The Trump card

A University of Nevada, Reno professor presents a leftist case in favor of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton



Jake Highton is an emeritus journalism professor from the University of Nevada, Reno. He can be reached at

The choice for president of the United States is easy for a Man of the Left: Bernie Sanders.

Sanders won most of the Democratic primaries but his opponent, Hillary Clinton, reaped the majority of delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Her big win in the California primary clinched the nomination.

But even before the California vote, Clinton had a lock on the superdelegates, those numerous Establishment figures who cling to the past rather than look to the future. And—she has powerful allies on the rules and platform committees to swing things her way.

Sanders, a democratic socialist U.S. senator from Vermont, made a valiant effort but could not wrest the nomination from Clinton, former secretary of state. This is sad because Sanders is a progressive and Clinton a conservative, promising the same-old dreary presidency.

The Sanders election platform called for a modern-day revolution, the most progressive since Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s and 1940s.

Sanders demanded universal health care, a single-payer plan that would cover everyone, including 28 million Americans without any health coverage. It’s absurd that the richest country in the world doesn’t have national health while smaller and poorer nations do.

Sanders excoriates Wall Street

“Its six major financial institutions have assets worth 60 percent of our Gross National Product, issue 35 percent of mortgages and two-thirds of credit cards,” Sanders declared. “The big corporations earn billions in profits, stash the money in tax havens abroad and pay nothing in income taxes. Billionaire hedge fund managers pay a lower tax rate than teachers or nurses.”

Sanders proposed free college education for all who qualify to enter. Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and many other nations have free university education. The University of California System used to offer free college education but 30 years ago began to charge tuition. Since then, college students all over the country have been shackled with debt, taking decades and even lifetimes to pay it off. Sanders sought to wipe out that terrible burden.

As is so often the case, the federal government fails to provide things that are essential. College education means more pay and better jobs for individuals and stimulates the national economy. As Michelle Obama chants, “To rise in society, go to college.”

Sanders urged “bold action on climate control so the planet will be habitable for future generations.” The scientific community is nearly unanimous that climate change, caused by human beings, is already damaging Earth.

He lamented the fact that “Congress refuses to appropriate sufficient funds for the nation’s infrastructure. Our crumbling roads, bridges, railroads, airports, water systems, wastewater plants, dams and levees are in desperate need of refurbishing.”

In short, Sanders made a powerful case to be the next president.

Clinton certainly is qualified to serve in the White House and lead the nation. But she will bring nothing new to the static and stale presidency. Donald Trump will. He is a hugely successful businessman, a real estate tycoon who made a billion dollars in business. Remember, too, Congress can rein in Trump as it does every president.

Be wary of gender politics

Liberal voters this fall should be wary of playing gender politics, of voting for Clinton only because she is a woman. The nation has never had a woman president, and now feminists argue that this year provides the chance to make the women's liberation dream come true. The country absolutely needs a woman president—but not Clinton.

A far, far better first woman to become president of the United States is Elizabeth Warren, U.S. senator from Massachusetts. She is a genuine progressive. I hope she runs for president in 2020—unless the worst happens and Clinton is elected in November, making it difficult for anyone to beat her except Jesus Christ.

My voting for Trump will astonish those who know my leftish politics. I have never voted for a Republican since I began voting as long ago as 1956. (I voted for the excellent Democratic candidate, Adlai Stevenson, against his Republican rival, the sainted Ike Eisenhower.)

But rather Trump than Clinton. Americans are bloody sick and tired of choosing “the lesser of two evils.” That way leads to ever more mediocrity.

Trump, who will be nominated at the GOP convention in Cleveland in July, promises real change. He’ll bring excitement to the White House. Clinton promises the politics of yesteryear.

Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle columnist, observed that Trump “channels the anxieties felt by scores of people who are not billionaires. He soothes their fears by telling them he’ll take care of their problems. He comes across as authentic.”

May 3, 2016: Donald Trump delivered a victory speech at Trump Tower after winning the Indiana Republican primary.

Moreover, Garofoli added, Trump “addresses those fears in bursts of plainspoken, incomplete sentences, the way most people talk.”

One California military mother, whose daughter serves in Japan, told an interviewer that she is delighted to hear Trump pledge “to take care of our vets.” They deserve it. The Pentagon today is not taking decent care of veterans.

Republican U.S. House member Chris Collins, who represents a district in western New York state, makes a powerful case for Trump. In a column in the New York Times, Collins wrote that Trump’s “lack of political correctness shows that he is independent.”

