Donald Trump likes to characterize people and institutions using simple repeatable epithets that end up sticking like glue – Crooked Hillary, Little Marco, Lyin’ Ted, Failing New York Times, Weak Jeb, Fake CNN, and now Leaker Comey. These simple insults resonate.
In search of a simple tag to put on Donald Trump, I Iooked at the ones already in play – bully, misogynist, blowhard, ignorant, incompetent, etc. None really captures The Donald fully and completely. He can be any and/or all of the above at any given time. I came to realize that there is, however, one term that does describe the 45th President simply and accurately – one that he himself has used when he wants to completely dismiss an adversary. The word is “loser”. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Donald Trump is a Loser. With a capital “L”.
How so? Didn’t he win the election? Isn’t he a billionaire, controlling a real estate and golfing empire across many countries? Hasn’t he convinced tens of millions of Americans to rally behind his stated policies and objectives? He is the legitimate president of the US and the legitimate occupant of the oval office. So, how can he possibly be a loser?
Not to get too scholarly here, but according to various dictionaries, definitions of loser include the following:
- A person who is incompetent or unable to succeed
- Something doomed to fail or disappoint
- Someone or something that is marked by consistently or thoroughly bad quality, performance, etc.
Trump’s business experience is one thing – he is very wealthy, and enjoys the trappings of success. But, let’s leave the business history aside for the moment (but do consider the multiple bankruptcies and business failures and the fact that public investors in his companies have taken a financial bath). Let’s talk about Trump as the 45th president.
Trump’s performance during his first six months almost guarantees that his will go down as a failed presidency. An increasing proportion of the country is starting to see that Trump does not have the ability, the knowledge, the temperament or the integrity required to make good on his campaign promises. He was handed a rare opportunity for a Republican president – a Republican-controlled House, a Republican-controlled Senate, a conservative Supreme Court, and Republican control of a majority of state legislatures. Still he can’t get anything of significance done. What a loser. No wonder his approval rating is at an historic low for a president at this stage of the term.
Back in the days of presidential campaigning, Donald Trump promised the American people that under his presidency, the US and its people would start winning again. “Winning bigly.” As of today, there’s very little evidence of wins, or even the capability of winning. There is, however, much evidence of a dysfunctional executive branch that can’t deliver. Consider the following:
Job growth – a winning strategy?
When asked about Trump’s ability to create jobs in the US, Trump supporters point to Carrier. Americans remember Trump boasting from the podium that as a result of his intervention, Carrier reversed its decision to move work from its Indiana plant to Mexico, saving hundreds of jobs. But, here we are in June and Carrier has just announced the layoff of over 600 workers, due to its shifting of work to its Mexican plant. Huh? Carrier pocketed $7 million in tax incentives to preserve far fewer jobs than Trump claimed. Furthermore, Trump boasted of the plan by Carrier’s parent, United Technologies, to invest $16 million in the Indiana plant – an investment that United Technologies’ CEO has admitted will drive automation, not jobs. It’s all too much for Chuck Jones, the local union head – he’s quoted as saying “Trump lied his ass off.”
If Carrier is the great example of job preservation, the policies and tactics will almost certainly fail.
Trade policy – based on ignorance?
The same United Technologies CEO, Greg Hayes, has said that blaming trade for the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs is “absolutely wrong,” and that “an isolationist approach will not—I repeat, not—create growth or jobs, nor will it make any country great.”
Trump doesn’t listen to corporate leaders like Hayes, or the majority of economists who argue against rescinding mutually beneficial trade agreements. Trump believes he is an expert on trade and economic policy. True experts agree that Trump’s nationalist, anti-trade policies amount to a losing proposition.
Health care – a prescription for failure
Who knew health care was so complicated? Not Trump during his campaign, when he was promising a much broader health care plan, which would cover more people at less cost. The AHCA that narrowly passed the House (with Trump support) would accomplish none of that – it would almost certainly result in far fewer Americans being insured, a weaker Medicare/Medicaid system for poor Americans, and skyrocketing premiums for older Americans. The AHCA is, for all intents and purposes, dead on arrival in the Senate. Trump’s lost this battle already.
