LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Why Trump, other candidates are unqualified

Much of the criticism of the Trump administration, his campaign, his executive orders, tweets, his comments, hair and quite a bit more is richly deserved. I dislike his hair. His manner of speaking and his hand gestures can be annoying, and I’m very sorry that we have a president who doesn’t, and perhaps can’t, articulate a rational and coherent policy on anything. “It’s going to be great” and “You’re going to love it” are patronizing at best.

The Women’s March and the other protests are fundamentally based on these objections, and others, that boil [down] to the assumption, or the fact, that Trump isn’t qualified to be president.

I suggested to a Trump-hater the other day that his contempt is well-placed but too focused. Donald Trump’s election is certainly something to worry about and to even protest, but the problem is really how he got there. For my friend’s hatred to be constructive, the answer to how the process came to such a result is what is needed. Examination of three of the topics that the polls determined to be most important to voters points out the root of the problem.

Jobs or the economy, health care and education were in the top 10 of just about every poll. They were in the top five in many, and jobs or the economy was the number-one issue in nearly all. Many of the promises made by the candidates and the speeches they repeated as they conducted their interminable campaigns were about these three topics.

The world has changed since 1789, so, it’s reasonable that people will care about different things now than then. What hasn’t changed is the Bill of Rights or the articles of the Constitution that established our form of government. There’s been no need to alter the Bill of Rights because the principles on which they are based are sound. There are valid arguments for revising our form of government, but the 228-year-old institution that Trump now heads and both Clintons were unqualified to lead, is the one that Americans vote for every two years, like it or not.

Since that’s the case, it’s useful to wonder what would the polls in 1789 have shown. There were none then but if there were, the early candidates wouldn’t have dedicated a breath to answering a question about jobs or the economy. Their opponents and the voters would have deemed them unqualified if they had. They’d say, “What does the government have to do with jobs?” Then, jobs were provided by businesses, not the government. Hmm, it seems that’s another thing that hasn’t changed.

What if a candidate was asked about education? He might tell the pollster or the voter that he favors it, but if the questioner wanted to know what is the federal government going to do about it, a puzzled expression would be the likely response. The candidate would wonder why it was the concern of anyone other than the parent.

If he or she was asked, “Since health care is a right, how should the government pay for citizens’ doctor’s visits and medicine?,” the 18th- or 19th-century candidate would be befuddled and probably answer with a question of his own, like, “Where does such a justification end? Is food a right? Should the government provide meals?”

All of these topics were important then, and they are now, but none of them would have even been raised in the context of any sort of elections previously.

In the 21st century and in the 20th century, after implementation of the federal income tax, voters began to feel that the federal government should be involved in these matters, which isn’t surprising. After all, if the people, through their state legislatures, ratify a constitutional amendment to allow the government to tax income, shouldn’t the people derive some benefit and have a say in what those benefits are? It’s also not surprising that today’s candidates respond to those expectations.

The root cause of why almost all of the recent candidates for office are unqualified for the job is because the voters don’t know what the proper qualifications are. Hillary Clinton doesn’t present what she should rightly try to accomplish if she were to be elected. She answers the questions that the pollsters shouldn’t pursue and the people should never have been justified in asking.

James Carville famously told Bill Clinton, “It’s the economy, Stupid.” He was Clinton’s campaign strategist, and he wasn’t telling Clinton that the economy and jobs were what he should concern himself with to run the government. He wasn’t calling the candidate stupid. The insult was directed to the voter. The voter was, and is, stupid if he thinks that jobs or education, or health care are what the president should deliver. The voter’s lack of knowledge of what the proper role of government is, is what the candidate should exploit if he wants to win, and it’s the reason why the candidates and the current president are unqualified. They, along with the electorate, are falsely motivated.

My friend, and all the others who are troubled with the current state of our government, have much more dissatisfaction in store if they continue to remain unaware of the nature of their disquiet.

Rob Crimmins

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