“For too long the political class has denied everyday Americans a real voice in government,” Collins declared. “In the election this fall voters are finding a leader who is listening to them over the clamor of Washington’s special interests. Voters are speaking loud and clear that they want a leader like Trump. They want a chief executive, not a chief politician.”

Endless tales of Trump

Several of Trump's positions are indefensible—proposed restrictions on Muslims entering America, not allowing illegal immigrants from Latin America to stay in this country, and elimination of the Affordable Care Act.

Muslims are not the problem, but some Muslims are. Namely, the Taliban. Its followers kill, throw bombs, terrorize civilians, pillage and destroy historic sites. Immigrants take jobs Americans won’t—low-paying positions with long and irregular hours. Obamacare, while not nearly as good as universal health coverage, insures many citizens who wouldn’t be covered without it.

Trump University is a fraud, relying on high-pressure sales tactics, employing unqualified instructors, and exploiting vulnerable students paying $35,000 to enroll in a real estate class.

Ronald Schnackenberg, former sales manager of Trump U., told the New York Times, “Trump University is a fraudulent scheme. It preys on the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money. He trades on his reputation to sell everything from water and steaks to neckties and education.”

USA Today reports that Trumpery has been involved in 3,500 litigations in state and federal courts in the past three decades. “They range from skirmishes with casino patrons to million-dollar real estate suits to personal defamation suits.”

No wonder the hot-headed Trump reacts angrily when judges rule against him. Nevertheless, his racist and ethnic slurs are shameful.

Ah, the endless tales of Trump. But some of his proposals are superb.

Violating GOP orthodoxy, Trump would raise taxes on billionaires like himself. He cites the fact that corporations get away with tax murder. He would simplify the tax code, noting that taxpayers spend too much time and money for tax preparers like H&R Block.

He deplores outsourcing. He particularly blasts hedge-fund managers who use the carried-interest loophole to pay a fraction of the taxes they should. He would make Ford and other auto firms “pay a price” for shifting their production abroad.

Trump promises to pull American troops out of South Korea unless Seoul pays more for its bogus “protection.” America should yank the troops now with no ifs, ands or buts. Its involvement in the Korean War was wrong from the beginning.

Rep. Collins said, in defense of Trump, “I see the failures of career politicians in the experiences of the hardworking men and women in Western New York whom I represent in Congress. The safe manufacturer SentrySafe, which once employed hundreds in the Rochester area, will close its doors this June and shift much of its operation to Mexico. That means the loss of good-paying jobs because our state and national leaders do not know how to encourage businesses to stay and grow in the United States. … America cannot afford another professional politician residing in the White House. We need a leader who has faced tough real-life situations before, and won. As Republicans prepare to vote in the New York primary on Tuesday, I hope they will send a resounding message that they believe Donald J. Trump is that type of leader. …

“One of the many reasons Americans are rallying behind him is his record of success and commitment to taking the lessons he’s learned to the White House. When he talks about being a president who would create jobs, win negotiations and stand up to enemies, people believe him because he has done it before. … His lack of political correctness shows that he is independent and understands the things people care about.”

A close observer of Trump, someone who took the time to read one of his many books, came to admire him, saying, “For all the faults of the Boss, he has the techniques of negotiation nailed!”

One thing Sanders, Trump and Clinton agreed on—they all opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Rightly so.

That and other U.S. trade deals have been a disaster. The 12-country accord does nothing for U.S. workers but enhances the fortunes of multinational corporations at home and abroad.

As Sanders pointed out, “Since 2001, we have lost 60,000 factories and five million decent-paying manufacturing jobs. Congress should not pass a trade bill like TPP that sends jobs out of the country so companies can break unions, force down wages and benefit already wealthy Wall Street executives and investors.”

February 16 2016: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke at Shomburg Center in Harlem.

Columnist Jim Hightower, a true populist in an era when every politician claims the mantle of populism, is blunt about TPP: “A cabal of global corporations and their friends in the Obama Administration are waging a wholesale assault on our jobs, environment, health, and even our people’s sovereignty.”

No presidential candidate in history has hauled so much political baggage as Donald Trump. Yet Clinton, too, carries a great deal of baggage.

Clinton triumph bodes ill

Clinton has served the wealthy and powerful like lawyers and hightech specialists. Raise wages? Yes, she would, but she never says how much. She is beholden to corporate power. After all, she served on the corporate board of Walmart.

