Donald Trump – the Great Belittler


            Donald Trump wants to make America Great Again.  What is greatness?  First of all, it is physical size: heavily built, stout, corpulent, huge. It can mean pregnant, as in great with child. It can mean strong, vigorous, powerful and violent, as in a great storm. It can mean having significant effects; important, weighty, distinguished, prominent, famous, renowned or impressive.  Of nations, it means important, powerful or famous. Great can signify anything of considerable degree, intensity or extent; or the most important kind or pre-eminent.  Of times of days, it means critical. It can mean outstanding exceptional ability, or high birth of wealth and power.


            Greatness is a morally and ethically neutral term. One can speak of a great good, or a great evil; both are great. The United States is already a big country, with a huge GNP; it is powerful and famous and in many ways exceptional. So, what does Donald Trump mean when he says he wants to make America Great Again?  


            For the answer we have to examine Mr. Trump’s behavior.  Trump sees greatness as a zero sum game. For the United States to be great, other nations and people need to suck. Number one on Trump’s suckshit nations list is Mexico.  We’re going to build a wall, and Mexico is going to pay for it.  Trump not only likes to insult people, he wants to humiliate them.  One of the truisms of American history is that one reason America is great is that it has had two centuries of peace, with no wars fought on its soil, because it has been protected by two great oceans and two friendly neighbors: Canada and Mexico, with demilitarized borders.  Just think how much poorer the United States would be if it had had to station troops all along both borders for the past two centuries.


            Trump’s campaign style similarly seeks to belittle and humiliate his opponents. He was a drum major for the birther movement, belittling Obama’s birth and casting doubt on his bona fides to be a citizen and president. One need not be a literary critic with an advanced degree from an Ivy League English Department to recognize the racist implications of challenging the first sitting black president to prove that he is really an American.


            But Trump is an equal opportunity insulter; “Lying” Ted Cruz, “Crooked” Hillary Clinton, and belittler, “Little Marco” Rubio, insulting the looks of Carly Fiorina “Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?”, and mocking a physically handicapped newspaper reporter. Meanwhile, the Donald is 100% great, his hands and penis are big, his book (ghost written) is a best seller, he is a successful businessman in spite of multiple bankruptcies and, to top it all off, he’s not even going to release his tax return.  He forced Obama to release his birth certificate, but Trump isn’t going to release his tax return. Isn’t that great? Rules that apply to others do not apply to the Donald. He thinks he’s an Israeli.


            Trump is a great fighter. He fights with everyone. If he is already fighting with Mexico, one of the United State’s greatest friends, he will be fighting with everyone as president. His comment is telling on the Chinese insult to Obama on his arrival at the Hangzhou G20 Summit where the Chinese “forgot” to roll out the red carpet and forced Obama to disembark by the back stairs of his plane. Trump said, “You know what, I would just say, that’s it, let’s get out of here.” 


            Trump’s idea of greatness is bullying and an immodest egocentrism.  The Chinese are miffed at the push back against their expansion in the South China Sea.  Trump would rather go right to a shooting match than to eat a little crow to preserve the Chinese face, so they might be persuaded to peacefully accept the International Court’s decision against their claim.  Of course, it’s not Trump’s children or grandchildren who would be at risk in this ego inflating grandstanding; its’ the Mexicans, blacks, poor and the other untermenschen who aren’t real Americans. Draft dodgers like Trump, people who inherit millions, they’re the great, real Americans. The Mexicans who helped the US win World War II and fought and died in Vietnam are scum.


            Insulting other people may make one feel good, but eventually the belittled and humiliated victims are going to get angry and strike back, because self-respect is the only thing most dirt poor people have, and they’ll defend it with their lives. Where do you think the suicide bombers come from, Trump Tower?


.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .   .   .   .    .   .


