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Matt Fecteau: Dear Trump Supporters, This isn’t a Reality TV Show

Saturday, March 19, 2016


Thanks to US Presidential candidate and business mogul Donald Trump, and his fan club, this presidential season will go down in history as one of the looniest, wackiest, and most surreal in American history. This experiment in unadulterated, sheer lunacy makes for good ratings, but that is about it. 

You have to laugh to keep from crying; a reality television star is considered a serious contender for the highest office in the land. Trump is astute at playing to the crowd, lying straight to their face, and using hot button issues to rally his supporters, little else. I don’t want him near our nuclear arsenal. I don’t care how many people he fired on his reality television show.

To call Trump a conservative would be disingenuous.  Before his candidacy, Trump came out in support of universal healthcare, supported raising taxes, an assault weapons ban, and even said Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton did a “good job” as Secretary of State (heresy if I ever heard it!).  This is a perplexing considering Trump now opposes all the aforementioned, and says Clinton is the worst Secretary of State in history. If any other candidate had a track record like Trump in the Republican primary, he or she would be tarred and feathered. 

To call Trump a bigot, racist, and xenophobe would also be reaching.  Trump’s sporadic successes as a businessman point to man far more tolerant than most Democrats would like to believe. Trump is merely playing his deprived supporters like cheap fiddles, catering to the impulses of the ignorant and misguided (that’s how he ran the now debunked Trump University). 

None of this matter to Trump’s deranged supporters. All sins are forgiven when Trump mentions something about building a wall on the Mexico-U.S. border – a red herring.  This is fascinating given illegal immigration from Mexico to the USA has been negative since 2010 (in other words, more undocumented immigrants might be leaving our country, not entering).  Trump is essentially talking about building a wall – which includes a massive seizure of private land -- to protect us from no one.

With his demagogy, Trump continues defies political gravity.  He called Mexicans rapists, said our POWs are not war heroes, insulted women, endorsed violence in his rallies, mocked a disabled reporter, stated “Islam hates America” (an estimated 1.6 billion people), and threw African Americans out of his events – for the dreadful crime of merely being black.  Trump will say anything to win, and his intolerant sycophants cheer him on. This is democracy in its rawest, yet scariest form.  

As a result of his candidacy, the Republican candidates no longer debate substantive policy issues; eager to appease the low information voters in their ranks, the Republican presidential campaigns resorted to a mere schoolyard name calling contest.  Trump was the pioneer of extreme negative campaigning this presidential cycle.  The other presidential (including former) candidates eventually joined the fray (by the way, I never want to hear another Republican say “grow up” when your presumptive nominee is Trump). 

Take for example US Senator Marco Rubio, whom mockingly said, Trump has the "worst spray tan in America." Though his presidential candidacy has ended, Rubio has expressed a degree of regret for joining in the schoolyard taunts – redemption? I cannot say that for another Republican presidential candidate still in the race, US Senator Ted Cruz, who has so piquantly mimicked Trump’s insults to such an extent the respective campaign are almost indistinguishable.

Never in my wildest dreams (or nightmares) would I ever think to say this: I sincerely miss President George W. Bush. He might have been a horrible commander-in-chief, but at least he would have the good sense to enthusiastically disavow an endorsement from the former leader of the KKK.  While the tactics used by W. Bush’s political advisor Karl Rove in the 2000 Republican presidential primary were completely abhorrent, – producing propaganda saying US Senator John McCain had an African American child out of wedlock – at least W. Bush’s presidential campaign was more subtle with its scumishness. 

With this election season, there is a lot of collateral damage and the political animosity is much more overt. Our democracy for one is becoming a laughingstock around the world.  In addition, because this political cycle is so filled with insults, we have little knowledge of where candidates stand – at least in the Republican primary. However, the true victims are the Trump supporters; they are cheering for a man that is merely manipulating them for self-gain, a fraud if I ever saw one, willing to say anything to win as if the star in his own reality TV show. 

You have to truly pity Trump supporters. Trump can put whatever he wants on his cheap hats; electing him as President won’t ‘make America great again.’ His agenda is completely unrealistic. His tax program could add $24.5 trillion to our national debt, and Mexico certainly won’t build that wall.  This is the ongoing fraud perpetrated on his supporters.  With all the outlandish promises made, a Trump presidency would likely be a disaster for America, a Trump candidacy already is. 

In the end, Trump will go down in history as one of the most astute self-promotionists of all time, but he definitely won’t be president. There is no way Americans are so gullible to elect a former reality television host president. As for the Republican Party, I cannot say the same.  For those who support Trump, sorry to disappoint you, this is not a reality television show, this is real life. Your candidate is far from what he seems, but that is what you get when you support a reality TV star.


Matt Fecteau ([email protected]), is a former White House national security intern and Iraq war veteran.


