The irony of Donald Trump’s campaign is that he is finding support largely among middle class white men, many of whom are working but worried about their jobs. Others are doing work they normally don’t, just to pay the bills. Still others are concerned about the economy with respect to immigration. It’s easy to debate these fears. I’d say the fears of a lack of work are unfounded. People need to learn new skills that don’t require a college degree and immigration is a good scapegoat but it’s more complicated than people want to admit.
That said, Trump has managed to use his skills to convince people he’s right. It’s strange that people have latched on to a spend-thrift billionaire as one who they believe will look out for their interests. Ironic because Trump has a history of using his wealth and power to squash the very people he claims he represents. The information is not hard to find. The media would be all over these stories if this were any other Republican. But the media loves Trump. And they fear him. They want the ratings he brings but not the scorn for being tough on him. Not now anyway.
In truth, Donald Trump is a con artist. Liam Donovan wrote a terrific piece about this and I encourage you to read all of it, but this part is of particular interest:
The bottom line is that you need to disabuse people of the notion that Trump is on their side. This is a con, and we are the collective mark. You do this by exposing his penchant for screwing over the little people- whether via Trump U, the Polish Brigade, Atlantic City, Kelo, or even H-2B visas, just pick your poison.
Emphasis mine. He’s right. Donovan mentions Trump University. Hardly anybody knows of this as the media has decided to black it out (during the primary – this will become a major line of attack against him in a general election) but it’s pretty disgusting. Trump ripped people off to the tune of tens of thousands while he collected millions: (From AMI Newswire):
Louis Piatt still regrets the day he signed up for Trump University. The Monroe, Iowa retiree says he was duped into squandering more than $11,000 on real estate seminars and workshops.
While Piatt lost money, Trump himself made millions. Trump University paid Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential frontrunner, $5 million out of some $40 million received by the university from 2005 to 2010, court records show.
There are at least three active lawsuits against Trump and Trump University – one by the New York Attorney General’s Office and two related California class actions. Trump has said he has returned his $5 million in fees to the university, but the entity has yet to repay most of its former students.
Piatt, who is not a named plaintiff in these three lawsuits, filed an official complaint with Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.
People in 11 states have filed complaints with their attorneys general. In his complaint to Iowa’s attorney general, Piatt included a letter he sent to Trump University seeking some of his money back.
Thousands of people throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico – like Piatt – say the university duped them. In lawsuits and complaints, they say they were lured to free seminars where they were pressured into paying for largely useless workshops starting at $1,495 and topping out at $35,000 for a “Gold Elite Program.”
Many of us are old enough to remember those late night informercials promising to make you rich buy purchasing a “program” showing how to make a ton of money either selling “tiny little ads” (Don Lapre) or buying foreclosed real estate (William McCorkle). People purchased programs that would do nothing but encourage the purchase of more materials to truly “unlock” those secrets.
Trump University was no different. It’s like Scientology and Trump is his very own L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard reportedly told fellow science fiction writer, Isaac Asimov (among others), “If you want real money, you have to start a religion.”
Trump has done that to some degree. He has started the Church of Trump. And like any other charlatan, he’s making promises he can’t keep. His ego is writing checks his body cannot cash. And he has convinced a whole bunch of people he is looking out for their interests. Trump only cares about himself. His supporters are a means to an end.
They’re the mark. He’s the con man.
Hopefully people figure this out before it is too late.