To be blunt, Donald Trump is a con man. In the purest sense of the term.
During his campaign and subsequent election, Trump preyed upon the poor education of rural America and used their ignorance of basic Social Studies to prop himself up as their messiah. What he told them was absolute crap, but he figures the average American is too dumb to know the difference. Anyone who pointed this out to him, was subject to his patented Twitter rage, and labeled a charlatan and suppressive force. To Trump’s America, to point out facts is an act of sedition.
Trump has bent reality for the average Joe and Jane Six-pack to the point that they accept blatant baloney as fact, without an ounce of skepticism. Baloney like…
10. As President, he can get rid of Common Core
Repeatedly, Trump promised to “get rid” of Common Core , a much-derided initiative that standardizes school curricula. Parents (and presumably students) hate Common Core. Trump capitalized on this, in an effort to woo the vote of middle to upper class women. Promising to end Common Core and “keep it local” brought him thunderous applause at rallies, and in his nomination of the spectacularly unqualified and clueless Betsy Devoss for Secretary Of Education. The bucket of cold water here is that the US Board Of Education and the President have absolutely no control whatsoever over the curriculum in public schools. State boards set the curriculum for their state, and ultimately have the decision to adopt or reject Common Core or any other initiative (including No Child Left Behind). He says it, and just banks on his supporters being too dumb to know the difference.
9. Crime is “out of control”
There’s a lot to unpack here. First off, Trump spent a lot of time running around telling you that violent crime is on the rise, that people are getting shot all over the place, and that the murder rate has spiked. These claims were also very conveniently focused on inner cities and lower-income areas (read:where Black people live). This served two purposes. First, it propped him up as a “Law And Order” guy who would clean up the town. Secondly, it was a dog whistle to his legions of racist supporters that he was going to get tough on Black crime. Unfortunately, he’s full of banana oil on this one. Save for certain, specific cities, violent crime in America has dropped in recent years. According to Bureau of Justice numbers, both violent and property crimes were down in 2015. While we’re not exactly at “leave your doors unlocked” numbers, Trump’s picture of “war zone” inner cities is nowhere near accurate. At times, he even regurgitated made up statistics that came from white supremacist websites and forums. He figures you just don’t have Google.
8. “Illegal Immigration from Mexico” is out of control
Yup. The damn wall.
Trump went on and on and on about how he was going to build this stupid wall, and “make Mexico pay for it”, because of “illegal immigration.” Where does one even start with this? First of all, he’s full of it when it comes to undocumented immigrants even being a “problem.” According to the Pew Research Center, more undocumented immigrants were leaving the country in 2014 than were coming in. In fact, from 2009-2014, the net immigration from Mexico was -140,000. Trump and his supporters also loved talking about undocumented immigrants “draining our system” and using welfare, Medicaid, SNAP, and other government programs. What Trump is counting on you not knowing, is that undocumented immigrants don’t qualify for these programs — since they already require proof of legal citizenship. This is obvious and logical, but Trump conjures up these anecdotes and fires them at will, knowing his racist supporters will just accept it. This is to say nothing of the fact that his wall plan is outlandishly expensive, as well as logistically and geographically impossible.
7. Barack Obama is somehow responsible for the founding of the Islamic State
To be honest, most of Trump’s supporters have no idea what ISIS actually is. They’re actually a rogue nation called The Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant (which is why Obama always referred to them as “ISIL“). They prefer to be called Islamic State, and locals refer to them by the pejorative “Daesh“. No matter what you call them, Trump had some tough talk about ISIS on the campaign trail, including the “Obama founded ISIS” jab. While it’s true he didn’t actually mean that Barack Obama began the organization-turned-state, he knew his supporters would run with that one (they’re pretty gullible). He actually meant that Obama’s rapid withdrawal from the Iraq War created a power vacuum that allowed Daesh to rise. That would be an astute observation, if it wasn’t completely and totally inaccurate and false. Daesh was originally founded as alQaeda In Iraq (AQI) — in 2004 (Obama was elected in 2008, in case you’re wondering). AQI was later disavowed by alQaeda’s higher commands for being too extreme (seriously). Following this expulsion, AQI renamed themselves Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) and only added the second S when they expanded into Syria. Their later expansion brought the L, since they now controlled parts of the Levant. While that’s convoluted, what’s true is that Daesh was a thing a good four years before Barack Obama was even a Senator. Again, Trump supporters can’t be bothered to Google something.
6. The American economy is in bad shape
Trump sure rode this horse and rode it hard. His campaign was bedrocked on this concept that the American economy was in trouble, and he’s the one who could fix it. No, no, and hell no. While this is a blatant misrepresentation of reality, it’s exhibit A in the case for labeling Trump a con man. He preyed upon the lower-middle class American’s swallowing of anti-Obama propaganda, and inflated it to absurdity. He knew that if your average working-class American knew three people who were out of work, he could continue the “bad economy” charade, and look like a hero when he did nothing but change how figures are presented. In reality, Barack Obama led one of the most miraculous economic recoveries in recorded history. The US economy is in better shape than it’s been in decades. Production is up, the GDP is off the charts, new home and new car sales are up, unemployment is at rock bottom, and the stock market has been in a perpetual bull market for nearly six years now. Trump was literally banking on you being too stupid to know this.
