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Empathy: Its lack is what most disqualifies Donald Trump for the presidency

President Donald Trump
REUTERS/Erin Scott
Is Donald Trump so lacking in empathy toward women, people of color, immigrants, and the disabled because he hasn’t experienced what they have?

As a woman whose mother died when I was 6 years old, I was totally transfixed by the recent CNN conversation between Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper in which they shared candid feelings about the losses each experienced as children.

Colbert lost his father and two brothers when they died in a plane crash when he was 10. Cooper’s father died when he was about the same age. His brother also died young. I so related to their descriptions of life before and after their losses, when the world no longer felt safe and predicable. Cooper talked about how he believes the trajectory of his life changed forever, using the word “reframed.” Ordinary concerns of childhood disappeared. I felt such a powerful human connection to both of these famous men. Simply put, I felt empathy. I understood them and I was certain that, if we met, they would understand me.


Which brings me, in a roundabout way, to President Trump. In my opinion, the quality that most disqualifies him for a leadership role is his lack of empathy. And I have believed for a long time that one way he got this way is because he has experienced so few of the hardships most of us have endured by the time we reach our 70s.

Here is what I know about Donald Trump’s life story. He was born into a wealthy family. He was tall, blond, and good looking, traits that are associated with success in our country. Throughout his life, he has excelled at athletics. He was accepted at a good college. His father helped him start his real estate business with a huge monetary loan most of us can only dream about. I doubt that he has ever had to worry about having a place to live or providing for his family. He has married three models. When the first two marriages ended, it was at his behest. He has fathered five healthy children. His numerous grandchildren seem to be thriving also. As far as we know, he has never had cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, illnesses that afflict many men his age; I know of no major surgeries. And the first time he ran for elective office, seeking the highest position in the world, he won! This man is weirdly lucky.

photo of article author
Martha Bordwell
I’m not saying he hasn’t had any hardships. Maybe as a child he was uniquely sensitive; an “orchid” child easily hurt by slights or the most minor stressors. Maybe he felt inferior to kids who were smarter. Maybe his parents were unloving or critical. And he had a brother who died at age 43 of alcoholism.

But if you consider other leaders, their hardships seem much greater. Obama and Clinton grew up without fathers. George W. Bush fought alcoholism. His sister died when she was 3. His father, George H.W. Bush, lost a daughter. Many of our past presidents served in the military, with all of the exposure to trauma that entailed.

Trump’s political rivals also seem to have endured a long list of challenges. Many are people of color or women, subjected to racism and sexism. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders experienced significant financial problems in their families of origin. And Joe Biden has lost two children and a wife. For five years he was a widower raising two young boys.

Which begs the question: Is Donald Trump so lacking in empathy toward women, people of color, immigrants, and the disabled because he hasn’t experienced what they have? Did his failure to serve in the military cause him to insist that the sacrifices he is making as president make up for lack of combat experience?

On some level I think President Trump knows he hasn’t been tested, ever.


And that’s too bad. Because I know from personal experience that, although I fervently wish my mother hadn’t died young, I gained from my loss. To paraphrase Colbert, I learned to love the thing I most wish hadn’t happened. As Cooper and Colbert discussed, loss allows for a deeper understanding of the human condition. Personal loss allows one to connect to the suffering of other people. It makes one more human.

President Trump deserves to be tested, just like the rest of us. To be clear, I don’t want mayhem to be visited upon him or his family. However, losing the upcoming election could be the best thing that ever happened to him. It will teach him humility. It will connect him to the human condition. And it would be good for the rest of us too.

Martha Bordwell of Minneapolis writes about current events, family life, and travel. She recently published a memoir, “Missing Mothers.”

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Comments (62)

  1. Submitted by joe smith on 09/10/2019 - 08:48 am.

    When empathy pays the rent, buys food and clothes a family it will be important to have leaders with it. Feeling good about a President because he “relates to you” doesn’t put food on your table and keep our country safe!

    • Submitted by Cameron Parkhurst on 09/10/2019 - 09:34 am.

      I posit that empathy makes someone a better leader. Not because having it will make the leader weak or prevent them from making difficult decisions, but because it helps them to connect with and understand the people over whom the leader has power.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 09/10/2019 - 12:43 pm.

      I’ve got news for you. Trump hasn’t done either of those things

    • Submitted by Robert Lilly on 09/10/2019 - 02:01 pm.