Women at Walmart are paid less than men. They advance to management positions at lower rates than men even though their performance reviews are higher. Clinton made no effort to combat this sexism when she was on the Walmart board. Neither did she object that Walmart is violently anti-union while women make up the majority of workers. This is a women’s inequality issue that demands an outraged cry.

Clinton rakes in $200,000 for many speaking engagements. She earned $11 million in 2014 for 51 speeches to banks and industries. She took in $675,000 for speeches for Goldman-Sachs.

The New York Times editorialized, “’Everybody does it,’ is an excuse expected from a mischievous child, not a presidential candidate. But that is Hillary Clinton’s latest defense for making closed-door, richly paid speeches to big banks, which many middle-class Americans still blame for their economic pain, and then refusing to release the transcripts … [giving] a terrible answer, saying that she would release transcripts ’if everybody does it, and that includes the Republicans.’”

Clinton is called a liberal but she is a centrist, as nearly all presidents are, including President Obama. She is a middle-of-the-roader like her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Clinton's hawkish record

Clinton is an unabashed hawk. She supported the invasion of Iraq, the long occupation and counter-insurgency in that country. As secretary of state, she backed escalation of the Afghanistan War, pressed President Obama to arm Syrian rebels and endorsed airstrikes against the ruling Syrian regime. She supported intervention in Libya with drone strikes.

As Democratic U.S. senator from New York for eight years, her record was doubly hawkish. She was the only Democratic senator who made false claims that Saddam Hussein gave sanctuary to Al-Qaeda.

Clinton has a dark legacy in the Mexican drug war, according to Jesse Franzblau in a foreign policy analysis for Truthout: “U.S. laws explicitly prohibit the delivery of aid to foreign individuals and units implicated in systematic human rights violations. But files released by WikiLeaks revealed that Clinton’s State Department regularly received information on widespread ’official corruption’ in Mexico, even as they were bolstering the flow of equipment, assistance, and training that ended up in the hands of abusive and compromised security forces.”

Clinton opposes the single-payer health care that Canada and most European nations are blessed with.

Writer Carl Bernstein noted that Clinton waged a lengthy battle to discredit Gennifer Flowers, an actress who had a long affair with Bill Clinton. Hillary “dished” her as “trailer trash.” Lisa Featherstone wrote in a Truthout op-ed piece, “Clinton’s feminism is not only elite, but also white and often explicitly racist. …And if feminism only concerns itself with the women at the very top of our society, condoning horrific abuse of those without power, it’s not feminism at all. It’s just elitism.”

As president, Bill Clinton pushed his punitive crime bill of 1994. His First Lady supported it with an ugly remark—“Young criminals are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are superpredators.”

In 1996, President Clinton’s penal budget was twice the amount allocated to food stamps. He wanted “to end welfare as we know it.” He railed against “welfare queens” and “big government.” As Governor of Arkansas for 11 years, Clinton was most vulnerable on tax inequity. He raised taxes in a poor state regressively, hurting low-income people. He was weak on social issues and the environment—mere nods of agreement from the First Lady.

But there are many other indictments of would-be president Clinton. Namely—emails. While serving as secretary of state, she used her family’s private email server for official emails rather than use proper State Department channels.

She destroyed 32,000 of those emails she deemed private, a clear violation of State Department rules and federal laws governing official recordkeeping. She destroyed them with the incredible declaration that the emails were personal and not work-related.

The State Department’s independent watchdog, the Office of the Inspector General, issued a devastating report on Clinton’s email management, and numerous observers argue the report shows that practically everything Clinton has said about her use of a private server is false.

Still another Clinton gambit while secretary of state that should bar her from being president—she made weapons transfers to the Saudis a top priority while the Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars in donations from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the weapons manufacturer Boeing.

“Despite the brutal attacks on Yemen and egregious domestic human rights violations, Saudi Arabia remains the number one U.S. ally in the Arab world,” Medea Benjamin wrote in an op-ed for CODEPINK. It’s hard to exaggerate the enormity and hi-tech nature of Saudi weapons purchases from the United States. The decade from 2000 to 2010 constitutes the most enormous military sale in history. Weapons valued at 100 billion dollars included F-15 bombers, Apache and Blackhawk helicopters, missile defense systems, bombs and armored vehicles.

To sum up, the Clintons will use political influence, money and connections to extend their dynasty for another tenure in the White House—Bill Clinton, the man from Hope, Arkansas, and Hillary Clinton who hopes to become the first woman president. Her record makes plain she does not deserve it.

Numerous observers argue the inspector general’s report shows that practically everything Clinton has said about her use of a private server is false.