Every American is blessed with an opportunity that is non-existent for citizens born in just about every other nation: the microscopic possibility of being elected president of their home country. As preposterous as that thought may appear, since only forty-four persons have held that position, the slimmest opportunity does indeed exist.
Of course, our lives are subject to the boundaries that are established by the influence of our parents, the extent of our knowledge and curiosity, chance and opportunity, and the manner in which we exercise our free will.
While there are those among us who choose to restrain our free will with personal responsibility and self-discipline, there are others who decide that the pinnacle of success is in the form of being the wrong kind of guest star on an episode of Cops. Nobody is born useless, some people choose uselessness.
While I had thought that Donald Trump was going to announce that he was not going to run for President in 2016, there was no surprise in the announcement that he indeed, decided to run in the Republican primary elections. It is difficult to separate the showman Donald Trump, from the businessman Donald Trump due to the self-promotional skills that he learned from one of the greatest promoters in modern entertainment history: Vince McMahon.
And it is this constant exercise in self-promotion that makes it easy to question the motives for his decision to enter politics.
However, since Mr. Trump has built-up his ability to run for President, should he be denied that opportunity?
With the memories of George H. W. Bush losing the 1992 three-way Presidential election, the usual outspoken career Republicans fear a repeat. And just like Donald Trump, Ross Perot had an opportunity to take advantage of that tiny opportunity that will escape just about every other American.
There are accusations that Mr. Trump will make himself appear as a carnival sideshow during the campaign, especially during any debates that he may receive an invitation to; the same accusation was also directed toward Mr. Perot.
If I remember right, the most visible self-inflicted wound to Mr. Perot’s credibility was his decision to drop-out of, and then re-enter, the 1992 Presidential race. Otherwise, his presence forced career politicians George Bush and Bill Clinton to approach the Presidential debates in a manner that was probably uncomfortable for two men who probably only debated fellow politicians.
During one debate, the “war on drugs” received a sizable amount of attention. When Mr. Perot talked about the “pain of holding babies who were born addicted to crack cocaine,” both Mr. Bush and Mr. Clinton opened their rebuttals about doing the same.
When Mr. Bush and Mr. Clinton talked about trying to encourage young adults to leave their lives of selling and using drugs, Mr. Perot responded with a quote that derailed the feel-good campaign and debate rhetoric that is cherished by both political parties: “How are you going to convince a nineteen year-old drug dealer who drives a BMW, that he should walk away from a lot of money, and work an entry-level job at Dairy Queen?”
Since Mr. Trump is not confined to politicians’ talking points and loyalty to a party, what he says will leave his fellow candidates and GOP regulars uneasy, since they will have to adjust and do the same.
While his critics, especially within the GOP, will claim that Mr. Trump is putting on a song-and-dance that is so well choreographed, that even Paula Abdul will watch in amazement, all of the Republican Presidential candidates who have run since 1988 are subject to the same accusation.
First of all, George H. W. Bush based his 1988 campaign on continuing Ronald Reagan’s conservative agenda. Sadly, that first Bush Administration, from ignoring the Chinese government’s violent crackdown on its own people in Tiananmen Square while seeking a free-trade agreement with that government, to breaking his “no new taxes” pledge, indicated that the first George Bush was no Ronald Reagan. Instead, he just played one on the campaign trail.
The end result was that George Bush – not Ross Perot – is the reason why Mr. Bush did not win re-election.
Then in 1996, Bob Dole didn’t try to appear as a conservative. Instead, he reminded voters that he wasn’t Bill Clinton, and he tried to tell Republican voters that it was his turn to be President.
The campaign of George W. Bush was a rerun of his father’s 1988 Presidential sales pitch.
As for John McCain and Mitt Romney, those two tried to appear as all-things-to-all-people. If that isn’t political showmanship, perhaps it doesn’t exist.
If that tiny sliver of Presidential opportunity that is born with every American does grow into a possibility for some, then that opportunity deserves recognition. And if career Party leaders want to discredit outsiders who dare try to run for President, then as voters, we are obligated to find out why. After all, the like of Ross Perot, Doctor Ben Carson, Herman Cain, and Donald Trump have done what many career politicians cannot: they can either hold legitimate jobs, and/or they can build businesses that create jobs for people who could hold jobs. Or, they could discipline their free will to learn how to, and actually save lives, and better humanity in the process.
And it is that discipline which allows for future generations, and future Presidents.