Saturday, August 8, 2015

[EDITORIAL] Electing a president is not a game

Think about the acronym POTUS, President of the United States. Now imagine Donald Trump when you hear the phrase POTUS. Is that thought merely surprising or terrifying?
    Polls seem to indicate that at least some are willing to put the destiny of the United States, indeed of the entire world, into “the Donald’s” hands just because they are angry at the political system. Really consider Donald Trump and the kind of president he would be were he to actually be elected.
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    Who among us would feel comfortable giving this person complete control over the nuclear codes. POTUS is, after all, charged with the power to use them. At some point, Donald Trump becomes no joke.
    Now that the primary debate season is underway, Trump is the first choice of 19 percent of GOP primary voters. In reality, that is actually a fairly tiny number of actual persons, but they seem to believe in Trump as the one best able to explain the issues important to a president, and in his dismissal of the debates as just a waste of his time.
    Trump admitted that he has little experience in the exchange of ideas that debates entail. He sees as his strength his unwillingness to control his emotions and to engage only with bombast. In fact, it is those very qualities that have made Trump the centerpiece of these very early days in the presidential election process. 
    Electing a president is more than a game. Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be dismissed with the “you’re fired” catch phrase. Allies, like Germany’s Angela Merkel, are just as unlikely to be reassured by Trump’s assurances that he will “know just what to do.” Trump, however, seems to have convinced himself he is ready to run the country.
    Trump set the rules on his TV show, but he certainly will not be able to do so in the debates or the campaign months ahead. We will now see whether he can operate without his own rules. On Thursday night, Republicans opened the first part of their process for showcasing their candidates for the office of president. A Trump true to his outrageous form is preferable for entertainment purposes, but for the good of the country, a more controlled Trump is a better outcome.

    The debates are intended to give the public an opportunity to learn what choices we, as voters, will be offered. Up to the debates, Trump has certainly been clear about what kind of leader he will be. In the end, however, it is not the Donald but we, America’s voters, who must take responsibility for the momentous decision of who will be POTUS, the most powerful person on the planet.

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