      It seems today’s conservatives think values are a matter of convenience and will drop them at the slightest inconvenience. Except of course money, which they value most.

    • Submitted by Ken Klein on 09/16/2019 - 11:38 am.

      Empathy necessary, but not necessarily sufficient.
      His mocking disabled people and less fortunate people,
      disparaging heroes, ad hominem attacks on a daily basis,
      embracing dictators, relishing revenge, abandoning those
      who have served our country. Not even a close call.

  2. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 09/10/2019 - 08:58 am.

    “It will teach him humility.”

    Well, ah, no.

    Mr. Trump long ago found that rationalization is the key to mental health and no amount of fact filled introspection is going to get in the way of that.

    Empathy is best described as the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes. It is both a force for good and a force for advantage: If you understand what the other person, who may be an adversary, is thinking and feeling you can make better decisions.

    A good example of this is:

    “What would happen if I take this Sharpie and make a big, hand drawn bubble on a professionally produced map to feather my nest”

    Naw, bad idea, no good will come of it…

  3. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 09/10/2019 - 09:36 am.

    However – Mr. Trump has endured the Russian Hoax – the daily attacks by the lame stream press – the Mueller investigation – the resistance – unauthorized surveillance from the Obama administration – a failed political coup – endless congressional investigations – unofficial impeachment threats – and even the endless name calling on the pages of MinnPost.

    This “lack of empathy” is a “huge” charge.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 09/10/2019 - 11:29 am.

      You can stop right at “Russian Hoax”

      Why would you dismiss the efforts of every unit of our US intelligence service who has looked at Russian interference and described it as credible and pervasive?

      Instead you take the word of Vladimir Putin expressed by Donald Trump?

      Absolutely breath taking stubborn defiance to accept what is universally known to be true.

      Fact has left the building….

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 09/10/2019 - 11:42 am.

      Hoax? It is beyond dispute that Russia interfered in our elections.

      Attacks? If you call fact-checking and exposing Trump’s lies attacks?

      The Mueller investigation? The one that put a number of Trump’s close associates in prison?

      I’m not even sure what the rest you bring up even means.

      • Submitted by Solly Johnson on 09/10/2019 - 08:11 pm.

        Nonsense. The Mueller report did not prove anything.

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 09/10/2019 - 10:21 pm.

          Then tell us any government entity that has invested time and resources investigating Russian hacking and has confirmed Trump and Putin’s version of things.

          It happened, get over it, live with the facts and support preventing it from happening again.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 09/10/2019 - 12:41 pm.

      Some day, psychologists will pour over the reasons that folks like you chose to throw in the towel on reality over a conman like Trump. It’s really quite astounding.

    • Submitted by Curt Carlson on 09/10/2019 - 02:21 pm.

      Too bad we don’t have laughing emojis.

    • Submitted by Eric Snyder on 09/10/2019 - 04:08 pm.

      “…the daily attacks by the lame stream press…”

      Do you think it’s the job of the press to fact-check, to provide context and ask tough questions?

      Or, do you think the job of the press is stenography, merely recording anything the president says, regardless of its truth?

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/11/2019 - 08:08 am.

      What we are seeing here is the increasingly common not-so-slight-of-hand swap of Russian Interference for Russia-Trump Collusion. The term Russia Hoax refers to the latter and not to the former.

      In this column, CNN’s Scott Jennings comments on Russian interference, which dates back to 2014, and President Obama’s lack of decisive action.

      https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/19/opinions/mueller-report-obama-jennings/index.html

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/11/2019 - 11:06 am.

        What we are seeing here is a refusal to abandon ODS.

        Once again, President Obama approached Senator McConnell about issuing a joint, bipartisan warning about Russian interference. McConnell, who did not need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, refused to cooperate.

        The great failing of the Obama presidency was the length of time he clung to the belief that the Republicans were in any way reasonable people, interested in working with the duly-elected President of the United States.He did not realize the depth of their antipathy at being seen to cooperate with him.

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/11/2019 - 05:11 pm.

          This is the same President that claimed to have a pen and a phone. He needed Mitch McConnell to get after the Russians regarding their interference? We all heard President Obama on the hot mic tell the Russians that he would have more flexibility after the elections. He certainly wouldn’t care to be held accountable to the American people on election eve.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/12/2019 - 09:11 am.

