“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
Sound like a menacing line from “House of Cards” or some sort of unrealistic political thriller? Nope. It’s a quote from a real speech of a real candidate (and I’ll let you take a wild guess at who).
That’s right: Donald Trump has escalated from personal, petty attacks of fellow candidates to so-called jokes about murdering a person in a crowded New York street.
The fact of the matter is, political charisma has diminished. Obnoxiousness in the 2016 presidential race seemed to replace the pearly-white smiles, bright-eyed promises, and American citizen flattery. Rather, Trump spends his time criticizing his fellow candidates, and not in the overplayed campaign ads we’re so used to leading up to November. His insults are so numerous that someone compiled a video of all his political attacks of 2015 and it’s over 40 minutes long.
GOP debates have become comedy acts, sort of like a diverse reality TV show where an arrogant billionare, a soft-spoken surgeon, and an ensemble of politicians gather for a few hours to harass and roast each other. I find myself absorbed into the drama, not the actual issues facing this country–because those are hardly even addressed. The debates have become so ridiculous and comedic that Saturday Night Live created a parody of the event (and believe it or not, some of these quotes are actually real).
And while, yes, this is entertaining to watch and make fun of, it becomes scary the moment I begin to consider one of these outlandish candidates as our nation’s leader. I try to visualize Donald Trump in the Middle East conducting what should be carefully constructed talks with the leaders of these countries, but I can’t. I can’t see him having a real conversation about politics and ways to create peace and harmony with other nations without shoving in a few aggressive attacks. Let me tell you, when insulted, the Ayatollah of Iran is not likely to sit there so defeated like Jeb Bush.
It’s not just Trump. CNN reporter Peggy Drexler’s article “Why ‘jerks’ get ahead” questions, “Is Ted Cruz the most popular jerk in America?”. After regurgitating all the awful things he’s been called, even by people in his own party (“pompous a**hole,” “carnival barker,” “hyper arrogant,” and “widely despised”), the conclusion was yes, he is indeed a jerk. Yet he’s just behind Trump, who’s even more a “jerk”.
CNN analyzes scientifically why these types of people are successful, despite their widespread dislike and being an overall “jerk”. We run into these sorts of people in our day-to-day lives, whether it’s a racist grandpa at Thanksgiving dinner or an irritating boss that no one in the workplace likes. We’re used to dealing with people in real life, but when we see politicians bickering on stage the way real people would (or worse), it just seems flat out ridiculous. Statistically speaking, however, workers have a higher performance level when someone they dislike is in charge. A famous example is Steve Jobs, who has been described by many coworkers as difficult and rude, yet Apple has been wildly successful.
Perhaps that’s why candidates are testing their boundaries and seeing how obnoxious they get before the American people retaliate. Donald Trump seems to believe he could kill a person and still get widespread support. Obnoxiousness has surpassed the elementary classroom and has now reached a professional and national platform. It’s disappointing. As an American citizen, I feel that our leader needs to be eloquent with a firm grasp on the issues (most candidates seem to know what the issues are–and spend quite a big deal of time talking in circles–but rarely offer up a solution). If they aren’t polite, how can they possibly be expected to negotiate deals in a respectful manner with our allies? How can we trust them to run our country for the well being of the people?
Really? Is this truly the best America has to offer?
Donald Trump may get away with murder, but we can’t let him get away with a presidency.