Presidential Campaign

Trump winning means his supporters will lose, most of all

In one of the more peculiar defenses of what Republican president candidate Donald Trump is doing, Bill O’Reilly proclaimed recently that the impossibility in Trump being able to uphold even a portion of his many vacuous campaign promises matters little. Because, O’Reilly concluded, Trump is winning. Like Barack Obama before him, he is winning. Nothing beyond that should matter.

Or does it?

To his credit, Trump has keenly tapped into the genuine anger and overall dissatisfaction with the Washington establishment felt by millions of Americans. He has been riding that wave since launching his unorthodox campaign last summer, and like a calculating Andromeda Strain, seems to only grow stronger after each successive attempt by his rivals to bring him down. The anger felt for President Obama has thus far proven stronger than any misstatements or missteps made by Trump. He seems to be the one that they have been waiting for.

{mosads}But there is a genuine danger in continually making promises impossible to keep, or, as my dad would say, “letting his mouth write checks that his ass can’t cash,” on the campaign trail. What will become of those who feel betrayed and so angry now, if Trump isn’t able to deliver on the many promises he has made once his true believers catapult him into the White House?

It has been argued that what Trump is doing is brilliant — because, the argument goes, when negotiating, it is necessary to demand the stars and all the heavens when in fact a two-bedroom cottage on the edge of town is all one really needs. It’s the nuance that’s most important, his defenders say. But for his supporters, there is no nuance. They aren’t jamming his campaign stops, shouting down protestors and cheering his constant barrage of insults with nuance on their mind.

Despite Obama’s best efforts, the next president will continue to be confined by a few things: a still-relevant Constitution, the legislative and judicial branches of government, and, in a worst-case scenario, a military presided over by competent, responsible men. These alone will prevent Trump from delivering much more than nuance to his legions of true believers. And they won’t be happy with that.

Where will they turn when the great and beautiful Trump wall isn’t built? Who will they blame when President Trump isn’t allowed to arbitrarily tax Ford Motor Co. 35 percent on every car it produces in Mexico? And what do you mean he alone can’t impose the death penalty on all cop killers?

Mass deporting millions of illegal immigrants would be a Herculean task, impossible to undertake and pay for. Mexico will not pay for a wall. And no one will be taking the oil and giving it to the wounded warriors as compensation for their sacrifice. But hey, remember that yuuuuge crowd in Mobile, Ala.?

In 2008, candidate Obama promised the planet would be healed and the sea levels would slow their rise. His most ardent supporters have to be at least mildly disappointed that those things have not come to pass. But that disappointment is at least assuaged by the promises Obama was able to keep. I’ve yet to hear one viable promise that a President Trump would be able to deliver to his masses. And that should be a cause for concern.

Donald Trump resides in a binary, zero-sum universe. There are only winners and losers; ones and zeroes; the spectacularly terrific and the disgusting disgraces. And win or lose, Trump will continue harbor that philosophy. He will always be the ultimate winner, meaning no one else can be. So when President Trump, constrained by law and governing authority, is reduced to nuance over “greatness that’ll make your head spin,” what will become of those that have so blindly believed in him? Where will they turn next?

Hale is a freelance writer who lives in San Antonio with his wife and three children.

Tags 2016 presidential campaign 2016 Republican primary Donald Trump
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