            History lesson: Obama wasn’t running for President in 2016, so there was no way for the voters to “hold him accountable.”

            Civics lesson: There is no plausible scenario under which Barack Obama will ever be President again, so bitterness serves no good purpose. Seriously, let go of it.

            Reality check: Do you honestly think the Republicans would not have painted warnings from Obama about election interference as a partisan shot to distract from important issues, like Senator Clinton’s emails?

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/12/2019 - 04:12 pm.

              History: March 2012 was prior to President Obama’s election to a second term.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNxEDomUlXw

              By all means, explain what flexibility Obama was talking about.

              Civics: Facts are facts, even the unfortunate ones that are not meant for the microphone. Unfounded charges of bitterness do not divert attention from facts.

              Reality: The Obama apologists like to blame the indecisiveness and inaction of President Obama on what Republican might have said. Excuses are never a solid foundation for a legacy.

          • Submitted by ian wade on 09/12/2019 - 02:35 pm.

            Dude, Trump had translated notes destroyed after meeting with Putin. He’s dismissed the opinions of our own intelligence agencies to take the word of despots, so you can dispense with any sort of moral high ground that you think you’re standing on. It doesn’t exist.
            If Obama had done or said a fraction of the things that Trump has, the viscera from the exploding heads on the Right would have rivaled any slasher film.

          • Submitted by Dave Paulson on 09/13/2019 - 08:19 pm.

            I think you are at least half right here.

            Obama was a huge appeaser to the GOP in his pursuit of some idealized balance and fairness, and he should have gone after McConnell in the same manner trump goes after everyone who annoys him – the difference being Obama would have been defending US democracy, not his own ego.

            He failed America by being too nice, and let The Donald in.

            This is a lesson for all non-GOP leaders, those bite marks on the one hand make you a fool to extend the other. 80% of the elected GOP has already taken to heart the lesson – bite first, have others defend you later.

  4. Submitted by Mike Chrun on 09/10/2019 - 10:47 am.

    Kind of ironic when followers of the great leader obviously feel more empathy for Trump than the victims of his cruelty, greed, narcism, and deceit. Ironic, but not surprising. I’d like the empathy, but I personally think his impulsiveness and sick desire to dominate everyone are a bigger danger to our country. The guy literally could start a war if he wanted. I’ve pretty much given up any hope of the cowardly Republicans standing up to him because of what the followers of the great leader would do politically. Fox News has them convinced Trump is a victim. So sad.

  5. Submitted by Eric Snyder on 09/10/2019 - 11:57 am.

    Of relevance, this morning I randomly came across the following new study: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-41368-001

    The upshot is that those with low emotional intelligence tend to hold right-wing and prejudicial views. This is hardly surprising, and as the study suggests, is to be expected based on prior research. (According to leading proponent of emotional intelligence Daniel Goleman, this concept includes self awareness: recognition of one’s own emotions; social awareness: recognition of others’ emotions; self management: ability to manage one’s emotions; social skills: an ability to influence and manage others’ emotions.)

    Given everything we’ve observed about Trump, it seems rather obvious that he would score very low on emotional intelligence.

    Quite a lot has been written about the importance of emotional intelligence to leadership. We should expect leaders at any level to at least have knowledge of the importance of emotional intelligence, if not competence. Trump, on this measure alone, is unfit for office.

    • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 09/10/2019 - 08:42 pm.

      From Psychology Today:
      “There is no validated psychometric test or scale for emotional intelligence as there is for “g,” the general intelligence factor—and many argue that emotional intelligence is therefore not an actual construct, but a way of describing interpersonal skills that go by other names.”

      “While some studies have found a link between emotional intelligence and job performance, others have shown no correlation, and the lack of a scientifically-valid scale makes it difficult to truly measure or predict someone’s emotional intelligence on the job.”

      No wonder the right wingers keep saying “Fake news”.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 09/11/2019 - 08:17 am.

        “While some studies have found a link between emotional intelligence and job performance, others have shown no correlation, and the lack of a scientifically-valid scale makes it difficult to truly measure or predict someone’s emotional intelligence on the job.”

        So; I guess what you are telling us it is time for a “man on the moon” national imperative to build a presidential suitability exam to prevent the next Donald Trump from gaining office…

      • Submitted by Eric Snyder on 09/11/2019 - 02:35 pm.

