In a college political science class I took at Chico State University, Chico, Ca. — how ’bout a shout out for Chico State! — the professor noted that the downside of “ideologies” is that they can be confining. They can put you in a straitjacket and not allow one to broaden his or her horizons and think out of the box (those are my words but his message).
And more of my take on it all: so, if you were elected, say president of the United States, and you won espousing some particular ideology, say über nationalism, populism, and America first over international involvement but you found out there were things you did not realize or events happened to change your mind, you could be locked into a set pattern over rigid adherence to ideology.
But what if you really did not have an ideology of your own, except that you should be president because you were so wonderful and that if you were elected everything would be great, that America would start winning again, in fact so much so, the people would almost tire of such success?
Oh, have I just described Donald Trump, president of the United States?
I have never seen any evidence so far that Trump has any ideology, except that I am fairly certain he is patriotic, that he believes deeply in the United States of America, albeit his belief in his country probably plays second fiddle to his belief in his own greatness.
I should add, I also think he might have a screw loose. Oh, and to put it mildly, he has bad manners and is not terribly articulate for an educated man.
But he is not tied down to ideology and that apparently makes him extremely flexible. And as much as I think it is a disaster and an embarrassment to have The Donald — star of the tabloids and reality TV — as leader of the free world, his malleability does seem to have some advantages.
Just read an opinion piece in Politico that says that with some exceptions, he’s become Hillary Clinton, especially in foreign policy.
Also, I am reading that the simple-minded America first, Xenophobic, racist and bigoted, anti-intellectual, lower white working class base, along with some of the opportunistic far-right radio talkers, who got him elected, are turning against Trump because they think he is betraying them.
(When I say simple-minded white working class I don’t mean to demean anyone who is a working class person on the lower end of the scale or unemployed or under employed, just the simple-minded ones who are simple-minded by choice.)
I don’t listen to Fox News per se, but I did hear one of its political commenters suggest that Trump played his base for fools, using a well-worn negotiating maneuver from his business dealings.
While Trump seems now to be taking the more conventional internationalist approach in foreign affairs and has switched to being a supporter of NATO (and let’s give a shout out to NATO — I was connected to it 1968 to 1971 in Germany), I read that he is moving ahead with some of his anti-immigration and deportation promises (at least trying to) and he is supposedly still trying to kill Obamacare. In fact he has threatened to withhold government subsidy payments to Medicaid which could cause Obamacare insurers to drop out. In other words, kill Obamacare by making it not work. But he has indicated that his threat is leverage to get Democrats to strike a deal with the Republicans on some replacement for Obamacare.
(And I still scratch my head trying to figure out how all the rest of the free and democratic nations of the world manage to provide health care to their citizenry via their respective governments — sometimes with private enterprise help — but we cannot figure that out. But maybe the answer is — insurance lobby.)
Well not much more to say on all of this, except it would not be as scary as it is to have Trump as president if we did not have to worry that his volatility and unpredictability might cause him to push the nuclear end-of-the-world button if he felt cornered or felt his manhood was challenged. I worry he might have an itchy trigger finger.
My prediction is that unless the economy sky rockets and jobs come back for the masses Trump will be a one-term president. And it is entirely possible that some scandal will come up and there will be enough displeasure within his own party that he will be impeached and convicted and thrown from office.
But right now we have a flexible president who seems more open-minded that once thought.
Oh, I forgot to mention, I am deeply concerned about Trump’s anti-environment stance which threatens to dismantle the EPA and the clean water and clean air and conservation efforts of our government — but maybe he will change on that too.
… And I used the term “anti-immigration”. I realize one can be against illegal immigration but not against legal immigration, but with the issue of political refugees and people simply desperate for jobs it can be a confusing issue. As far as people coming over our southern border — well if we did not hire them, many would not come. But apparently we need them, so why do we worry so much? I am not against control of our borders, though. Let’s keep that up. Maybe we just need to make legal immigration easier.