5. China devalued their own currency just to be dicks
The trick here is that Trump counts on the average American not knowing what “devalued currency” even means, or why it’s a bad thing. They just hear him say it, and take it at face value (pun intended). Here’s the thing about China… they’re using a centralized economic system. This means they have more direct control over their economy than other systems, but it does not mean they do business in a vacuum. They’re susceptible to global trends like anyone else. In the 1990’s, China held back the value of the yuan in order to make their economy seem strong. It backfired hilariously, as other nations refused to take the bait, and the Chinese economy suffered. China, since the early 2000’s, has allowed the yuan to appreciate and have seen highs and lows like anyone else. Recently, the yuan has depreciated again, despite China’s efforts to prevent it (they sold off $570 billion of foreign currency as an emergency measure.) China is sort of freaking out about the yuan at the moment, and would love to have the control over its value that Trump asserts. However, it’s just not the case. Another example of Trump talking over voters’ heads to thicken his smokescreen.
4. Our military is underfunded, outdated, and somehow suffering
If there’s anything the trailer park voters have an industrial-strength erection for, it’s the military. Trump knew all he had to do was come out as pro-military and he was home free. What’s funny about this lie is that he stole it from Mitt Romney. Both Mittens and Trump went around in their respective campaigns talking about the Navy being the smallest it’s ever been, the Air Force being “outdated”, and the Army being “depleted.” These are either misrepresentations or flat-out lies. First of all, the Navy is small because their ships are less needed and more advanced. Surface warfare has been a dying art since the mid 1970’s, and the Navy’s role in littoral combat and other special operations has ballooned. The Navy has been able to do more with less ships for years now. Also, figure in the fact that the carrier battle group has revolutionized the Navy’s combat role. The Air Force situation is actually kind of funny. Trump accidentally contradicted himself and got mad at the F-35 program for being too expensive. The F-35 and its older, more capable brother, the F-22 are the most technologically advanced aircraft on Earth. Trump actually suggested the Air Force cancel the program and use less-advanced, older planes already in service. What about the “depleted” claim? The US Army is the largest standing army in the history of the human race, including the Mongol and Roman armies. That’s not what “depleted” means, Don.
3. Hillary Clinton would have “repealed the Second Amendment”
Trump supporters love their guns more than the Bible and sales at Walmart combined. They love their guns almost as much as they blindly hated Obama and Hillary Clinton. Ignoring the fact that Obama actually repealed more gun saftey legislation than both Bush’s and Bill Clinton combined, Trump played on their “coming for my guns” fear. Saying Hillary wanted to erase the Second Amendment synced up this fear with Trump’s supporters all having flunked 10th grade Social Studies. A President (Trump included) cannot simply repeal or add amendments to the Constitution. Amending the Constitution requires approval of two-thirds of both houses of Congress, and then ratification of said amendment by two-thirds of state legislatures. Just let that scenario play out in your head and you’ll see how stupid he thinks you are.
2. NAFTA was the “worst trade deal ever”
To be honest, it was a little bit bizarre to hear Trump dragging the North American Free Trade Agreement back up. It was tantamount to complaining about Madonna making the SEX book. Trump dragged this 90’s debate out of storage because he knew he could play on anti-Mexican racist sentiment in his voter base, and score some uninformed points. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, NAFTA wasn’t exactly bad or good; reporting “The net overall effect of NAFTA on the U.S. economy appears to have been relatively modest.” NAFTA sent some jobs elsewhere, but at the same time it also created American jobs. Trump didn’t care about that second part, and told voters it was bad and they believed him because apparently research is hard.
1. He’s going to “get us out” of the Paris Agreement
Again, Trump was counting on his supporters not knowing what the Paris Agreement/Accord de Paris even is, let alone that we’re somehow “stuck” in it. For starters, the Agreement is a unilateral pledge between 195 countries that they will take measures to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change starting in 2020. Trump exploited this by telling his supporters he was going to get us out of this Agreement and let coal miners mine coal, or whatever his promise du jour was. His supporters went nuckingfutz because it painted Trump as a “dealmaker” who gets things done. Truth is, any of us have the skills to get out of the Paris Agreement. You simply ignore it. The Paris Agreement is completely non-binding. There were no measures taken to hold nations accountable to fulfilling the Agreement and any nations party to it are free to simply ignore it whenever they choose. Trump getting us out of the Paris Agreement requires no more business acumen than it takes to prepare macaroni and cheese.