Trump was wrongly smeared over Russia links, but he’s still terrible and unpresidential

Former President Donald Trump’s list of critics and foes certainly includes a bunch of truly awful and obnoxious people.

From CNN and MSNBC hosts to neoconservative war hawks to creeps in the so-called intelligence community to the grifters at the Lincoln Project, a lot of terrible people don’t like Trump.

And sure, the Democratic conspiracy theories about Trump being a Russian asset and the Russians successfully “hacking the election” were gibberish from the start.

And yes, many of Trump’s supporters are wrongly smeared and talked down to by elitist left-wing snobs who don’t care to understand why they support Donald Trump.

All of this said, Donald Trump is a malignant force in American politics who doesn’t deserve a second term in the White House.

A thought experiment

For one, Trump has obviously done things which if done by a Democrat would have Republicans frothing at the mouth.

Imagine, for example, if President Barack Obama lost the 2012 presidential election, spent every subsequent day insisting the election was stolen from him (and therefore the country was stolen from the American people), called at least one secretary of state demanding they “find the votes” to help change the results, held a “stop the steal” rally outside of the Capitol building as electoral votes were being counted and said nothing as his supporters stormed the Capitol building and assaulted police officers. Obama, in this scenario, would’ve also been angrily attacking Vice President Joe Biden for not violating the Constitution and throwing out electoral votes.

Then, imagine Obama kept things up, including calling for the “termination” of the Constitution. Separately, imagine Obama faced a possible criminal prosecution for the previously mentioned efforts to meddle in one of the state election counts and was found liable for sexual abuse and defamation in a civil trial.

Imagine how mad Republicans would be at Democrats who, amid all of this, made excuses for Obama, said it was all a Republican plot against him orchestrated by “the deep state.” And, besides, the economy was booming so all of Obama’s wrongs were totally fine. Just minor character flaws.

Go ahead, imagine that.

No really, think about it.

Seriously, meditate on it.

If you actually thought about that, my point has been made.

Trump is no conservative

Second, Trump has steered Republicans away from any coherent conservative philosophy.

Even before COVID, Trump blew up the national debt and didn’t care. His signature statement about fiscal matters: “Who the hell cares about the budget? We’re going to have a country.”

He abandoned conservative commitments to free trade in favor of abusing executive power to launch a trade war with longtime allies like Canada, Mexico and the European Union because he seriously believed the following nonsense:  “Because of tariffs we will be able to start paying down large amounts of the” national debt, “while at the same time reducing taxes for our people.”

Trump evidently didn’t understand that the tariffs are in fact taxes “for our people,” that the main result of the tariffs was to undercut American companies and workers by raising costs to do business, and that tariff revenues were a drop in the bucket to the trillion-dollar deficits he approved every year as president.

And now, ironically, he’s running to the left of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis by repeatedly hammering DeSantis for having previously supported reforms to America’s unsustainable entitlement programs. The trustees of Social Security and Medicare have long warned that both programs are facing insolvency, which will trigger significant benefit reductions if nothing is done. And doing nothing is exactly what Trump wants to do.

“Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security,” he said in a video earlier this year.

Trump has instead floated as solutions cutting foreign aid and “left-wing gender programs in the military.” Yeah, no. That won’t make Medicare and Social Security solvent.

These fiscally and economically reckless ideas from Trump might be good politics for Trump in the short term, but they’re bad for the country and worse for the coherence of the Republican Party in the long term.

Trump is a loser

Americans gave him a shot in 2016 and have rejected him and his ilk ever since, which should tell you something.

In 2018, the “blue wave” wiped out Republican control of the House.

In 2020, Trump was ousted from the White House. He and his supporters were reduced to blaming everything from Venezuelan voting machines to phantom ballot-stuffing operations.

In 2021, Republicans managed to lose two Republican Senate seats in Georgia thanks to Trump’s temper tantrums, in turn losing control of the Senate.

In 2022, Trumpism stifled what should have been a “red wave” by yielding clowns like Dr. Oz and Herschel Walker as Senate candidates in key races, protecting the Democratic Senate and yielding a razor-thin Republican House majority.

Public opinion polling has consistently shown most Americans don’t want either Trump or President Biden to run again. They want someone new.

If you’re a Republican, a conservative, and you’re deeply worried about the woke leftists winning elections and taking the country to a bad place, shouldn’t you want a president who can actually, I don’t know, win? Because the backlash to Trump is what gave the country major victories for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

The country needs better

A lot of pundits have complained in recent weeks about CNN’s town hall with Trump, saying he shouldn’t have been “platformed.” I disagree.

Like him or not, Donald Trump is an important political figure in the United States, and by extension the world. It’s important to know what he says and how he thinks.

Anyone who hasn’t been chugging the MAGA Kool-Aid, thanks to CNN, got to see and hear how remarkably incoherent and nutty Trump is. We got to see and hear Trump, right after being found liable for sexual abuse, attack the victim  on live television with complaints: “Her dog or her cat was named Vagina, the judge wouldn’t allow to put that in.”

We’re living in “Idiocracy” so long as he’s a powerful political force in America. And guess what? He is, so we are.

Sal Rodriguez can be reached at

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