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Why Voters Think Trump's Act is Honest

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Andrew Schmookler     Permalink
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From flickr.com/photos/22007612@N05/5440993294/: Donald Trump
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his piece appeared in newspapers in my part of Virginia.

According to a recent CBS poll, voters see Donald Trump as different from his opponents in the presidential race because he is candid. He says what he thinks, and he means what he says.

But in two obvious ways, Trump is anything but candid.

First, much of what he's saying now is the opposite of what he was saying not long ago.

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Trump has taken a very hard-line position on immigration. Yet only two years ago, he was telling advocates for immigrants, "You've convinced me." He has reversed himself similarly on Hillary Clinton's performance as Secretary of State. She has gone from doing a "good job" to being the "worst Secretary of State in the history of the United States." Likewise, he's switched his position on issues like guns and abortion.

This is opportunism, not candor. This is saying whatever serves his immediate purposes.

The second reason for doubting Trump's candor is that he often says things that he must know are false, or that anyone qualified to be president would know are false.

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He has repeatedly declared that as president he would impose a "tax" (a tariff, actually) on goods imported from Mexico. A president can't do that. The Constitution doesn't allow it.

And Trump accuses the Mexican government of "sending" immigrants. What's his evidence? He doesn't say. Because there is none.

He characterizes the Mexicans in our midst as criminals, even though the data show their crime rate is lower than that of our native-born population. He tells us that the Hispanics "love" him; polls show the opposite.

Is someone candid who knowingly speaks falsely?

So what does it mean that this man is seen as authentic?

A voter who describes Trump as candid is really saying, "Trump is giving voice to feelings I'd express if I let myself speak freely."

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And what are those feelings? Trump is unlike any other figure we've ever seen in the presidential arena in how freely and powerfully he expresses:

" Hostility toward "the other" -- especially people different from the traditional white majority. (White supremacists have expressed their appreciation at Trump's bold rhetoric about the brown people crossing our borders).

" A lack of compassion for the vulnerable. (He sneers at "losers.")

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
 

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