Translating Trump, Part One

2 Dec

I am intrigued by the wildly disparate interpretations of almost everything President-elect Donald Trump says and does. These interpretations come through in the headlines, in blog articles and in comment sections. For some, Trump is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, and a xenophobe. For others, Trump is a savior who, in spite of his personal indiscretions and large ego, will “make America great again.” Is Trump a dim bulb or a master manipulator? Is he the next Hitler or the next great President?

The truth is, no one yet knows whether Trump will be a great President. Sometimes, world circumstances or domestic events shape the presidency in unpredictable ways. The jury will probably be out for several years on Trump.

I do think a lot of the diversity of opinions on Trump is of his own making. Whether intentional on his part or not, Trump says enough things which seem to conflict and this causes confusion. For example, in his “Thank you tour” speech in Cincinnati, he spoke strongly¬†once again about his plan to “build a wall” at the Mexican border. But in his 60 Minutes interview just after the election, he talked about a wall, fences and other forms of security. Trump’s positions seem to vacillate a bit based on his audience. Last night’s speech in Cincinnati also featured the familiar “lock her up” shouts of the crowd, a plea for the prosecution of Hillary Clinton. Trump did not disavow this in Cincinnati, but in the last couple of weeks his public statement has been that he will not pursue prosecution because Clinton had “suffered enough.” Is Trump doing this on purpose as a master manipulator or is it just more a matter of his personality to try to be liked by the people he is with at the time? I am not capable of psychoanalysis on Trump, so I will leave it as an open question.

While the diversity of views on Trump is partly his own fault, I believe the problem actually lies mostly with his interpreters. All of us who observe current events are Trump interpreters and the framework we bring to the table will determine how we view Trump. Right now, the extremes of this continuum of opinion would be as follows . . .


I believe a small but vocal minority hangs out on the far left and the far right. The overwhelming majority of people are in the middle somewhere. The problem is that the people on the edges question the morality of the vast majority in the middle. From the right, the pejoratives are cast about: “snowflake” and “safe space” and “elites” and “establishment types” and all the rest. From the extreme left, anyone who voted for Trump is morally suspect, racist, sexist, and uneducated. They need to go back to the trailer park because after all “Hillary won the popular vote.” Now it is possible with some on the left that their criticisms of Trump are so extreme mostly because they fear Trump’s future decisions and so they are trying to delegitimize his presidency through the Hitler paradigm.

In the next article, through the use of questions and answers, I want to take a look at Trump on a few issues and attempt to provide some translation of his words and actions to try to bring some perspective to both those who are calling for his head and those who are already calling for a fifth head on Mt. Rushmore.



One Response to “Translating Trump, Part One”

  1. creatorworship December 3, 2016 at 8:51 am #

    Wow! You’ve taken on a challenge with this blog entry. You obviously can’t get the right answer for many people by what you say, but it is worthwhile to try to give a balanced view to help people think sanely about this polarizing personality in the midst of a polarized public.

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