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Thank you, Mr Trump

  • Published at 12:02 am August 11th, 2016
Thank you, Mr Trump

Dear Mr Trump,

I never thought I’d say this, but thank you. Since you announced your run for the presidency, you have held up a giant mirror, and shown us just who we are as a nation. Some of what we see reflected back is not so pretty; but by and large, our country’s response to your candidacy has shown us that the character of America remains strong.

By the latest estimates, the majority of the voting public -- including many within the rank and file of your own party’s most respected individuals -- will not accept into the highest office of the US a Trump presidency.

As we review the past year since you’ve announced your candidacy, let’s take a look at some defining moments from your campaign which were revelatory not only of your character, but that of this nation.

When you went after Mexicans (June 2015)

It was the kind of ill-conceived, stereotypical, and irresponsible statement that would characterise your run for office: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best ... they’re sending people that have lots of problems ... they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

What was the nation’s response?

There was the natural public shock and outrage; and high-ranking GOP officials disavowed your views from those of the Republican Party. This was soon followed by leading brands like NBC, Macy’s, ESPN, NASCAR, PGA (among a long list of others) that severed ties, costing you from estimates of $50-80 million in lost business deals.

On the very heels of your announcement for candidacy, many of us thought your statement would be the end of the very beginning. But not so; it was simply the beginning of a long and drawn out affair that would not only see a long list of business defections, but of political defections as well.

When you went after Sen John McCain (July 2015)

If there’s a Holy of Holies of American politics, it’s a decorated war hero who happens to be a well-respected leader in your own party. Your political disagreements with him escalated last year when you directly challenged his military reputation: In reference to Sen McCain’s five years as a tortured POW in Vietnam, you had this to say: “He’s not a war hero ... I like people who weren’t captured.”

If there ever was a moment to collectively face-palm, this was it. Not only did it demonstrate a complete lack of sensitivity for what was undoubtedly a traumatic experience, not just for Sen Mccain, but for tens of thousands of current and former US military personnel; it also revealed a complete disregard for the norms of political discourse or civility.

It’s okay to disagree with an individual over their views, but to malign them so personally, and so publicly, falls well below the temperament required of a leader interviewing for the most powerful office in the world.

What was the nation’s response?

We questioned your judgment as a statesman and leader. We wondered how you could serve as a legitimate representative of the Republican Party when a whole cohort of its leaders repudiated your statements in the strongest terms. Among them was this blunt message from South Carolina Sen Lindsay Graham on Twitter: “If there was ever any doubt that @realDonaldTrump should not be our commander-in-chief, this stupid statement should end all doubt.”

While 7/10 young women (35 and younger) are likely to vote for Clinton in November, over half of them are doing so as a vote against you -- not necessarily because they support her

When you went after Megyn Kelly (August 2015-April 2015)

Conservative Fox News commentator Megyn Kelly directly challenged various statements you made about women: Everything from labeling them “fat pigs,” “dogs,” “slobs,” and “disgusting animals” to making derogatory sexual references to them in professional contexts. Rather than take accountability, you defended your virtue of vulgarity, countering with this deflective statement: “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct.”

In the following days you made a controversial reference to Megyn Kelly’s blood flows; and over the course of nine months continued to disparage and undermine her qualifications as a journalist for calling you out on an important issue.

Now, compare your comments with the sitting president’s recently published essay on feminism, and you’ll see just how high the bar has been raised on the issue in the Oval Office.

What was the nation’s response?

I think it’s fair to say that you’ve lost the female vote this election. Poll after poll shows widening female voter support for Clinton as the election nears. In fact, NPR projects that the gender gap this year will likely be the largest in 60 years -- which is as far as such poll data goes back.

And here’s the stinger: While 7/10 young women (35 and younger) are likely to vote for Clinton in November, over half of them are doing so as a vote against you -- not necessarily because they support her.

When you went after US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel (May 2016)

With allegations of fraud culminating in a civil litigation against your now defunct Trump University, you publicly called for Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s removal from the case on the grounds of unfair treatment. Why? Because he is (a born and raised American citizen) of Mexican heritage, who must therefore -- according to your logic -- harbour bias against you and your great wall agenda.

When CNN host Jack Tipper pressed you on the issue, clarifying, “if you are saying he cannot do his job because of his race, is that not the definition of racism?” your response, unsurprisingly, was: “No, I don’t think so at all.”

What was the nation’s response?

Your party’s top ranking official and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan contradicted you directly when he called your statement, “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”

The chorus of repudiation once again came from the rank and file of an increasingly frustrated GOP; and the pulse of the nation, just two weeks after your statements, revealed an unfavourability rating of 70%.

For reference, you had polled at an unfavourability rating of 57% one month prior. By comparison, Clinton dropped from a 57% to 55% unfavourability rating within the same period.

The concluding part of this long form will be published tomorrow.

Samier Mansur is a writer, thinker, and entrepreneur driven by ideas and technologies that make this world a happier, and more peaceful place. This article was previously published in the Huffington Post.