        I’m sure the researchers I referenced would be delighted to discover a major methodological error in their work that you just happened to have discovered with a cursory internet search, the content of which doesn’t necessarily take into account what was written in the research.

        The research on EI (emotional intelligence) is complex and your Psychology Today reference, while correct (as far as I know) about the dis-analogy with g, leaves important details unmentioned:

        1) It’s self-evident that capacities like self-awareness or self-regulation of emotions exist, and that individual differences exist among them.

        2) It’s also self-evident that Trump is deficient across any number of areas – intellectual curiosity, honesty, etc. Even assuming for the sake of argument that EI is not an explanatory construct beyond g, it doesn’t then follow that we can’t observe Trump’s profound character defects. The Washington Post has documented over 10,000 false or misleading statements by Trump. The question remains how to best account for them psychologically.

        3) There’s research going back years linking prejudice to conservative and right-wing political views and this doesn’t rely on correlations with EI.

        “Fake news” is in almost all cases little more than a handy way to dismiss unsettling evidence.

  6. Submitted by David Markle on 09/10/2019 - 12:25 pm.

    Has anyone noticed that he has no sense of humor?

  7. Submitted by Misty Martin on 09/10/2019 - 01:02 pm.

    Martha:

    LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this article! So true and so very well thought out and well written. I watched that special on TV between Anderson Cooper and Stephen Colbert, as well, and I was touched as well, though I never lost a parent at a young age. I was an older adult before I lost either of them, thanks be to the Lord, for sparing me that sorrow at a young age.

    My family did suffer the loss of a child, but he died long before I was ever born, so I do not have the personal acquaintance with loss that you and others like Cooper and Colbert would have. Still, I would like to think that I have empathy toward others – Jesus taught that, didn’t He? And the evangelicals who support President Trump gloss over this lack of empathy that he seems to have – along with a great many other flaws. Not that anyone is perfect – indeed, we are all flawed in one way or another – for instance “Sharpie Gate” – why can’t the President just own up to his failures? Don’t try to lie your way out of a mistake – own up to it, and say simply: “I’m sorry. I was wrong. My mistake. I apologize.” Is that so difficult for this leader to do? I would respect President Trump, or anyone for that matter, if they could do that very thing. It’s human to make mistakes – it’s arrogant to declare that one never does anything wrong.

    And I agree wholeheartedly with you, losing the next election could only benefit ALL of us, the President included. And to all the evangelicals out there who support Donald Trump for President: it’s very Biblical that he should suffer some defeat – the Bible plainly states that suffering trials helps to grow us up. It’s time that Donald Trump grew up.

  8. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/10/2019 - 01:47 pm.

    “The secret of success is sincerity. Fake that and you’re in.”

    I’m reminded of the video footage of Bill Clinton leaving Ron Brown’s funeral, yucking it up with the guy next to him. Until he glances over and sees he’s on camera. He immediately looks down and begins wiping imaginary tears. The guy next to him who isn’t aware they’re on camera continues to yuck it up a little confused at Bill’s amazing change in demeanor. Heh. Ya gotta see google it, it’s hilarious.

    You never see any tears, real or fake, out of Donald J. Trump. That’s for politicians.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 09/10/2019 - 05:32 pm.

      You don’t see any signs of humanity either. Just the facade of a person.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 09/12/2019 - 11:03 pm.

      I believe contemporary accounts had Chester Arthur doing the same thing at McKinley’s funeral but Democrats have been able to put it behind them…

      It’s been twenty years: let it go….

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/14/2019 - 06:35 pm.

        More often than not, Chester Arthur at President McKinley’s funeral is invoked in response to any mention of President Clinton at Ron Brown’s funeral. President McKinley’s funeral was in 1901. Don’t let it go.

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 09/16/2019 - 01:11 pm.

          “More often than not”

          Now that’s funny!

          I just picked a random Presidential funeral over 100 years ago and Arthur had been dead for 15 years in 1901…

  9. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 09/10/2019 - 02:22 pm.

