bureaucracybusters

TRUMP VS. MACHIAVELLI: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In History, Military, Politics, Social commentary on May 9, 2016 at 12:37 am

Donald Trump has swept the field of his political rivals. The Republican nomination for President now stands within his reach.

The “Anybody-But-Trump” coalition no longer has a champion. Its last two–Ohio Governor John Kasich and Texas U.S. Senator Rafael Cruz–have bowed out of the race. 

On May 3, Trump captured 53.3% of the votes in the Indiana primary, compared to 36.7% for Cruz and 7.5% for Kasich.  

That night, Cruz threw in the towel.  

“Together we left it all on the field in Indiana,” Cruz told his disappointed supporters in Indianapolis. “We gave it everything we’ve got.  But the voters chose another path.”  

Ted Cruz, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg

Rafael “Ted” Cruz

The next day–May 4–so did Kasich, the only candidate who had dared compare Trump to Adolf Hitler.

All that Trump need do, from here on, is wait until the Republican convention assembles in Cleveland during the week of July 18.

Even so, Trump gets poor marks as a man and a candidate from many of his fellow conservatives.  

One of these is New York Times political columnist David Brooks.

DavidBrooks.jpg

David Brooks

Appearing on the May 25 edition of The PBS Newshour, Brooks offered some highly disturbing assessments about the man who seeks to control the most powerful nation in the world.

  • “The odd thing about [Trump’s] whole career and his whole language, his whole world view is there is no room for love in it. You get a sense of a man who has received no love, can give no love, so his relationship with women, it has no love in it. It’s trophy.”
  • “And [Trump’s] relationship toward the world is one of competition and beating, and as if he’s going to win by competition what other people get by love.”
  • “And so you really are seeing someone who just has an odd psychology unleavened by kindness and charity, but where it’s all winners and losers, beating and being beat. And that’s part of the authoritarian personality….”

An even more damning assessment comes from Niccolo Machiavelli, the 16th-century Florentine statesman whose two great works on politics–The Prince and The Discourses–remain textbooks for successful politicians more than 500 years later.  

Niccolo Machiavelli

Consider Trump’s notoriety for hurling insults at virtually everyone, including:  

  • Latinos
  • Asians
  • Muslims
  • Blacks
  • The Disabled
  • Women
  • Prisoners-of-War

These insults delight his white, under-educated followers. But they have alienated millions of other Americans who might have voted for him.

Among those groups–and the insults Trump has leveled at them:

  • Mexicans: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” He’s also promised to “build a great, great wall on our southern border and I will have Mexico pay for that wall.”
  • Prisoners-of-War: Speaking of Arizona U.S. Senator John McCain, a Vietnam POW for seven years: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”
  • Blacks: At a Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama, he was interrupted by black activist Mercutio Southall, who repeatedly shouted: “Black lives matter!” Trump ordered his removal, and several of his supporters beat and kicked Southall. Later, Trump said: “Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”
  • Trump retweeted an image of a masked, dark-skinned man with a handgun and a series of alleged crime statistics, including: “Blacks killed by whites – 2%”; “Whites killed by blacks – 81%.” The image cites the “Crime Statistics Bureau – San Francisco”–an agency that doesn’t exist.
  • Muslims: Trump has boasted he would require Muslims to register with the Federal Government. And he would close “some mosques” if he felt they were being used by Islamic terrorists.  
  • Women: “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband, what makes her think she can satisfy America?”
  • “Twenty-six thousand unreported sexual assaults in the military–only 238 convictions.  What did these geniuses expect when they put men and women together?”  
  • Asians: “Negotiating with Japan, negotiating with China, when these people walk into the room, they don’t say, ‘Oh hello, how’s the weather? So beautiful outside, isn’t it lovely? How are the Yankees doing? Oh, they are doing wonderful, great.’ They say, ‘We want deal!’” 

Machiavelli, on the other hand, advises leaders to refrain from gratuitous insults:

  • “It is not necessary for a prince to have all the above-named qualities [mercy, faith, humanity, integrity and religion] but it is very necessary to seem to have them….”  
  • “A prince must take care that nothing goes out of his mouth which is not full of the above-named five qualities, and he should seem to be all mercy, faith, integrity, humanity and religion.”
  • “And nothing is more necessary than to seem to have this last quality, for men in general judge more by the eyes than by the hands, for every one can see, but very few have to feel.  Everyone seems what you appear to be, few feel what you are….”  
  • “…[The Roman Emperor Commodus]…by not maintaining his dignity, by often descending into the theater to fight with gladiators and committing other contemptible actions…became despicable in the eyes of the soldiers. And being hated on the one hand and despised on the other, he was conspired against and killed.”

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