughts loud and clear: God Damn America.”

    Never heard Trump say that.

    • ronster12012 said, on March 13, 2016 at 10:41 am


      Could you imagine Obama being elected prez if he was fully white instead of only half white? And he talks about racism ffs…he wouldn’t even be in the position he is in without the colour of his skin.

    • Glen Wallace said, on March 14, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      Could be lying? Trump is pathological. He passes off Bush Brothers steaks as his own. He claims only large banks were hurt by his bankruptcies when a lot of little people were hurt as well. He clearly implies certain repugnant and ugly beliefs and accusations in the debates and in speeches. Afterwards, when confronted, he then clearly lies by denying he meant what everyone knows he meant. Trump is a con man that can’t be trusted.

      • magus71 said, on March 14, 2016 at 9:36 pm

        Glen, I hope you know you’re parroting the memes of well-respected conservative, anti-communist outlets, such as The National Review. Gore Vidal would be rolling in his grave…

        He lied about steaks….I’d really pick another topic. The guy’s written upwards of 50 books, if I recall. At first he was attacked for being rich. When that didn’t quell the rising support, he was attacked for not REALLY being rich. Now we’re arguing over who distributes the steaks in his hotels. All of this started by Romney, the guy the “real conservatives” hated and took down, helping Obama win a second time, despite Romney having in all but in the bag three months prior to the election.

        Let me guess, we should vote for the old guy who’s been in government for 26 years and thinks Lenin was on to something. No thanks.

        “We have Trump Steaks,” Trump said, telling the reporters there that the steaks would cost $50 each.

        Because Trump Steaks are no longer sold at Sharper Image, people immediately questioned the authenticity of the brand. One observer noted that the packaging indicated the steaks came from Bush Brothers Provision Co., and the company confirmed to Bloomberg that it sold steaks to Trump-affiliated properties.

        As Cooper repeatedly pressed him on the topic, Trump suggested that all steaks sold at his businesses were effectively “Trump Steaks”:

        It’s the same thing. We do a tremendous steak business … We buy a lot of steaks from different places. I don’t want to buy, if I’m in California, I don’t want to buy my steaks from New York. We have different suppliers. We sell the steaks — and largely to our hotels and our clubs and things like that. It’s a small business.”


        • Glen Wallace said, on March 15, 2016 at 1:35 pm

          All that just reinforces what a weasel Trump is. When in a speech or debate he says something that clearly is a lie or repugnant, later when confronted he tries to weasel out of it by claiming he meant something different. I’m not buying it.

  3. Magus said, on March 14, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Another lie to destroy Trump. Several more that I’ll bring up later.

  4. Magus said, on March 14, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    And for the record, Mike: You were right, the conservative establishment really is all about themselves, preserving status quo power structures, graft, behind-doors deals, etc. They pretend to oppose the liberals, but really work deals behind doors to make sure they stay put. Thus, Trump.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on March 14, 2016 at 6:37 pm

      True-many of them seem to be CINO rather than really working for smaller, more efficient government that respects the rights of the people.

  5. Glen Wallace said, on March 14, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    No one deserves Trump — we all deserve better.

    • ronster12012 said, on March 14, 2016 at 11:11 pm


      If nothing else he has not anywhere near as much blood on his hands as Hillary….in fact he has no blood on his hands.

      So who is the morally superior candidate, someone who rebrands the steaks he sells or someone who can be accused of being a a war criminal?

      • Glen Wallace said, on March 15, 2016 at 1:40 pm

        Just wait until Trump has the power of the presidency. History has shown that giving such political power to someone with such thin skin and enormous ego are a recipe for tyranny goulash.

        • ronster12012 said, on March 15, 2016 at 2:28 pm


          Are you seriously suggesting that Trump is any worse than Hillary? Hillary the war criminal? With the backing of Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize winner…ffs???

          OK, enough of that easy mockery….how do you feel about all (with the notable exception of Trump and the possible exception of Sanders) your candidates(I say your because I am an Aussie) being owned by either the jews (the biggest donors Adelson and Saban, every candidate being expected to swear loyalty to Israel or else), the banksters ,the mil/industrial/intel complex or general oligarchs? You are defending these treasonous pieces of political shit and criticizing someone you think is ‘thinskinned’ and with an ego. Who wants to work with Russia and not start WW3, who thinks ISIS and Al Qaeda should be wiped out and not protected, who recognizes that the Iraq war was a total disaster(the only one honest enough to come out and say it like that), who thinks overrunning your country with the 3rd world will turn your 1st world country into a 3rd world shithole, and who wants to bring jobs back to the US……..and you are worried because he is thinfuckingskinned????

          • Glen Wallace said, on March 18, 2016 at 2:21 pm

            People with political power, who have enormous egos like Trump, combined also with having thin skin tend to send their critics to political prisons or worse. That’s all I was saying. Yikes.

            • ronster12012 said, on March 19, 2016 at 12:42 am


              Thanks for that response, but what do you actually think about all your candidates(with the exception of Trump and perhaps Sanders) being owned by various interests? I am not trolling you or baiting you on this, I just think that in a democracy candidates that are beholden to vested interests should be automatically disqualified. It speaks volumes that the american electorate is so tolerant of potential presidents being owned by special and/or foreign interests.

            • ronster12012 said, on March 20, 2016 at 12:25 pm


              I was thinking today about your assertion that Trump is thinskinned. Silly me, I sort of accepted it as I had other points to make…but…is he really thinskinned as you assert?

              For someone who has been vilified as much as he has,and by his own political party, with even calls for his murder, his family threatened and he is still has it together….I wonder how many candidates including Hillary, could withstand that.

              So rather than being thinskinned, he seems quite tough and resilient, no?

            • TJB said, on March 20, 2016 at 2:24 pm

              I don’t see Trump as thin skinned, but he does punch back if you attack him.

  6. Magus said, on March 21, 2016 at 1:23 pm


    What do you say about these Obama quotes?

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