    Empathy would be something one would expect to find in a great leader. Think of Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I don’t know if I agree with the author that the current occupant “knows he has not been tested.” He is surrounded by sycophants and liars who continually feed his ego and self-delusion. As illustrated by some comments in this thread, there is no lack of help for him to blame others for what he’s brought on himself. For someone like the great leader to be tested and thereby grow, one would have to have some capacity for honesty and understanding the truth foremost about oneself. He would have to grow up. Maybe it’s not too late but I don’t see that happening unless or until he’s perhaps forced to spend a few years in a six by six cell with plenty of time on his hands to reflect on his life.

  10. Submitted by joe smith on 09/11/2019 - 08:27 am.

    President Trump was hired to get folks off welfare and into workforce, protect America and ensure our rights as an individual are not infringed upon….. Not sure making you happy was on his to do list.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/11/2019 - 11:02 am.

      That’s completely false, as one frequent commenter here likes to say. Trump was installed to own the libs – nothing more. As long as he makes left-wing elitists unhappy (“Make America Irate Again”), his base is getting all they wanted.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 09/13/2019 - 06:56 pm.

      Well Joe, it appears you passed the I don’t believe in America Test: “form a more perfect union”

      We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of .

      Apparently, like Trump, don’t believe a president is elected to lead us all, just the folks that voted for him!

  11. Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/11/2019 - 11:25 am.

    As I reflect on the events that occurred on this day in 2001, I am saddened that it takes a tragedy of that magnitude to unite our United States. Beginning before inauguration day and continuing through to this day, there has been a concerted effort to de-legitimize this presidency. The dead end that was Russia collusion has been replaced by various charges of unfitness for office by amateur psychologists. Any charge that could gain some traction would gladly be rallied behind to disenfranchise 63 million popular and 304 EC votes. To many, the Trump presidency is the nation’s greatest problem; you expected a different outcome and you didn’t get your way. The solution to your problem is the next election. Redirect your torches and pitchforks and solve some real problems.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 09/12/2019 - 10:33 am.

      Well perhaps Trump is another tragedy that will unite us and we will get rid of a Dictator want to be? Climate is a real problem, pollution is a real problem, racism is a real problem, economic equity is a real problem, meeting our commitments to help refugees is a real problem, gun violence is a real problem, etc. etc. of course if you have no empathy for folks that work through these problems, you don’t believe they are problems! As a previous poster and the article amplified, its really difficult for many of us folks to feel empathy, for a guy that has it all and gets his thrills kicking refugees to the curb and putting their children in cages. Thus his supporters must fall in the same pot of enjoying kicking, mocking, harassing the not so advantaged and enjoying it. Not what this guy sees as Great American Traits.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/12/2019 - 10:14 pm.

        You don’t get to say what other people think and believe.

        As the opponents of Joe Biden have recently pointed out, President Obama was the great deporter-over 3 million people during his presidency. Under President Trump, there are more legal immigrants coming in and less deportations. And, 6.3 million jobs added to the economy.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 09/13/2019 - 03:07 pm.

          Seems, since this is an opinion column, that I get to provide my opinion, yes I know under Trump that should be outlawed if he doesn’t approve of my opinion! The jobs one, according to Forbes, not known for its left wing lean, Trump is falling 1M short relative to Obama, and he inherited a Great Already Economy, now lets also not forget, the Trump administration in his “Made America Great” is running over $1T deficits and these are the good times! Appears that Obama followed on a Bush program for deportation, he didn’t deport as many as Bush, and why don’t you give him credit for doing something conservatives love? Not sure he was the lock up the kids in cages chief that Trump is! Sorry no empathy from this end for the guy that has it all and loves to kick everyone else to the curb to serve his own narcissistic purposes, like increasing air pollution, endangering peoples health, so he doesn’t look orange under those high efficiency LED lights! .

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/13/2019 - 06:01 pm.

            Yes, you get to provide your opinion, and say what you believe and think. Saying what others think and believe based on other things they have said is an interesting phenomenon, one based on extrapolation. It is the same thinking that underpins racism and stereotypes. “Because of what you said or what I think you said, I know all about you. Actually, you don’t.

            During the Obama presidency, millions of jobs were lost before any job gains; not so for the Trump presidency. Obama added more the national debt than all the presidents that preceded him combined. The deficit is not a trillion dollars, though I do agree with you that the deficit is a problem. Deficit spending and carrying debt at these levels is a problem the President and Congress need to address.

            • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 09/13/2019 - 07:05 pm.

