By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders
It was a sales pitch; it was always a sales pitch. It was like the defunct Trump University whose former students now have buyer’s remorse and have won a $22 million restitution of their tuition costs for a product that was promised but not delivered.
For nearly two years since the start of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to put Americans first and to “make America great again.” He advertised his credentials as the consummate businessman and the ultimate deal maker. Just the kind of tonic Washington D.C.’s unhealthy dysfunctional government needed.
To that end he promised to repeal the current health care law and replace it with something “much better and more affordable for every American.”
But instead he endorsed a plan that would toss 24 million Americans from their current health coverage, increase premiums and roll back benefits.
And in so doing give the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans who can afford the best private health care the largest tax cut in history. The self-described greatest negotiator could not make the deal with members of his own Party. The legislation properly failed to pass in Congress last week.
The mantra of better and cheaper health care for every American repeated over and over again by Mr. Trump was just another marketing message intended to entice voters to his side as surely as his promise to thousands of students that they would be given a superior business education at Trump University.
Then of course there was the wall to buffer this country against migrants, now estimated to cost over $15 billion. At every rally Trump would denounce Mexicans and blustered that they would pay for it. More marketing. Their government says no way. You don’t hear much about the wall these days.
Mr. Trump vowed to rid Washington, D.C. of the army of corporate lobbyists and special interests that wield inordinate influence on our laws and policies. In his words he would “drain the swamp.” Instead, President Trump stacked his cabinet with more corporate bigs and fellow billionaires than any administration in history.
But he made his populist appeal sound convincing and millions of people believed him and bought what he was selling.
Mr. Trump promised to put America first in his international dealings. But as the days pass and news stories trickle out it is becoming evident that senior members of the Trump campaign were in frequent contact with Russian operatives who were interfering with our democratic election process intent on tipping the election towards Mr. Trump. The only questions that will remain are whether the Trump campaign merely knew of those efforts, or in some way colluded with a foreign government to undermine our democracy. And to both possibilities… the inescapable question is: What did Mr. Trump know and when did he know it? This from the same guy who charged that the election was rigged against him, yet invited Russian computer hacking activity against his opponent.
For Donald Trump, election campaign commitments were merely another sales pitch, dickering with the American electorate in his bid to capture the big prize. He offered grandiose guarantees but few specifics. And like a poker player holding only a pair of twos, the gambit was a bluff. Today we see the reality between candidate Trump and President Trump as events unfold.
One is reminded of the great Wizard of Oz who bellowed and bullied behind a facade of deception only to be revealed as a glib carnival promoter when the curtain was removed, possessing no special powers. In truth the Wizard was only offering illusions. But at least he was able to give the tin man a watch that ticked to replicate a beating heart. Trump has nothing in his bag of tricks.
Now all that can be said is when future elections for president occur, caveat emptor!
Let the buyer beware.