Why the presidential candidate may be less of a joke than we think


It’s almost funny to think about; a former celebrity running for President of the United States of America, the land of freedom. However, it isn’t the first time this has happened. In 1976 — the year when one of the first victims of AIDS died but that’s another Reagan Story — Ronald Wilson Reagan challenged then presidential incumbent Gerald Ford. According to the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., he won. And although he had many polices that split the nation, and some that many political scientists believe saved the nation, his fame as an actor was something of note. Now, nearly 40 years later, another man has stepped up to the plate utilizing their fame as a stepping stone to bolster their chance of being commander in chief.

Donald John Trump Sr. — well-known billionaire, former star of The Apprentice, and owner of the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants— has announced his candidacy for the Republican Party’s slot in the 2016 presidential election. In the few weeks since his announcement however, Trump has figuratively put a foot in his mouth multiple times.

Having involved himself in politics since 2008, when he became a supporter of the Tea Party, a more conservative incarnation of the GOP, he has been very vocal and visible in the political scene, even joining a number of people questioning whether or not President Barack Obama is a born American.

However, as the limelight has slowly faded on the Tea Party’s ideology, Trump has continued to move forward with his political agenda. In 2011 it was speculated that Trump would run during the 2012 presidential election, and according to a Newsweek poll in February 2011, Trump was only a few points behind Obama. However he eventually announced that he would not be one of the many contenders for the ticket.

But on June 16, Trump announced he would run in the 2016 election. But the road to 2016 has been fraught so far with what many say will prevent him from earning the right to lead the nation.

One of the biggest issues thus far has been Trump’s comments on Mexico and his stance on immigration. According to Business Insider, Trump stated his opinion on Mexico’s problems and their bleed into America in a three-page statement. In the statement Trump said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

These comments, although shared by some people in the nation, delivered a severe backlash for the presidential hopeful. In response to the comments against Mexican-Americans and Latinos, NBC officially dropped his reality show. In a statement released on June 29, NBC said:

“At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values. Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump. To that end, the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, which are part of a joint venture between NBC and Trump, will no longer air on NBC. In addition, as Mr. Trump has already indicated, he will not be participating in ‘The Apprentice’ on NBC. ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ is licensed from Mark Burnett’s United Artists Media Group and that relationship will continue.”

NBC however was not the first network to cut ties with Trump. In a statement from June 25, the Spanish language station Univision denounced ties with trump.

“Today, the entertainment division of Univision Communications Inc. announced that it is ending the Company’s business relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, which is part-owned by Donald J. Trump, based on his recent, insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants. At Univision, we see first-hand the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country. We will not be airing the Miss USA pageant on July 12 or working on any other projects tied to the Trump Organization.”

But his loss with major television networks isn’t all that has plagued Trump since his comments. Many Latino and Mexican activists, political figures, and commentators have spoken out against the reality TV star.

Current Miss Universe Paulina Vega said that although she does not support Trumps comments on immigration, she is forbidden by contract to step down and could be sued. After these comments, Trump called Vega a hypocrite via twitter.

There will also be no representatives from Mexico at this year’s Miss Universe pageant. The retailer Macy’s has announced that they will slowly discontinue Trump’s line of clothing in their stores due to his disparaging comments against Latinos and Mexicans.

But in all honesty, Trump is a billionaire with money to burn, how can this hurt him? For one thing, it strongly hinders his chance to win the 2016 election. So much so that Trump has even issued a “clarification” for his statements and has blamed the media for manipulating the situation — a comment tactic by political figures from both sides when they are caught in a sticky situation.

Despite all this, his political campaign seems to be moving forward although many do not believe he will be a real contender in the coming election. Which is a huge problem. Trump and his big-mouthed-propaganda distract the public from looking into or even paying attention to his political leanings and ideology which, if elected, may end up shaping the next four-to eight years.

Racist and derogatory comments aside, Trump has a poor understanding of foreign policy. For one thing, he blames Obama as the sole reason the relationship between the U.S. and Israel is strained. What he fails to mention is the dwindling support for Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu by a growing number of U.S. political figures.

During the March 2015 Israeli election, Netanyahu was lacking in the polls. In a last ditch effort to gain support which may have ultimately helped him secure the win, Netanyahu rejected the establishment of a Palestinian state. NY Daily News reported that the Prime Minister said in a video interview that any loss of territory “is giving attack territory for Islamic extremists against the State of Israel.” This stance conflicts with the American stance for Israel to settle its issue and allow for a free-standing Palestinian state.

Of course Trump does not recognize this or the fact that other nations such as Egypt, Russia and France are also attempting to settle the conflict. But who cares, Obama is the one to blame, he’s not even American — according to Trump. He also developed a top-secret plan to defeat the Islamic State, ISIS, which will allegedly put a swift end to terrorist group.

In an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren for “On The Record,” Trump claimed that he knew exactly what to do with ISIS and what the problems were. “First of all, they have no respect for our president, that’s one thing for sure,” Trump said. He got that right, but ISIS is a terrorist group, they don’t respect most world leaders. He went on to add, “I do know what to do, and I would know how to bring ISIS to the table or, beyond that, defeat ISIS very quickly, and I’m not [going to] tell you what it is tonight.”

His lack of knowledge and understanding of foreign policy is another reason he is ruining his chances for the 2016 ticket. But who cares, right? There are a lot of people out there whose views on the way the U.S. interacts with other nations are far worse, and even less educated. So where does that put Trump?

The issue then shifts from his big mouth to the voting population; the largest demographic in the United State right now is Latino/Hispanic. If his comments about Mexico and Latinos bothered people than this group of people should go out and make their voices heard.

The outcry thus far on his other opinions are slowly building momentum and it can be expected that in the coming months more foot-in-mouth comments will be uttered by Trump. But to step momentarily into the realm of opinion and away from political unbiased, all he is doing is distracting from the other more “stable” GOP candidates until he can offer his endorsement to one of them. In essence, by paying serious attention to a taupe wearing white billionaire, we’re being bamboozled. Or you could say, we’re being trumped.

Substance is a publication of the Mt. San Antonio College Journalism Program. The program recently moved its newsroom over to Medium as part of a one-year experiment. Read about it here.