Related Slideshow: 10 Ways Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump Are Actually Similar

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Universal Health Care 

Despite sitting on opposite sides of the aisle, Trump and Sanders essentially share the same healthcare plan. But you don’t have to take our word for it—Ted Cruz, Trump’s chief rival, said himself that Trump and Sanders “have basically the same healthcare plan," in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

"Donald Trump enthusiastically supported the TARP bailout of big banks. I opposed it. He enthusiastically supported Barack Obama's stimulus plan. He thought it should have been bigger. I think it was a disaster and a waste of money. Actually, Donald not only supported both of those, but he argued that Obamacare should be expanded to make it socialized medicine for everyone,” Cruz told Hannity

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Reforming Wall Street

Both candidates have made serious noise talking about reforming Wall Street. Bernie Sanders has just about made his whole career on taking on financial kingpins, and has attracted many young fans in the process.

While the uber-capitalist Trump may seem like the candidate to take on his fellow one-percenters, his words say something different. Trump blasted hedge fund managers on CBS, saying they are “getting away with murder,” on CBS’ “Face the Nation" in 2015.

"The hedge fund guys didn't build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky,” Trump said.

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They Don't Take Money from Wall Street

It’s not just that the candidates criticize Wall Street and big banks—plenty do that. But Trump and Sanders back up their tough talk by not attracting campaign donations from those same financial institutions.

Sure, Hillary Clinton has taken aim at the major financial mavericks during her time on the campaign trail—what self-respecting Democrat hasn’t? But a closer look at her campaign financials shows that she isn’t putting her money where her mouth is.

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Their Campaigns are Populist Movements

Neither Trump nor Sanders are what you would call a “party darling.” Both have taken aim at the lions and leaders of their own parties have been unafraid to make controversial statements regarding the political establishments.

Instead, their campaigns have been buoyed by passionate, typically politically apathetic people. People who have finally found someone they  can relate to in the political landscape and someone they feel they can trust. Despite repeated predictions of failure, regular people continue to respond to their campaigns, as both Sanders and Trump remain near or at the polls as the primaries begin.

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The Most Unusual Candidates (Ever?)

Trump and Sanders are certainly the most unusual candidates this year, as both the Republican and Democratic fields contain typical governors, senators and congressman vying for the ultimate government job. It goes one step further, however—they may be the most unusual candidates a Presidential campaign has ever seen.

Sure, Trump isn’t the first rich eccentric to take a run at the Oval Office (just google Ross Perot if you don’t believe us.) But he’s certainly the first candidate to speak about immigrants and other races as he has.

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Massive Crowds

Political candidates of any variety like going where they are wanted. They make sure that there are plenty of warm well-wishers to make campaign events see exciting and full.

Trump and Sanders, however, seem to be able to attract raucous crowds that are more akin to rock concert or playoff game than a political rally. People come in costume, dressed as their favorite candidate. Teenagers, even though they cannot cast a vote, turn out in full face paint to support their candidate.

It’s happened all over the country. Record-setting crowds packed the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon and thousands filled the DCU Center to see Trump in Worcester, Massachusetts. Everywhere these candidates go, people rush to see them.

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Lots of Small-Money Donations

Typically, leading Presidential campaigns are powered by big money donations, but that’s not the case for Trump and Sanders.

As Graphiq shows us below, Sanders and Trump are one and two, respectively in the amount of campaign donations under $200—a sure sign of grassroots support.

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Real Talk

How often do you watch and listen to a political speaking, and find yourself drifting off to sleep or reaching for your iPhone?

That rarely seems to be the case when Trump or Sanders are on the mic. You never quite know when Trump will insult an entire religion or ethnic group in one thirty-second soundbite. 

Not to be outdone, Sanders folksy and frantic style of speech has attracted attention—and plenty of jokes and memes—from all across the internet.

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 Slated for Failure

Since the first day that each candidate announced their campaign, the political intellectual and elite have told everyone that they just don’t stand a chance. Trump and Sanders are too controversial, their too radical and they are too inexperienced. How many times did political analysts or other talking heads say they would be out of the race before the first votes are ever cast?

Yet here we are, just a few days away from the first caucuses and primaries. Neither Trump nor Sanders are out of the race. Neither is on their dying breaths. They are thriving. And, as you’ll see in our next slide, they are winning

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Leading in Iowa (and New Hampshire!)

If the latest polls are to believed these massively unusual candidates—one socialist, one real estate magnate/reality tv star, both with tons of small donations, both told they never had any chance—will be making victory speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire soon.

According to CNN, Trump has an 11 point lead among Republicans and Sanders an eight point lead among Democrats in Iowa just a few days before the caucus.

And in New Hampshire, as you’ll see below,  Trump and Sanders have double digit leads as we approach the first true primary.


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