Trump’s coal fetish – very few jobs here
Trump’s fascination with coal is troubling. He echoes Arthur Scargill, the militant British coal miners’ union leader who steadfastly fought the closure of British mines in the 1980s. Britain realized over 30 years ago that the era of coal as a household and industrial fuel was at an end. Trump wants to resurrect coal, even though American utilities have long ago foregone coal in favour of cheaper natural gas and increasingly competitive renewables. There are far, far more jobs in solar energy than in coal, and coal-fired plants (including those in the US) are being decommissioned at a rapid pace. For Trump, however, coal is king.
Trump has backed the old nag in a race of thoroughbreds. What a loser.
The Paris Accord – America cedes leadership
Trump backed out of the Paris Climate Accord, thus ceding leadership and serious participation in emerging energy technology to Europe, China, and even Canada. The rest of the world is progressing on climate change – while the US steps backward. In backing out, Trump lost all credibility in all future discussions with world leaders on a wide range of world issues. The speech in which he announced that the US was backing out from the Accord was riddled with misstatements, false statistics, and good old fashioned lies. He claimed, for instance, that under the agreement China is allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants and India is allowed to double its coal production. He stated, incredulously, that China is allowed to do “whatever they want for 13 years.” All of these statements are undeniably false.
Lying to support a course of action is the sure sign of a loser.
Foreign relations – The US steps off the stage
Trump boasted that the US would be again respected across the globe. What has he done to earn that respect? Well, he has threatened trade wars with just about everyone, insulted and demonized an entire global religion, cozied up to autocratic dictators in the Philippines, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and left NATO allies guessing as to the US’s commitment to that alliance. A couple of days ago he directly contradicted his own state department on policies toward Qatar, which hosts the largest US military base in the Middle East. His views toward China swing like a metronome. As a senior official in the Canadian government stated when asked about dealing with Trump on trade issues, “since Trump seems to follow policies based on who he last talked to, we want to be the last people he talks to.”
Far from being respected, the US is rapidly becoming a laughing stock – not to be believed, trusted or relied on. That’s a huge loss.
James Comey – vindication or condemnation?
James Comey, in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, said under oath that Donald Trump lied to him and the American public. He also said that Trump appeared uninterested in revelations that Russia did indeed try to interfere in the American elections. Other questions relating to the investigation of Russia’s interference and any connections with Trump operatives were deferred to the afternoon private session. It’s almost irrelevant whether Trump’s actions in proposing to Comey that he drop the investigation into Flynn’s Russia connections amounted to obstruction of justice, since the key takeaways include:
- Trump lied (again)
- Trump appeared unconcerned about a foreign power interfering in the democratic process, as long as he himself wasn’t implicated
- The investigation into Russia’s interference and how far it travelled into the Trump camp is very much active, and is being pursued out of the public eye
Trump heard the testimony, and considered himself “completely vindicated.” Was he listening to the same testimony? Even under the most favourable of spins, it was quite damning – the president was being portrayed as a lying megalomaniac oblivious to attacks on the American democracy. And, while Trump himself may not have been the subject of FBI investigation as of several months ago, his aides and associates are the subjects of ongoing investigations.
These are just a few observations of typical “loser” behaviour. Losers lie, and blame others for their failures and/or shortcomings. They pick losing strategies. They are more concerned with their own standing than they are with actually succeeding. They believe their own bullshit.
Donald Trump is a loser. Trump supporters have been misled. They thought they’d be getting a proven leader who would enable them, in turn, to succeed. That’s what they were promised. Instead, they got Loser Trump.
If the current investigations fail to turn up an impeachable offense, Trump will likely limp along to the next election with few accomplishments, while the US’ position of global leadership wanes and the public tires of endless excuses for inaction and failure. Meantime, the American working class – Trump’s base – will see a deteriorating health care structure, stagnation in trade and job growth, and a tax base sharply redistributed to benefit the very wealthy. “Loser Trump” will become part of the vernacular. Sad.