Kansas should not vote for Donald Trump in the upcoming caucuses. It’d be illogical. While Trump can be extremely entertaining and charismatic, and even occasionally comes across as likable. Well, as long as you’re white, able-bodied and not a member of the media.
Forget the xenophobia, racism, ableism and disrespect for the media, because honestly, these are positive qualities in a presidential candidate to some of you. Instead we’ll focus on what’s good about Donald Trump.
“He’s a successful businessman! He’ll run this country like a business! He’ll get us out of debt!”
Trump has filed for bankruptcy four times in the past two decades. To be fair, the filings were Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in which a company restructures to pay back debts, not liquidate its assets. However, Trump often lost large amounts of capital in these dealings. In 1991 the Trump Taj Mahal filed for bankruptcy just a year after it opened. Trump lost half his stake in the company, his personal yacht and another of his failed business ventures, Trump Airlines. The Trump Plaza Hotel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1992, costing Trump his 49 percent stake in the hotel. In 2004, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts went bankrupt, and Trump lost 20 percent of his stake. Trump Entertainment Resorts, formerly Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and his stake was reduced to just 10%.
Trump has indeed made a lot of money in his lifetime. However, he is far from the paragon of an American businessman. If Kansas wanted to vote for someone who would run this country like a business and succeed at doing so, we’d elect Warren Buffett, the most successful investor in history and one of the most well-known liberals.
“But Trump tells it like it is!”
Trump doesn’t always tell it like it is. In fact, Trump is a bit of a demagogue. He lies constantly, appealing to fear and emotion rather than facts and planning when it comes to illegal immigrants and Muslims. What is known about his platform beyond making the Mexican government pay for a border wall and a desire to put an entire religion under a microscope? Most dangerously, and most telling about the people voting for him, are the lies getting the most attention are race-baiting falsehoods.
Trump has claimed before that the Mexican government is intentionally sending “bad ones” over the border to flirt with our white women and sell the devil’s lettuce. Politifact rated this statement as a “pants on fire” lie because there is absolutely no evidence the Mexican government is encouraging people to immigrate illegally. Among his deeply racist gaffes this year, he also said he saw Muslims cheering on 9/11, also rated “pants on fire,” and that black people kill 86 percent of white homicide victims, which was again rated “pants on fire.” According to Donald Trump’s file by Politifact, Trump has told the absolute truth one percent of the time, while his statements are either false or pants on fire a staggering 61 percent of the time.
So maybe Trump doesn’t “tell it how it is.” He tells lies that appeal to people’s racist attitudes. He says what’s on his mind, but what’s often on his mind is recklessly retributive, inappropriate or just, well, racist.
“He’s self-funded! He doesn’t take any campaign donations! No one owns him!”
This is mostly true; Trump has partially self-funded his campaign. He has loaned millions to his campaign, but there lies the catch: he will be able to recuperate those funds from his own campaign as they are a loan. Also, according to the New York Times, $2.7 million of his campaign money has gone to buying services from other companies he owns, such as using his own private plane and helicopter. Finally, according to Politifact, 23.5 percent of his campaign money comes from small individual contributions, while an additional 8.4 percent comes from large individual contributions.
Ultimately, Trump is risking very little by “self-funding” his campaign. Besides, even if he was entirely self-funded, it doesn’t mean Trump wouldn’t be beholden to any special interests. He is highly involved in the world of investment, and he won’t simply betray his friends and business interests to do something like, say, reform Wall Street or political campaign funding. Not to mention the fact that “I’m extremely rich” doesn’t translate to “I’m telling the truth.”
Donald Trump is not right for Kansas. In Kansas we should tell the truth, and we shouldn’t twist it to suit our purposes. In Kansas we should respect people for who they are, not spit on them for the color of their skin. Vote for any other candidate, but please Kansas, don’t be a party to the rise of this brand of xenophobic and demagogic politics.