We’ve all been there. At some point during high school, college, or even in law school in my case, we’ve taken essay tests. Likely, we’ve had at least one essay question where we didn’t have a clue about the correct answer. So we had a choice to make: we either left the answer completely blank, or we wrote something that we hoped could fool the teacher or professor. Of course, that probably didn’t work, but we tried it anyway.
That’s what happens when we aren’t adequately prepared. We try to “wing it”. It might work in high school, but the chances of success under this method decrease significantly as the stakes are raised. In college, this probably didn’t work. I can personally attest that it is a complete failure in law school AND on the bar exam.
Yet this is the only explanation I can give for the Donald Trump approach to his campaign. It becomes clearer by the day that he has not adequately prepared for this moment. Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying he hasn’t prepared to run a viable campaign. The fact that he continues to lead in the race for the Republican nomination would disprove that completely.
What I’m saying is that he hasn’t adequately prepared to LEAD the country in the event he is actually elected. He has not educated himself on the principles of federalism, limited government, state’s rights, the freedom of the individual, or basic governing methods.
Just the latest example of this arose during his interview with Anderson Cooper on March 29.
For a transcript of the interview, go here:
Most commentary from this interview is focused on the exchange between Cooper and Trump about Trump’s ridiculous tweet of Ted Cruz’s wife, in which Trump made her look like a monster. Trump defended his tweet by saying “He started it!” Cooper rightfully pointed out that Trump sounded like a 5 year old with his response. And of course that exchange has been great political fodder (although it is unlikely to sway any of Trump’s supporters, who tend to back him no matter what he says).
But what I find intriguing about the interview is Trump’s response to an audience question:
QUESTION: Good evening, Mr. Trump. In your opinion, what are the top three functions of the United States government?
TRUMP: Say it again?
QUESTION: In your opinion, what are the top three functions of the United States government?
TRUMP: Well, the greatest function of all by far is security for our nation. I would also say health care, I would also say education. I mean, there are many, many things, but I would say the top three are security, security, security.
Later, Cooper follows up with this exchange:
COOPER: So in terms of federal government role, you’re saying security, but you also say health care and education should be provided by the federal government?
TRUMP: Well, those are two of the things. Yes, sure. I mean, there are obviously many things, housing, providing great neighborhoods…
COOPER: Aren’t you against the federal government’s involvement in education? don’t you want it to devolve to states?
TRUMP: I want it to go to state, yes. Absolutely. I want — right now…
COOPER: So that’s not part of what the federal government’s…
TRUMP: The federal government, but the concept of the country is the concept that we have to have education within the country, and we have to get rid of common core and it should be brought to the state level.
These are the responses from someone trying to “wing it” on an essay test. Trump clearly has no understanding of the different purposes of the federal government and the state government. He has called for terminating the Department of Education, yet here he appears to be in support of federally controlled education. Yet he also tries to voice support for state run education in the same breath.
Moreover, he believes that two of the three most important roles of the “United States government”, which was the premise of the original question, are health care and education. He doesn’t seem to have any question regarding the federal government’s role in either of those issues in the first place. And then he even mentions “housing, providing great neighborhoods…” as within the federal government’s purview.
Seriously? He believes the federal government is responsible for providing housing and great neighborhoods?
This is not a man who has adequately prepared to lead this country. He has no understanding of Constitutional issues. He does not recognize the freedom of the individual (which is why he supports eminent domain so strongly). And he really doesn’t care about state’s rights, as the exchange with Anderson Cooper demonstrates.
Trump simply says whatever comes to his mind at a given moment. He knows that his supporters don’t care, as they’ll vote for him anyway.
But we have to consider what we’ll have if he actually becomes our President. Will we have someone who has prepared to govern? Or will we have a high school student hoping we won’t notice he has no clue what he’s talking about?