At the moment he is soaring in the stratosphere and I hate to be a kill-joy but if history is any barometer, Donald Trump will soon be falling back down to earth.
First, no businessman has ever been elected president. And there is a very good reason. People in power have always made the laws that govern business purposely gray, not black or white. From the emergence of the guilds in the Middle Ages, to modern day regulators on Wall Street, rulers have expected their merchants to break the law so that they will have power over them and keep them at their mercy.
Ask the IRS to fill out your tax return for you and they will laugh. They aren’t paid to help you get it right, they are paid to catch you when you get it wrong.
The odds that the Donald has made legal mistakes in his many deals and bankruptcies is almost certain. The odds that he has run into the Mafia, while operating in New York and Atlantic City, is also quite likely. And before he becomes president, we are going to meet those people. We will know their names. And the people who trusted him and invested in his projects and lost money? We will get to meet them as well.
Second, all presidents held prior elective office or were prominent generals who served for years in government.
Why? Because this is how candidates are vetted, they run for Congress or the Statehouse. They serve under the watchful eye of a superior in government. Remember businessman Herman Cain? The year before the last presidential election he captured the headlines much like Trump. According to Pew Research Cain earned more press coverage than any other GOP contender. His rally in South Carolina was the largest political event of the GOP primary season. But before he could move into the White House we began to hear allegations of sexual harassment from women who had worked with him and his numbers fell.
The unproven allegations against Herman Cain were not nearly as bad as the stories we could confirm about other prominent political figures but those stories had been out on the table for a long time. We don’t like surprises. We like time to think things over. The examination of Donald Trump has not even begun. The American people can be forgiving. They once elected a man who openly admitted to fathering a child out of wedlock. But before any of us get to vote we will want to know every wife, every girlfriend and we will want to hear their stories in detail.
Third. Finally, there are those pesky polls.
Oh, you thought the polls were good? Yes, he is leading among Republican voters. But those same polls show a very disturbing problem. He loses to Hillary Clinton in Ohio and Pennsylvania and only beats her in Florida. And he loses to vice president Joe Biden in all three states.
Now here is the kicker. Donald Trump ridiculed Rand Paul’s poll numbers among the GOP but Rand Paul consistently, for months now, has been beating Hillary Clinton in those same battleground states including Pennsylvania. And now, other GOP candidates have joined Rand Paul in beating Hillary in Ohio as well. Trump calls Jeb Bush boring but “boring Bush” is beating Hillary Clinton in all three swing states and Trump is not.
What does it mean? It means that the Democrats know their real challenger and it is not Donald Trump. They have taken out national ads against Rand Paul. They have made no secret that they would love for Trump to win the GOP nomination and if he can offend a few more general election constituencies on his way to the GOP coronation, well, all the better.
There is one thing still in the Donald’s favor. He claims that his most qualifying trait for chief executive is his ability to negotiate with an opponent, in this case the Chinese or the Mexicans or Iran. His bestselling book is entitled “The Art of the Deal.”
In fact, this is the one common denominator of all American presidents. They honed their skills in adversarial positions against a live opponent. We have never had an artist president, a Vaclav Havel. Our presidents have all been tested in combat. 25 presidents were lawyers, including Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama. 12 presidents were war time generals. They have argued in court or run for office or fought on the battlefield against an opponent.
Could it happen? Could businessman Donald Trump actually win? Well, yes, that’s what makes history so compelling. But the odds are long. And remember, this time he is negotiating for your vote. Be careful and remember, he calls it the art of the deal.