If These Donald Trump Quotes Turned Into Actual U.S. Policies, The Country Would Go Kaput
Well, well, well — look who's decided to show up. Tuesday morning, to great fanfare in a stifling, unair-conditioned room in New York City, the magnanimous Mr. Donald Trump decided to throw his hat into the 2016 presidential election ring, and the world was torn asunder with the desire to both clap joyously for the upcoming entertainment surely headed our way and simultaneously face-palm really hard. Trump is notorious for his political waffling, which some have accused him of using as leverage for publicity reasons, but this time it seems he's really gone through with it. But just because he's in the game doesn't mean the country — let alone the GOP — has to like it. In fact, from a pragmatic standpoint, several of Trumps own statements when turned into actual policy are actually pretty scary. It's probably not the best start for the multibillionaire.
Trump's campaign announcement alone was riddled with calculated talking points and very little substance. Rather than coming off like a political candidate, Trump almost sounded more like a caricature of one.
"Last quarter, it was just announced our gross domestic product — a sign of strength, right? But not for us — It was below zero," said Trump in his speech on Tuesday, suggesting that the actual unemployment rate was somewhere around 18 to 20 percent. "A lot of people ... can't get jobs, because there are no jobs, because China has our jobs and Mexico has our jobs, they all have jobs."
Did you get that? The countries. Have. Our. Jobs. [!!!]. Of course, that wasn't the only questionable moment in Trump's candidacy speech. Railing against the initial shortcomings of the Obama administration's notorious Healthcare.gov site, which ran into a number of glitches within the first few hours of its debut in October 2013, Trump explained that if he had been president, things would have gone much more smoothly:
I have so many Web sites, I have them all over the place. I hire people, they do a Web site. It costs me $3. $5 billion Web site.
Sure. Trump could probably get his kids to build him a website for $3, but would it actually be capable of supporting the massive amounts of traffic and protocols necessary to pull off a secure, user-friendly government portal? Probably not. And indicating otherwise is sort of a slap in the face to actual web developers, IT gurus, data architects, and graphic designers, all of whom spent years in school honing their skills and don't ask a lot in return other than a decent paycheck. Healthcare.gov was no beauty, but it simply wouldn't be a fair assumption to hint that hiring the kid down the street to build your marketplace would have been a better choice.
Trump has had his share of bizarre positions in the past, but now that he officially has a number in the 2016 race, those stances could spell trouble for him in the primary debates, especially when projected as actual policy.
"Defeat ISIS Very Quickly"
In a phone interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren in May, Trump bragged that he had concocted a reliable plan to defeat ISIS — but that he wouldn't tell the public anything about it to keep the Middle East from knowing about it ahead of time.
"I do know what to do, and I would know how to bring ISIS to the table or, beyond that, defeat ISIS very quickly," said Trump, "[but] I’m not gonna tell you what it is tonight." After Van Susteren pressed him for more details, he refused to elaborate, but quickly added, "I'll probably have to tell at some point, but there is a method of defeating them quickly and effectively and having total victory."
What Trump lacks in substantive logic, he makes up for with aggrandizing flare, but even that's not enough to save his game-plan. If President Trump were to take out ISIS "very quickly," does he have a back-up plan? An outline of what comes next to stave off yet another increasingly radicalized branch of al Qaeda? When it comes to Middle Eastern foreign policy, Trump, like so many enthusiastic showmen, has little to support his own theories aside from a zest for the patriotic.
Build A "Real Wall" To Keep Immigrants Out
Setting aside the obvious Game of Thrones imagery that's probably going through everyone's heads — seriously, just picture a carbon copy of Castle Black but with less Jon Snow and the White Walkers are actually terrified families of five — Trump's plan to "build the best" wall along the southern border in order to keep out people with "lots of problems," as he hinted in his candidacy speech Tuesday.
"I will build the best wall, the biggest, the strongest, not penetrable, they won’t be crawling over it, like giving it a little jump and they’re over the wall, it costs us trillions," said Trump in an interview with NH1's Paul Steinhauser in April, suggesting that the United States build a wall spanning the length of the southern border and make Mexico foot the bill.
The problem with Trump's "plan" is that it isn't really a plan: slap a fence along the imaginary border and hope that no one gets in? The United States already tried that — and not only was it unsuccessful, it was downright costly. The Government Accountability Office in 2009 estimated that around $2.4 billion had already been spent on one 670 mile of single-layer pedestrian fencing — and in more difficult terrain, that price skyrocketed to around $58 million per stretch. With the economy in an unsteady state of limbo, now might not be the best time to build your dream fort, Mr. Trump, because there's no doubt in anyone's mind that Mexico will undeniably send your invoice back in tiny pieces.
"We Have To Repeal Obamacare"
Trump seems to be a big fan of this party-line, but even some members of the GOP realize that simply getting rid of the Affordable Care Act won't do much in the way of helping the average American.
"Had Congress voted for the full repeal of Obamacare two years ago, families and small businesses would have been able to adjust to the change," explained Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) in a statement to Politico in February. "Now, however, [many] have invested their time and energy in choosing health care plans that work for their families." He suggested that if the GOP were ready to pull back Obamacare, they had better have a sufficient and interchangeable plan to implement instead.
Of course, going off of his foreign policy record, it's likely Trump hasn't really through this one through either. Not only would repealing the ACA completely damage the healthcare system and toss millions off of their current plans, it could also dump millions more whose insurance is no longer required to cover pre-existing conditions and leave them high and dry when they need care the most.
But, you know. We have to repeal Obamacare because "it can be replaced with something much better for everybody," like whatever the cure for ISIS is.
No matter what sort of high-flown rhetoric Trump doles out, all it takes is a gentle nudge to realize that underneath all the pomp is a barren wasteland of brash intentions. And while many in his own party brush him off as an egotist in it for the fame, Trump wasn't wrong when he said Tuesday, "There's been no crowd like this" at other candidacy announcements. For every five Trump critics, there's one impatient prospective voter chanting "We want Trump" in an audience of sweat-drenched comrades, even if his policies are frighteningly flimsy at best.