Ideological Testing: Presidential Level

Donald Trump thinks we should have ideological tests for people coming to America. Luckily, before we’ll even consider reimplementing such an idiotic thing, we’re going to have an ideological test to see if someone—foolhardy as he is—can become president.

One of the principles of selecting a leader is that they have a clue about what the job entails. Trump lacks this essential quality of knowing what the executive of the USA even does. He just thought, “nice house, nice office.” And now that he’s started seeing what running for president means, it’s not clear he even wants the job, at least not on the normal terms of office.

He’s running a law-and-order, tough-on-terror campaign, but he doesn’t understand that the rules have to change because the world isn’t living in 1950 anymore. We need massive reform to how we handle criminal justice, for example, and Trump is ill-equipped to oversee such reform. He thinks we can tough our way to safety, when all the facts suggest the opposite: we have to be more reasonable and caring (something the Republicans, who often want to paint themselves as the party of Jesus, really should already know).

On foreign policy, Trump seems to be the opposite of a Teddy Roosevelt: talk big and carry a tiny twig in his tiny hands. He says he will defeat ISIL, but once again US intervention only makes sense if there can be a stable force to take over, and while the US can provide support for the mission, we cannot be the police of the world. We have to be a member of the global peace effort, not its superhero.

Worse, Trump claims he will defeat ISIL using secret methods that amount to an instant cure. There is no reason to believe him, and there is every reason to think he would do no better than the status quo. He offers up a clear choice to Americans: pick someone who not only doesn’t know what they’re doing, but won’t admit that. Our first president was a general, as was Eisenhower, one of Trump’s favorite presidents. It’s important to pick leadership that has at least a basic understanding of the military. They don’t all have to be generals, but they shouldn’t be willing to say, “I’ve got a fabulous, secret plan to defeat ISIL… and make the Mullahs pay for it!” We actually tried something nearly as idiotic with a scheme known as Iran-Contra.

On the economy, what was supposed to be Trump’s signature issue, his business credentials do not inspire confidence. He runs his businesses in a haphazard fashion, something that trade policy does not benefit from. America First sounds like he took his personal business maxim, Trump First, and just changed a word. That means our economy will suffer through trade wars and retaliation for barbaric deals. Not good, folks.

And on the role of the president, someone who is supposed to be a strong core, a calm voice, a steady hand, Donald Trump is none of those things. He won’t even try to be them during the campaign, having repeatedly rejected attempts to make him act or speak in a manner becoming of a major party nominee.

Even when Trump tries to “reach out” to minorities, especially African-Americans, his approach is alternatively either to tell them that they should love the police (despite the long-standing issues of policing in black communities) or hate immigrants for taking their jobs (despite black people knowing all too well exactly what racism is and why they should reject it). In other words, Trump’s approach to minority outreach is a slap in the face.

He tells them to switch sides, that they backed the Democrats for decades now without enough to show for it. He literally asks them what they have to lose. Opportunity cost. Four years is a long time if the leader is bad.

Trump fails the ideological leadership test. And if America puts him in office, it will, too. Send him home.