            But undeniably and justifiably, vast majorities feel America is going in the wrong direction and that there are serious economic problems. So what’s the cause and the solution?  I have just finished reading Arsenals of Folly: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race by Richard Rhodes. At the end, the late Richard J. Barnet, a co-founder of the Institute for Policy studies and a Russian scholar, notes: “Although the United States came out of World War II the most powerful nation on earth – perhaps, briefly, the paramount nation of all time – it has not won a decisive military victory since 1945 despite the trillions spent on the military and the frequent engagement of its military forces. What the United States got instead of victory was a national security state with a permanent war economy maintained by a military-industrial complex – much like the Soviet Union in those departments, but with a far greater reserve of resources to squander. The national security state structures could not accomplish their task unless the American people were socialized to accept the idea that the only peace possible is a form of permanent war…A threat of one sort or another to justify the continuous flow of resources to the military was now a fixture of American life. It is one of history’s great ironies that at the very moment when the United States had a monopoly of nuclear weapons, possessed most of the world’s gold, produced half the world’s goods on its own territory, and laid down the rules for allies and adversaries alike, it was afraid.”


            Donald Trump is calling for even more military spending, when the infrastructure of the United States is collapsing, when young people, crushed by student debt and unable to find secure, high paying jobs, can not buy houses or start families, when the central cities look like war zones with comparable fatalities from gun shot wounds.  Donald Trump wants to pursue policies that double down, not on what made America great, but on what brought it to this unconscionable point of collapse.


            Anyone interested in the source and solution to this huge conundrum should read former Defense Secretary William J. Perry’s My Journey on the Nuclear Brink or visit his website at  His goal is to educate Americans about the real perils and possibilities of nuclear arms and their control.  The United States and Russia, because of the arms control and reduction agreements of the 1980’s and 1990’s, have 6,970 and 7,300 nuclear weapons respectively. Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel  and North Korea combined have another 1,065. Iran has no nuclear weapons and is a signer of the Non Proliferation Treaty, while Israel has 80 nuclear weapons and is not a signer of the Non Proliferation Treaty.  Yet, the presidential candidates act like Iran is a great threat requiring hundreds of billions in arms.


            Bruce Russett, the Yale scholar, says the following about the economic consequences of investing in military power rather than civilian needs:


                                    Since future production is dependent upon current investment, the economy’s future resources and power base are thus much more severely damaged

                        by the decision to build or employ current military power than is current indulgence. According to some rough estimates…an additional dollar of investment in

                        any single year will produce 20-25% of annual additional production in perpetuity. Hence, if an extra billion dollars of defense in one year reduced investment

                        by $292 million, thenceforth the level of output in the economy would be permanently diminished by a figure on the order of $65 million per year.


            As Columbia University economist Seymour Melman says, “The dollars that pay for the operation of the military system finally represent something forgone from other aspects of life, especially those parts that are also dependent on financing from the community’s public budgets.” This is indisputable, since civil destitution is exactly what happened to the Soviet Union and now it is happening to the United States. So, the only way to fix the economic and social problems that everyone agrees need fixing, is to reduce the amount of money spent on the military.


            One final note on Hillary Clinton. One reason the race is so close is because there does not seem to be a real difference between the foreign policies of Clinton and Trump. They seem to be in a race to see who can get the United States into a war in the Middle East fastest.  Neither seem to be committed to making Israel obey the UN resolutions in which it has been in violation for six decades and is one of the major causes of what the Republicans like to call radical Islamic terrorism.  Radical Israeli terrorism and ethnic cleansing, which should equally appall believers in civil society, gets a free pass from a significant minority of American and western legislators. What the west is facing is not religious war, but race war, because the United States has different standards of behavior depending on whether the person is light skinned and speaks English, or is dark skinned and speaks a language they do not understand. One thing the election of Barack Obama has proved beyond a doubt is that the white United States population is still overwhelmingly racist.  No president has ever been treated with such disrespect by the Congress.


Return to Institute of Election Analysis Home Page

Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf