The vacuousness of Donald Trump’s answers in the debate last Thursday was truly astounding. And to the extent there was any substance to what he said, it was almost always factually wrong.
Two quick examples:
When asked what he would do to fix Common Core, Trump replied he would get rid of “education through Washington, DC.” That was completely vague. There was no mention of even one thing he would specifically change to accomplish this goal. But it also turns out to be wrong, as the moderator pointed out (and later confirmed by others) when he noted that states and local governments actually set the Common Core agendas.
When asked about his position on Social Security, Trump said he would maintain it at its current levels. To pay for this, despite growing deficits, he said he would get rid of “waste, fraud, and abuse.” Again, this is completely vague, offering no specifics of what precisely he would cut to reduce the waste etc. And again, the entire notion is factually in error, as the moderator pointed out when he noted that, according to several analyses, the total amount of “waste, fraud and abuse” in Social Security only accounts for a small fraction of its deficit.
And so it goes.
And when challenged to defend his statements intended to incite violence against protestors at his rallies (such as this one), Trump countered that the protestors were the “bad guys” and had started the trouble. Even if true, this would by no means justify his schoolyard bully replies, especially coming from a potential President of the United States. Further, as the moderator yet again pointed out, there is no evidence that supports the truth of his assertions.
As a last avenue of attempted escape from this dilemma, Trump now claims some of these incidents never happened. Incredible!
Despite all of this, my initial read of “mainstream media’s” coverage of the debate found almost no mention of any of these matters. The press instead chose to focus on how “subdued” and “policy-oriented” the debate was, making the whole affair, including Trump, sound almost positive. The press is far too timid here, but that’s hardly a surprise.
It goes without saying that none of Trump’s antics will dissuade any of his supporters to change their minds at this point. Their brains are already on “do not disturb.” In many ways, this is the bigger problem. There will always be people like Trump running for office. We’ve seen it before. We’ll see it again. But never before have so many voters seemed so willing to elect one of these people President.
That’s the bottom line: It is both scary and embarrassing to think that someone like Trump could actually become the next President of the United States.
[Note: I originally posted a version of this on Facebook.]