Many people dismiss Trump as another flash in the pan like all those Republican poll leaders that came and went during the last primary.
I live in Toronto, and I saw the rise of mayor Rob Ford and waited for him to fall. He is similar to Trump in many ways. Both relatively wealthy business men who inherited a lot of money. Both say things that are racist, angry and shocking even to right-wingers. Both have policies that consist of incoherent half-sentences half-boasts. Their “common sense” solutions are the ideas that would pop into your head when you first hear about a problem and haven’t learned about why those solutions don’t work. Their supporters believe they are being exceptionally honest because what they say is so unconventional, and they vigorously defend them.
I say rise, but not fall, of Rob Ford because he still has strong support. It dropped from the drug and other scandals that happened after he was elected mayor, but he kept the support of the majority of those who voted for him an would have came in a solid second in the next election, but the day before the deadline to register as a candidate he was diagnosed with cancer and he switch to running in his old council seat. His slightly smarter and more sober brother ran and got about the same support Rob would have gotten.
Most “low-information” voters are intelligent and in their own areas of experience and knowledge are capable of moving beyond “common sense” solutions to more sophisticated answers. That’s why many right-wingers have left-wing positions on areas they have personal experience with.
Some politicians who start out believing “common sense” solutions but learn there are better answers. Some change their positions and voters become disenchanted and believe the politician has “lost touch”. Other politicians continue to claim they support common sense solutions, but voters can tell when they are being pandered to.
Ford seems completely incapable of learning that other ideas might be better, no matter what evidence is brought to him. From my observations of the extensive media coverage of Ford, I think that he really believed all the things he said. I’m sure even the lies where justified to himself through his own non-logic. He never did or said anything clever. He stumbled into being popular through a combination of wealth, fame and impenetrable ignorance.
The question is, “Is Donald Trump like Rob Ford?” Does he believe the things he is saying are legitimate and sensible or are his quotes carefully crafted to create exactly the level of shock needed to win the Republican primary?
There is some evidence Trump is smarter then Ford. Trump, despite his bankruptcies has substantially grown his fortune. Ford and his somewhat smarter brother has kept the business they inherited, Deco Labels, operating over the years with a modest expansion to Chicago, but a lot of businesses are kept going by their employees despite their owners rather because of them.
During his run for the nomination of the Reform Party Trump had a lot of different, more sensible policies. Both these suggest he doesn’t believe in what he is saying.
On the other hand he did walk out of a deposition because a lawyer needed to use a breast pump, although that could have been an excuse to get out of the deposition.
Perhaps Trump discovered he was excellent at faking being a bombastic dullard and he’s been using that to make business partners believe he is a fool when he really knows exactly what he is doing. Perhaps he has been waiting for an opportunity to run for president for years, cultivating the position he needs to pull it off, hosting a hit TV show and questioning Obama’s birthplace. Running for any lesser office first would reveal his true nature.
So, what do you think? If Trump faking or is he as dumb as Rob Ford?
Cross posted to Daily Kos.