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In Defense of Classic Politics

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The politics of running for President of the United States involves a bevy of handlers, advisers and top strategists; they can be thought of as a hidden iceberg with only the candidates sticking their heads above water. There is a reason for this. At a level where every utterance is scrutinized, no isolated human being can run for the highest office in the land without a lot of advice.

Running for President of the United States comes with a bevy of handlers, advisers and top political strategists; they can be thought of as a hidden iceberg with only the candidates sticking their heads above water.

Advisers such as pollsters and campaign consultants receive more than their fair share of criticism, but they endure it, secure in the knowledge of the vital role they play. No one may understand this better now than Donald Trump.

With his recent criticism of John McCain, a veteran and war hero whom even the Democrats respect, Mr. Trump has shot himself in the foot, and only time will tell whether the damage ruins the rest of his candidacy. But, more than anything, his error proves the inviolable need of a professional political staff when running for President of the United States. Even the most accomplished business executive wouldn’t dream of making decisions without appropriate input. Why should the President of the United States be any different?

Of all the candidates, Hillary Clinton is running the best campaign. Recognizing she is on a glide path to the nomination, Ms. Clinton has limited press appearances and interviews for one primary purpose: avoiding the kind of error Mr. Trump made over the weekend. And she is succeeding in this strategy despite the vocal protestations from Fox News and the Republicans. Hillary shows why listening to your advisers is a good idea just as Donald shows why failing to do so is a bad one.

Republicans are Trumped

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The Donald entered the race for President of the United States yesterday, and his status as a Republican is a black mark  on that political party.

Mr. Trump is first and foremost a showman, but the positions he takes derive from the mainstream of the Republican party. And by his exaggerations and egotistical manner, he shows up those positions for what they really are.

Mr. Trump is first and foremost a showman, but the positions he takes derive from the mainstream of the Republican party.

The Republican stance on immigration, for example, is based on fear and prejudice, and Trump takes that paranoia to its logical conclusion by proposing to build a wall across our thousand-mile border with Mexico. Branding illegal immigrants as rapists and thieves, he ignores their real economic needs and their hope for a better life for their children.

But the lack of compassion for immigrants represents the mainstream of the Republican Party, and he is only taking the next step in supporting their position.

The Republicans also have a reflexive aversion to the President, and by trying to brand him as an “other,” somehow outside the mainstream of American politics, by his avowed support of “birtherism” and calling for the President to release his college manuscripts, Mr. Trump is making outrageous statements. But, again, just the next logical step driving Republican policy, and one espoused by many on the far right.

On these and so many other issues, Donald Trump appeals strongly to the base of the Republican Party, and by highlighting what their positions really mean, Mr. Trump is doing the Democrats a favor. I can’t wait for the Donald to comment on climate change and the Pope’s acknowledgement of its effect on the poor in his most recent encyclical.