Surely one of the oddest comments by a candidate in this oddest of presidential election seasons has been Donald Trump’s comment that he is not being treated “fairly.” His off-and-on promise to support the ultimate Republican nominee or to run as an independent candidate or to lead his supporters out of the Republican convention always seems to depend upon whether or not the Republican National Committee treats him “fairly.”
Bernie Sanders campaigns on the theme of fairness. Whether one accepts his silly socialist themes or not, at least Sanders sounds sincere, and this theme fits into what you expect to hear from the only Socialist Party member in Congress.
But Donald Trump, who is the consummate wheeler-dealer, the favored son of a New York multimillionaire and the flashing owner of hotels and casinos – how many of his casino visitors feel they are treated fairly? – is also the presidential candidate who prides himself on winning. Trump is the man who uses eminent domain to dispossess old women out of their homes, which hardly seems fair, whether one thinks that use of legal process is in the greater good or not.
Life, of course, is not fair. Trump himself started life far ahead of most Americans. He was born with great wealth. Trump tells the world that nature has blessed his body with other advantages. There are very few things Donald Trump says that are not pure bragging, some of which is doubtless true, but all of which hardly fits at all with his recurrent complaints about being treated unfairly.
What makes this even more peculiar is that Trump has profited enormously as the candidate of a minority of Republican voters so that out of the 31 Republican primaries and caucuses so far, Donald Trump has yet to persuade a majority of voters to support him. The best Trump has done so far is Mississippi, where he won 47.3% of the vote in the March primary. Nationally, Trump is the frontrunner, but he has that status while earning less than 40% of the popular vote. Does that seem fair?
Trump has also, more or less, commanded media to cover his campaign and has used his media connections and celebrity friends to promote his campaign in ways other candidates cannot match, and without apparent regard to being fair to his Republican competitors. He routinely threatens to sue anyone who gets in his way and quite consciously portrays himself as the most macho presidential nominee since Teddy Roosevelt.
There is nothing wrong with his hyper-assertiveness…except when Trump then returns to the theme of being treated unfairly by the “establishment.” Donald Trump, of course, is part of that establishment, which runs from the Potomac River to the penthouses of Manhattan. Indeed, Trump has never been anything less that the establishment – which doesn’t mean he can’t honestly run against the people messing up America but does mean that his demands for fairness sound not so much hollow as absurd.
Trump is, after all, promising not to “Make America Fair Again,” but to “Make America Great Again.” He tells us how he is able to make great deals. He produced reality shows in which he fired employees before American television audiences. Trump has boasted in the past of sexual conquests, including winning women for a tryst he had no moral right to take. This is a sort of swagger that appeals to Americans sick and tired of being lectured by stern-faced schoolmarm politicians about everyone being equal.
But the very last thing these angry conservative Americans want to hear from politicians anymore is a call for greater “fairness,” which is, after all, always in the eye of the beholder. Jihads for “fairness” are the cause of most of our problems these days. Fairness has always been the mantra of the left, the slogan of redistributionists, the noble goal – at least the pronounced noble goal – of every big-government type in politics. When the supposed champion of these Americans, a man blessed in life in almost every way, complains himself of being treated “unfairly,” that ought to be a clue that there is something very wrong with their champion Mr. Trump.