              SR, you appear to be afflicted with the disease you claim of others.

              “Saying what others think and believe based on other things they have said is an interesting phenomenon, one based on extrapolation. It is the same thinking that underpins racism and stereotypes. “Because of what you said or what I think you said, I know all about you.”

              Take things out of context, and failure to recognize cause and effect allows the creation of ones own fantasy. Example: Obama dealt with the great recession and he is accused of poor financial governance, we came out of it in great shape, Trump is dealing with the best economy and his >$1T deficit this year, unless Treasury is lying to us, are not on the radar, context, reality, and fantasy!

    • Submitted by ian wade on 09/12/2019 - 02:28 pm.

      One doesn’t need to be a psychologist, amateur or otherwise, to conclude that Trump is unfit for office. His actions, the disarray of his cabinet, his installation of sycophant toadies to key positions, his disinterest in anyone that isn’t his base, his complete lack of principle,etc. The man is devoid of humanity and will go down in history as the greatest mistake this country has ever made and every one of his supporters is complicit in it.
      He’s an embarrassment.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/13/2019 - 08:41 am.

      Loud voices from the left, like Bill Maher-June 2016, openly hope for an economic crash. Since the impeachment fever has broken, the resist movement has moved on to plan D or is it plan E. But, is hope really a plan? Of course multimillionaires like Maher could weather a downturn; the millions of Americans living check to check would be collateral damage, worth the price to the narcissistic elite. Given the choice between the failure of America and the success of President Trump, which would you choose?

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/13/2019 - 10:55 am.

        Just to clarify: whom do you include in your definition of “narcissistic elite?” Because I know of a family of skeevy New York real estate developers who seem to have the narcissism part nailed down.

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/13/2019 - 12:33 pm.

          Anyone that would prefer the failure of America to the success of President Trump.

          You don’t care to answer the question?

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/13/2019 - 01:29 pm.

            Do you honestly think the Trump clan cares one way or another about the economic security of anyone other than themselves?

            Relatively little of the Trump agenda pertains to economics. Such policy ideas as he espouses have been shown, time and again, to be not just ineffective but destructive. It’s not a matter of what I would rather see; it’s a matter of facing reality.

            As far as the bulk of his agenda goes (the racism, the environmental degradation, the perverse isolationism), no, I don’t want him to succeed. His “success” would be a failure for the United States.

            • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 09/13/2019 - 02:54 pm.

              “Relatively little of the Trump agenda pertains to economics. Such policy ideas as he espouses have been shown, time and again, to be not just ineffective but destructive. It’s not a matter of what I would rather see; it’s a matter of facing reality.”

              You say you face reality, yet you ignore the fact that we have record low unemployment, wages are up we’re growing the economy at almost 3% per annum and our investment portfolios have been greatly fattened. Those are the facts at hand.

              You can argue that his trade war with China has been disruptive, but it has not been destructive. Most people realize that China has been acting as a Privateer, plundering our technology, violating patents, stealing trade secrets.

              We know bringing them to heel might incur costs, and cause some short term suffering, but we can see the necessity, and are encouraged by news of Chinese economic decline.

              Lastly, I’ve seen precious little come from the left regarding economics, although I admit there’s not much meat on that bone for them.

              That’s the reality; can you face it?

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/13/2019 - 03:13 pm.

              As expected, you didn’t answer the question asked, which actually answers the question.

              By all objective measures, America under Trump is not failing. I know that is a great disappointment, but that is fact. You call the President a racist, but minorities are benefiting most from his presidency. Both African-American and Latino unemployment are at all-time lows; over half of the 6.3 million jobs created in the last three years are held by minorities. Charges of racism is such a transparent tool of division, but a longstanding tradition of the left.

              From the AP, “Black leaders forged alliance with Trump on sentencing deal”, Excerpt: “WASHINGTON (AP) — A rare bipartisan deal in Congress to overhaul federal sentencing laws passed after a few black ministers, leaders and lawmakers forged an alliance with President Donald Trump, who some have condemned as racist for the last two years.
              The reforms could offer a path to freedom for hundreds of black and Latino inmates who were sent to prison by a justice system that critics say has long been stacked against minorities.”

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/13/2019 - 03:44 pm.

                “You don’t get to say what other people think and believe.”

                I would think it wouldn’t bear repeating that the upward trajectory of the economy – which, by all objective measures, is slowing – began under President Obama. As far as the rest of his economic agenda is going, nothing much has happened. The benefits – such as they were – of his tax cuts – such as they were – are pretty much gone. Corporations that had their taxes cut used the savings to buy back their own stock, not build factories.

                Oh, and how’s that “easy to win” trade war going? I’ll bet his erratic careening has really inspired confidence among the members of the business community, right? And China is begging for mercy, aren’t they? So much winning.

                The only way to say that Donald Trump is not racist is to be blind to reality. Yes, African Americans and Latinos are benefiting from an improved economy. What about the rest of his policies? Any President whose private business had an extensive history of racial discrimination, who can pardon Joe Arpaio, or who can say there were “fine people on both sides” marching in Charlottesville should leave no doubt as to his racism.

                Signing one bill on criminal justice reform – a small first step, indeed – doesn’t rebut everything that has happened over his career.

                • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/13/2019 - 03:57 pm.

                  You said it yourself.

                  The tired “fine people on both sides” argument has been roundly debunked, and almost everyone knows. Here is a history lesson for you.

                  https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2019/03/21/trump_didnt_call_neo-nazis_fine_people_heres_proof_139815.html

                  • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/16/2019 - 09:00 am.

                    That’s a load of ****.

                    I’m not willing to conceded that “fine people” travel to attend marches that aim to preserve monuments to treason in defense of slavery. If, by some chance, there were “fine people” who would do that, they would not have learned about a march that was advertised on sites like Stormfront or Vdare. If, by chance, a few fine people did wander in, they would have left when they heard their fellow marchers chanting “Jews will not replace us.”

                    Perhaps you have different criteria for “fine people.”

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/16/2019 - 11:01 am.

                      The fine people on both sides are those engaged in the discussion of whether civil war monuments should be preserved or destroyed. It is as simple as that. Spin as you like, but there is no racism to be found here. Dachau doesn’t still stand today as a tribute to The Third Reich.

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/16/2019 - 11:21 am.

                      Statues of Stonewall Jackson are not reminding us of the travesty against humanity that the confederacy represented.

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/16/2019 - 03:15 pm.

                      You don’t get speak for us.

                      I visited several Civil War battlefields on the 150th anniversary of the battles. I found the monuments to be a powerful reminder of our nation’s disgraceful history of slavery.

                      With the alarming rise of anti-semitism in Europe, there is no certainty that every visitor to Dachau is there for the purpose the monument is intended.

                      https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/06/04/alarming-rise-anti-semitism-europe

                • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 09/13/2019 - 04:04 pm.

                  “Yes, African Americans and Latinos are benefiting from an improved economy. What about the rest of his policies?“

                  Yes, what about those policies? What policies, exactly, has Trump enacted that were directed to harm minorities? Be specific, please.

                  Making blanket charges of racism are all to easy (and whew, don’t we know that); we’re ready to hear the details.

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/12/2019 - 02:36 pm.

    Nope. His dishonesty, moral vacuity, ignorance, and stupidity are his BIGGEST disqualifications. And I hate to say it but the idea that we rely on the empathy of the ruling class to produce civility and social cohesion is a seriously outdated notion. Presidents in this country one way or another don’t make it into the White House without a certain degree of privilege and wealth. Their empathy doesn’t sustain us, but frequently our empathy sustains them.

  13. Submitted by Rosalie O'Brien on 09/13/2019 - 12:58 pm.

    What an interesting colloquy! A couple of thoughts:

    1. Although it’s true that the present occupant is lacking in empathy, and also that empathy is a desirable trait in a leader, to me it seems doubtful that losing in 2020 or anything else could penetrate the narcissism that he exhibits to an almost obscene level. It’s all about him, period, end of story. For most of us, it’s almost impossible to grasp the distortions of judgment that result–in fact, it’s doubtful that the word “judgment” even applies. The Alabama episode is only one recent example. Though the resulting investigations will consume time and money that could have been put to better use elsewhere, one can imagine far more serious consequences of this individual’s distorted psyche.

    2. This piece from The Spectator offers what could be seen as a positive perspective on the current state of our politics:

    https://spectator.us/britains-political-system-broken-america/

    Of course, it’s written from the UK point of view…and seems to assume that corrective action will occur.

    So the real question is how to make that happen, right?

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