By Dennis “DJ” Mikolay
While American politics can become rather drab, every so often an energetic presidential candidate enters the fray and reignites the public’s interest in the electoral process. Such a candidate doesn’t come along very often, and despite pundits’ best efforts, nobody can ever say exactly when such a figure will emerge. Actually, only one thing can be said with certainty: Donald Trump was never going to be that candidate.
The real estate mogul turned television star recently announced he would not seek the presidency in 2012. Trump’s announcement comes after months of toying with the media. “The Donald,” as he is often called, spent the half of this year appearing at conservative events, making the rounds on cable news programs, and blasting President Obama on a vast array of issues.
For the better part of the winter, the Trump 2012 movement (if one can even call it that) became the epitome of political silliness. Many political experts quickly pointed out that Trump was simply toying with the media, trying to garner media attention for his own ego, his business endeavors, and his popular television series. While Trump’s supporters dismissed such accusations, one can’t help but notice that the majority of Trump’s public appearances during the past five months were deliberately confrontational, thus assuring maximum media coverage.
Take his appearance at CPAC for example. Some assumed Trump would officially announce his candidacy at the year’s largest conservative gathering. Instead, he took the opportunity to attack Ron Paul, whom he cynically remarked was unelectable…despite the fact that the Republican Congressman was elected to the House of Representatives a whopping eleven times.
Trump was well aware that CPAC was a haven for Paul’s supporters and that his statement would likely anger any libertarians present, thus further degenerating what was an already tense environment.
And then there was Trump’s frequent accusations regarding President Obama’s citizenship. For months, the public had to endure the billionaire birther’s asinine questions regarding the president’s childhood, birth place, and birth certificate. Trump later claimed that Obama released his long-form birth certificate as a direct response to Trump’s own political crusade.
The highlight of the Trump 2012 fiasco may very well have been President Obama’s roast of the mogul at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner. It could be argued that the unexpected and irreverent pry at Trump’s over-sized ego, coupled with his own unwillingness to laugh at himself, likely damaged the Donald’s credibility as a presidential candidate…except that he never had credibility to begin with.
Most likely, Donald Trump never had any intention to run for president. He was simply playing the same game he has played several times before. What most people don’t realize is that Trump has threatened to run for president several times. His earliest “bid” came in 1988, when he threw the idea of a Republican candidacy around a bit. The 2000 presidential election, however, saw what was most likely Trump’s strongest move to enter the presidential arena.
Trump abandoned the Republican Party and affiliated himself as a member of the Reform Party of the United States. At that time, the party, which had been founded by billionaire H. Ross Perot some four years before, was the country’s largest third party and a force to be reckoned with. Urged to seek the party’s nomination by Governor Jesse Ventura, Trump began an exploratory bid, appeared at Reform Party events and made the rounds on the media circuit. Trump ultimately withdrew any interest in running, blaming his decision on another Reform Party candidate, pundit Pat Buchanan.
During his brief presidential foray in 2000, Trump made it clear that he was a centrist candidate, running on a socially moderate platform. Some eleven years later, Donald crafted himself as a hard-line conservative. Could it be he was simply changing his message to appeal to a larger demographic? After-all, “the Donald” is hardly opposed to the government intervening in the private sector; his failed business endeavors have reaped the benefits of government intervention on several occasions!
The Trump 2012 circus, and the level of support which it garnered from both the public and the media, simply proves one thing: the public is tired of politics as usual, and they really do want someone to change the system. The problem was Trump never had the intention of actually being that person, nor did he have the fortitude to deliver on any of his empty promises. There are honest, patriotic citizens out there who would be willing to throw their hat into the presidential arena and make America a better place…we just need to make sure they aren’t pushed aside by another Donald Trump.