Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Donald Trump will be a big nightmare for Republican contenders. (Photo: Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Trump for President? Giving the GOP Nightmares

Ralph Nader

Donald Trump, the bombastic builder of Trump towers and Trump gambling casinos is moving from his reality TV show to the theater of presidential elections. If he survives the first three months of mass media drubbing him and his notorious affliction of ‘leaving no impulsive opinion behind,’ he’s going to be trouble for the other fifteen or so Republican presidential candidates.

Already the commentators have derided his massive egotitis – he said “I” 195 times in his announcement speech, not counting the 28 times he said “my” or “mine” or the 22 mentions of “me.” But Trump revels in self-promotion and, as one commentator wrote, “plays the media like a harp.”

If he is still campaigning by Labor Day, watch out Republicans! He will be a big nightmare for Republican contenders – from Jeb Bush to Ted Cruz, from John Kasich to Scott Walker. Here are some reasons why:

Stop!

We Interrupt This Article with an Urgent Message!

Common Dreams is a not-for-profit news service. All of our content is free to you - no subscriptions; no ads. We are funded by donations from our readers.

Our critical Mid-Year fundraiser is going very slowly - only 819 readers have contributed so far. We must meet our goal before we can end this fundraising campaign and get back to focusing on what we do best.
If you support Common Dreams and you want us to survive, we need you now.
Please make a tax-deductible gift to our Mid-Year Fundraiser now!

  1. Many American voters love to vote for very rich candidates, whether they are Republicans or Democrats. They believe they can’t be bought. They love business success stories. And being very rich, the media keeps the very rich candidates in the limelight, as do the national polls.
  1. He can pay for his own media. Remember billionaire Ross Perot and his purchase of national television to show his charts on deficits. People laughed. But Mr. Perot got 19 million votes in 1992, even after dropping out of the campaign in the summer and being labeled a conspiracy theorist before again becoming a candidate in the fall!
  1. Trump regularly and personally attacks the other candidates, which makes for regular news. The other candidates do not like to engage in personal attacks unless under political duress.
  1. Trump turns liabilities into assets, including his vaunted forthcoming disclosures of his net worth – he focused on assets, while ignoring many complex liabilities. While Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney before him tried to play down their wealth, Trump insists he’s worth over ten billion dollars. He even ridiculed Bush who announced for president without wearing a suit and tie.

To accusations that he has taken public subsidies and eminent domain protections for his giant projects, Trump replies that capital and tax money create jobs and more businesses.

  1. Trump will crowd other candidates out from valuable TV, radio (Rush Limbaugh thinks highly of him) and print space. To adjust, they may have to become more flamboyant, further expanding the circus-like atmosphere of the Republican Primaries, while the Democratic Party leaders chortle.
  1. Some of Trump’s positions have sizable support among Republican voters. He believes in public works programs on a big scale. He talks jobs, jobs, jobs and says he’s the only one among the candidates, who has been creating jobs. He objects strongly to the trade agreements, including the proposed Trans-Pacific deal now in the news, on the grounds that other countries, such as Japan and China, are superior negotiators and are taking us to the cleaners. He wants to build a tall wall on the Mexican border. He is against Common Core and federalizing education. He warned against invading Iraq in some detail, predicting it would expand Iran’s influence. He is for a strong military and talks about the mistreatment of veterans. He exudes self-confidence and attaches it to American national interests.
  1. Having survived tough, acidic New York journalism for years, he is almost scandal-proof. Attacks from his business and political enemies have helped to immunize the big-time scapper from serious reporting. He feeds off public cynicism about politics.
  1. If the Republican bigwigs try to exclude or humiliate him, Trump has the means to run as an Independent candidate for president – as Mr. Perot essentially did under the banner of his Reform Party. Just the prospect of that added nightmare might induce caution at the top levels of the GOP.
  1. He is not going to run out of money and, unlike his competitors, he doesn’t have to spend any precious campaign time dialing for dollars or making campaign promises. He can hire the smart strategists, speech-writers, election lawyers and primary delegate-seekers.

One hurdle Trump may not be able to surmount is Saturday Night Live (SNL). Lorne Michaels, SNL’s forever producer, uses exaggeration and satire to lampoon politicians. How can he satirize buffoonish satire itself? How can he exaggerate Trump who brags that the master bathroom on his private jet has a 24-karat-gold-plated sink?


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate and the author of "The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future" (2012). His new book is, "Wrecking America: How Trump’s Lies and Lawbreaking Betray All(2020, co-authored with Mark Green).

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Child Advocates Celebrate 'Pause' But Push for Permanent End to Instagram for Kids

"Today is a watershed moment for the growing tech accountability movement and a great day for anyone who believes that children's well-being should come before Big Tech's profits."

Jessica Corbett ·


UK Labour Conference Condemns AUKUS as Threat to World Peace

"AUKUS is the next step in a new cold war with China," said one opponent of the trilateral agreement. "It makes the Indo-Pacific, and the world, a more dangerous, not a more stable, place."

Brett Wilkins ·


'A Deal's a Deal': Progressive Leader Holds Strong on $3.5 Trillion Social Investment Plan

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal says around 60 Democrats are willing to vote down a weaker bipartisan bill if the more sweeping reconciliation bill does not come first.

Jon Queally ·


Critics Fume as ICC Excludes US From Probe Into Afghan War Crimes

"Allowing powerful states to get away with multi-year, multi-continent torture against so many feeds impunity for all."

Andrea Germanos ·


'Fantastic!': Berlin Votes to Expropriate 240K Apartments From Corporate Landlords

"Which cities will follow its lead?" asked one advocate, after 56% of voters told Berlin's municipal government to transfer thousands of homes to public ownership.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo