Imagine if Donald Trump had entered the 2016 presidential race as a Democrat. He could have; there is no law that would have prevented him from doing so.
He seems to be a natural Republican, and we’ll get to that momentarily. However, he does have a few characteristics that are more consistent with Democrats than Republicans. More accurately, he thinks that he has characteristics that are more common among Democrats. These include:
1. He claims that African-American really like him. If that were true, he would be a natural Democrat.
2. He claims that he really likes immigrants. In light of his statements about Mexicans at his candidacy announcement, that’s hard to believe. If he really liked immigrants and they liked him, then again, he would be more comfortable in the Democratic Party.
3. He claims that he really likes Hillary Clinton and she likes him. It’s true that he gave a considerable amount of money to her 2000 New York Senate run. Hillary was initially cautious in her 2015 remarks about The Donald, but not so anymore. But if they were good friends, then Trump might feel more at home in the Democratic Party.
4. With the exception of the Des Moines Register, Trump claims that he really likes the press. It is true that he has been much more accessible to the media over the past month than most or his opponents. While we would probably have to look back to find to the administrations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to find a Democratic president who really enjoyed the company of the press, most other Democrats have tolerated the press better than their Republican counterparts [see Richard Nixon].
5. Trump released a financial statement within weeks of announcing his candidacy. Compare that to the way the press and election authorities had to pull teeth to get Mitt Romney to release minimal information four years ago, Most Democrats are more forthcoming with financial disclosure, and in that regard The Donald is more like them than the party whose nomination he seeks.
6. Trump uses fewer platitudes than any other present candidate. He is indeed a straight-shooter. We may not like what he says; in fact we may find it very offensive, but to his credit, he doesn’t hide behind innocuous, platitudinous rhetoric like most Republicans. Yes, Democrats do that as well, particularly when they become president. However, they are generally more direct and honest than their Republican counterparts.
But then again, he has a number of Republican characteristics:
1. He does not seem to be terribly bright; he’s certainly no FDR, JFK, Bill Clinton, or Obama. His level of insight seems to be more like that of Dan Quayle, George W. Busch, and Sarah Palin. The Republican Party seems to be a good repository of people who lack critical thinking skills.
2. His speech is full of venom, hatred, and animosity, both toward groups and individuals. Democrats (at least progressive Democrats) tend to be more empathetic. Many Republican seems to have an unexplainable and visceral hatred towards many people that most reasonable people find hard to understand. Trump fits well in that crowd.
3. Trump’s primary goal in life has been to accumulate wealth. He is ostentatious to such an extent that he even bought his way to a national television show to flaunt his wealth. There have been wealthy Democrats such as FDR and JFK, but they were generally modest and discreet about their wealth.
4. Trump seems to be comfortable flaunting America’s military power. While Democrats, including Barack Obama, have used military options quite frequently, they seem to be more reluctant to do so than Republicans. Just ask Trump what he thinks about the Iran nuclear deal.
5. If we could see Donald Trump’s report card from kindergarten, it’s likely that he would have a checkmark by the item, “Does not play well with others.” We know now that he certainly does not play well with the other fifteen announced Republican candidates for president. The Republican leadership in Congress certainly does not play well with others; they stymie virtually every reasonable request that President Obama and Democrats in Congress have. Most Democrats have better social skills than Republicans, and in this regard, Trump fits right in with the GOP.
Trump might be described as a bloviating enigma. He indeed has certain characteristics that fit more in the Democratic Party, but because so much of what he says comes from lack of knowledge and an underlying sense of dislike towards others, he’s a much better fit for the Republican Party. In that regard, he got it right.