Before I get into last night’s debate can we all just take a second to acknowledge and thank whatever diety you hold most dear that the debates are finally over? Because I do not know if I could sit through another one of those. Go ahead. Send a quick “thank you” out into the universe. I’ll wait.
My feelings about the third and (thank God) final debate are pretty much like my feelings about the first and the second: Yep. That is a thing that actually happened.
Today there has been a hell of a lot of ado about the fact that when asked point blank if he would accept the results of the election if he did not win, he first said “I’ll have to see” and then “I’ll keep you in suspense.” That this was followed today by his saying “I will totally accept the results of the election, no question…if I win,” was fairly predictable. When called out on the total bonkersity of a statement, Trump can’t help but double down.
For me, what last night’s debate really drove home was that–in spite of what he says about winning–Donald Trump does not want to be President.
Oh sure, he wants to win. That’s how he sees himself: the constant winner, the champion of everything, the most giantest star that ever burned so bright in the universe. Bigly. He wants that trophy something bad.
But he does not actually want to be President. He doesn’t actually want to run the country. He wants the spotlight, the accolades, the gushing genuflection of millions, but he does not want to do the work.
It’s something I’ve sensed since the beginning, even before he got on that first debate stage and refused to pledge to support another candidate if they won the primary because “I’m in this to win.” And with every speech he gives and every interview he tries to fake his way through, this becomes more and more obvious to me. How? Because the more he talks the clearer it becomes that he has no idea what a President does or how the government works.
He has said that within hours of his taking the oath of office, law enforcement will begin rounding up “illegals” and kicking them out of the country.
He has said that he will eliminate all gangs and violence and crime.
And sure, it’s easy to chalk this stuff up to dangerous delusions of grandeur. Still, his lack of knowledge is reinforced when he insists that, if Secretary Clinton had been able to do her job, she’d have been able to change the laws he’s taken advantage of. I mean, he knows that Senators cannot individually and unilaterally create laws, right? He knows that, in order to actually get his deportation force going he’d have to have the action approved by Congress, right? He knows that he isn’t allowed to single handedly amend the Constitution, right? He knows there aren’t twelve articles in the Constitution, right?
And don’t even get me started on that Trojan Horse thing he keeps saying and getting wrong. Ugh.
Add this blatant lack of basic knowledge to his predilection for praising dictators and, yeah–feel that nausea building in the pit of your stomach? I call that “prelude to the horror barfs.” Last night Donald Trump refused to denounce Putin. Then he went on to say that the only reason Secretary Clinton doesn’t like Putin or Assad is because they’re smarter than her and better leaders.
So here’s a guy who doesn’t seem to know how the basic functions of government work and seems to want to emulate totalitarian dictators. Maybe this is because he doesn’t want to do the work of actually learning about them. I don’t know. But no matter what, it’s scary.
Finally, let’s all take a sec to look way way back to a few months ago when those closest to Trump (like Paul Manafort, remember him?) said that in his search for a VP candidate, he was looking for someone who would “do the part of the job that he didn’t want to do” and that he saw himself “as more the Chairman of the Board than even the CEO let alone the [Chief Operations Officer]”
Catch that? For those who don’t speak corporate, basically Donald Trump wants to be the figurehead who gets all the credit, while Mike Pence would do all of the actual governing. A) That’s not how the system works, like, at all and 2) Mike Pence is poop-your-pants-scary.
Over and over again (last night’s debate included) Donald Trump has proven that not only does he not understand how government works, he doesn’t care that he doesn’t understand how government works and thinks we should all heap piles of praise upon him for bothering to show up at all. It’s insulting to everything that generations of leaders have worked so hard to build.
Look, you may not totally love Secretary Clinton. That’s fine. But even if you disagree with her on the issues, at least you can be confident that she knows how the government works. Like, not only can she say the words “Checks and Balances” she can use them correctly in a sentence.
To translate all of this into nerd: who would you trust more with your life? Hermione Granger? Or Vincent Crabbe?
So maybe in a couple of weeks, let’s give Donald Trump what he really wants: a reason to do nothing at all. Preferably ever again.
Thanks for reading! If you’d like to help support my work here’s a handy link for that! All donations are appreciated!