Donald Trump apparently means well, but according to a Fortune Magazine analysis in its August 14 issue, and many other recent assessments, he has serious flaws that will keep him from being President of the United States. Everyone has flaws, but some are more dangerous than others. According to these sources, Trump’s flaws are like a giant ball and chain of weights tied to his ankles. The weights are not affecting him much at this point because he has not really tried to go anywhere of substance. The 2016 election has been much more interesting because of his antics, but his flaws may be his downfall.
First of all, this writer is a long time constitutional conservative who supports anyone able and willing to turn this country back to its founding document. Trump’s popularity is fueled by the concerns this writer has for the direction the country is going but there is deep concern about flaws in his approach that are the ball and chain that will eventually slow him down and cause him to stumble. Some of these flaws may be fixable, but it remains to be seen if this less than humble man is willing to face up to them for the sake of the country.
The Political Numbers Do Not Favor Him
First, the political spectrum does not favor him at this time. It is commonly understood that there is a 30-40-30 makeup of the voters of America. 30 percent on the left will always vote Democrat, 30 percent on the right will always vote Republican, and there is a middle group at about 40 percent. Some people argue that this spectrum is bogus, but recent political polarization has made it even more true. The question is, if Trump can survive the Republican primary and become the candidate, how will he fare with the left end of the spectrum?
Real Clear Politics, a reliable gauge, has Trump at 32 percent among Republicans. Ben Carson stands at 19 percent and Jeb Bush at 9 percent. If Trump is able to win all of the Republican votes, which is nearly impossible for any candidate, he will have captured only that 30 percent on the right end of the spectrum. His next challenge would be to pull voters from the 40 percent in the middle who are independent. About half of those will trend toward the left leaving him with 20 percent of the voters to appeal to. The flaws of Donald Trump will keep him from pulling enough of those votes and maybe cost him the election.
Herein lies the problem for this current Republican favorite. An ABC/Washington Post poll in July had his unfavorable rating at 61 percent to 31 percent favorable. Their most recent poll has him at 59 percent unfavorable to 37 percent favorable. He remains an unfavorable candidate with the general electorate. Other polls show that he is rapidly gaining in popularity with Republican voters but has gained very little ground with the voters at large. The question then is, assuming he can win the primary, will he be able to attract voters from an electorate, 59 percent of whom view him unfavorably?
He Has a Shaky Political History
His flaws may be what defeat him in the end. First of all, he has a shaky political history that will turn off many genuine conservatives and independents looking for someone with stability. In 1999, he said on Meet the Press the he is very pro-choice. In 1999, on the Larry King Show, he said he was very liberal on health care and clearly supported universal healthcare. In a book, he was for a ban on assault weapons and a long waiting period for purchasing a firearm. He has openly stated that he donated to the Clinton Foundation and called Hillary Clinton a fantastic senator. Recently he has said that she was a terrible secretary of state and would not be a good president. He has switched his party affiliation from Republican to the Independent Party, to Democrat and back to Republican. It can be argued that Ronald Reagan also changed his views on some issues and once was a Democrat, but he had a twenty-year history in which he proved himself as a Republican and conservative thinker. Trump has made many of his switches in recent years, which gives the appearance of flip-flopping.
Emotions Trump Solutions
So far much of his rhetoric has been shaped by emotion instead of well-thought-out solutions. This will attract those who vote from their gut but will repulse those who are looking for genuine answers to serious questions. He can never gain a substantial number of independent voters without offering substance. He has attracted some very fickle followers who are fed up with establishment Republican passivity, but can he attract voters who have thought through the issues and want someone who has done the same? This may be a fatal flaw.
He Is Polarizing
He is a polarizing candidate. He has emotionally criticized fellow Republicans. People want their candidates to take an independent stand, but to say that he cannot support Carly Fiorina because of her face, is going to turn off many voters. Criticism of John McCain’s views are open game but questioning his heroism in Vietnam is overboard and will cost votes in the general election. He called one radio personality a third-rate radio announcer when he was criticized. He jumped all over Megyn Kelly of Fox News for a completely legitimate question that he should have seen coming. All of these zingers may attract the emotional, fickle voters but in the end they will not help his cause with the 59 percent who find him unfavorable.
He Slips Up Then Covers Up
Another noticeable flaw is a slip-up and cover-up style of communication that will get old fast if he doesn’t learn to be more precise. For example when he spoke negatively about Fiorina’s face his cover-up was that he was talking about persona, not looks. Of course, later he admitted that he probably said something in a joking manner. In reference to Megyn Kelly, when he referred to blood coming from “her whatever,” his cover-up was that people need to get over being politically correct. Political correctness is a real problem, but there is a serious need for at least a minimum level of civility and the ability to apologize when a mistake is made or perceptions are wrong. Trump never apologizes but only covers up and that is a serious personal flaw. Space does not permit more on this subject. It could really be a book so it is time to move on.
He May Be Another Goldwater
Trump reminds some baby-boomers of Barry Goldwater. That Republican was very bombastic and aggressive in his speeches and he attracted a strong following of conservatives hungry for someone to express their cause. The problem is that when he got past the primary and ran against Lyndon Johnson, he discovered he had alienated more than half of the nation. The result was a landslide victory for Johnson with 61 percent to Goldwater’s 38 percent. Goldwater was only able to pull 5 percent from that 40 percent in the middle. His bombastic campaign had alienated them. This may not mean much to younger voters but keep in mind that history often repeats itself and a repeat in this campaign means that the flaws of Donald Trump may keep him from being president.
Opinion By Lloyd Gardner
Edited By Leigh Haugh
Fortune: Donald Trump’s Tragic Flaw
Real Clear Politics.com: Latest Election Polls
CBS News.com: Donald Trump on the Border, Wall, Immigration Plan for Mexico to Pay
Photo Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License