It’s not hard to understand why one third of Republican voters are passionately in favor of a Trump presidency. I will discuss those reasons in a moment.
But as we head toward the finish line in choosing nominees for both the Republican and Democratic Parties, I want to lay out the fatal weakness of Donald J. Trump.
It may surprise you.
I want to be fair about Mr. Trump and discuss why millions of Americans are voting for him. That’s easy to discern after nine months of campaigning
People are fed up with the self-serving and wimpy politicians in Washington, D.C. who are not looking out them. They are scared about the ramifications of liberal/progressive policies that are destroying faith in the marketplace, family values, the economy and national security.
Voters like Trump because he speaks their language about issues that they care about. They don’t mind the brashness and swagger because there’s a lot of angst out there.
For example, Americans are sympathetic to immigration–we are an immigrant nation. But many citizens now realize that both parties have created an open border in the United States–Republicans for cheap labor and Democrats for cheap votes–that is flooding the nation with drugs, criminals and millions of people competing for jobs.
This situation has been exasperated by the Obama administration’s executive orders, lax border security, support for sanctuary cities, unwillingness to deport or lock up illegal felons (think the murder of Kate Steinle), and pushing for driver’s licenses, voting rights, and welfare benefits for illegals.
When Donald Trump bellows “We’re gonna build a wall!” then millions of Yankees say “Yes!”–especially while watching Europe be overrun with immigrants, some of whom are strapping bombs to their mid-section and slaughtering innocent people.
There are other reasons many people love Trump. President Obama can’t seem to stomach stating the obvious about “Islamic terrorists.” He pulled our troops out of Iraq after the Surge had rescued the nation, and left an empty void that ISIS now fills. Libya is in chaos, Syria is hanging by a thread, the Iranians have been given back $100 billion dollars to fund jihad and are building nuclear weapons, and the Democrats don’t seem to care that they are laying the groundwork for World War III.
So when Trump says we should stop all Muslim immigration until we figure out what’s going on, millions of heads nod as they watch body parts fly in Europe and the Middle East.
More recently Trump has been speaking out against the loss of manufacturing jobs. A case in point was the recent decision by Carrier to close their plant in the Mid-West and re-locate it in Mexico–causing the loss of hundreds of jobs. Many Americans believe we are shipping jobs overseas due to bad government policies.
I don’t think they’re right. Rather, free trade means we need to “switch” to what we can do better and cheaper than others. Actually, due to the dropping of trade barriers, more foreign business jobs have come to American than have left. But the “Rust Belt” is still littered with broken dreams of people feeling the pain.
So when Trump says he’ll slap tariffs of the Chinese, negotiate better deals, and “bring jobs back to America,” many hurting people applaud.
Let’s also be clear about other Trump strengths. In our celebrity-obsessed culture, Donald Trump fits the bill as an American icon:
- Money – he was given millions and has made billions. He says that becoming president and riding on Air Force One will be a “step down” because “Trump Force One” is far more lavish–even containing with gold seat-belts.
- Entertainment – He came into the public eye through “The Apprentice” program and his famous firing of those who didn’t fit the bill. That gig made him a TV star.
- Sex Life – he changes wives about every ten years, and because of his many immoral flings and debauched lifestyle, he considers avoiding venereal diseases his “personal Viet Nam.”
I’ve wondered for a long time how Christian leaders can support the moral life of Donald Trump. I was stunned when I watched a group of Christian/conservatives talk about Melanie Trump’s nude photos taken fifteen years ago. They gawked at her beauty, the professionalism of the photo shoot, and what a good mom she is.
She may be a good mom. But the photos were sleazy and intended for one purpose: to stimulate lust in men’s minds. Why does Donald Trump’s family morality get a pass–even from Christian leaders?
To summarize, the phenomenon of Donald Trump’s political rise is rooted in his celebrity-icon status, plain blunt talk, focus on issues dear to the hurting lower and middle classes, and the increasing secular attitudes of Americans.
He is not a professorial narcissist like Barack Obama. He is a celebrity narcissist to a nation in the process of rejecting the Golden Rule for “what’s in it for me?” That message resonates and is highly seductive.
Virginia Hume describes the power of Trump’s seduction:
“If you have ever been truly seduced, you know. You’ll excuse anything your seducer says, the very things you would have always found repellent. Experts who study sociopaths and cult leaders know this.”
“When we’re seduced we grow emotional, lose the ability to think straight, act in foolish ways that we would never do otherwise. We are more pliable and easily misled. For all practical purposes, a seduced person is a crazy person.”
“If you’ve never been in the thrall of a seducer or a narcissist, maybe you still can’t relate. Well, travel back a little farther, to high school, or even grade school. Remember that popular kid? The seductively popular, charismatic one, the one who might have, say, casually mocked a disabled classmate?”
“Remember when you laughed?”
Welcome to the cult of Trump. Which brings us to Donald Trump’s fatal weakness.
We have mentioned the strengths that have propelled him to the top of the Republican nominating ladder. There are many weaknesses that I could also mention including his high unfavorable ratings. lack of political organization compared to Ted Cruz, and his rude and childish behavior on Twitter etc.
But one, more than others, will be fatal to Trump the candidate, president, and human being.
In the past nine months, the most revealing statement I have heard Donald Trump utter took place on July 19, 2015 in Ames, Iowa during an interview with pollster Frank Luntz.
Here’s what the Donald said:
“I am not sure that I have ever asked God for forgiveness. I just go on and try to do a better job from there…If I do something wrong, I think I just try to make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”
I almost dropped my drink when I heard his words. He doesn’t ask God’s forgiveness? He never apologizes or asks other people for forgiveness? (That also came out in the interview.)
A vital human trait for all human beings is humility–the willingness to be honest about ourselves and admit sin or error. It’s how we cleanse our hearts; How we keep a clear conscience before God and people; How we heal broken relationships. It’s how we learn, grow, become more like our Creator.
This morning I got an e-mail from a student. She pointed out that some words in her course syllabus were confusing, contradictory. I looked at it, realized I’d made a boo-boo, and e-mailed her: “Sorry, Stephanie. That was my fault. I’ll correct it. Thanks for pointing it out.”
Primary to that little communication, I’d had my morning devotional time, which included asking God to forgive a careless attitude from the day before. On Sunday our pastor gave a great sermon on the keys to an effective prayer life. One of the points was “Confession.”
I can also remember many times tearfully confessing my faults and sins to God, my wife, and others. Most weeks I say I’m sorry for something, either in thought, word or deed. As Mother Basilea Schlink wisely taught: “Repentance is the joy-filled life!”
Donald Trump’s failure to have any degree of humility over his failures is his Achilles’ Heel–his fatal flaw. It may cost him the Republican nomination because of his inability to pivot, change, even reconcile the splintered Republican Party to himself.
If he becomes president, it dooms him to make incredible mistakes that could set off nuclear wars, destroy international relations, splinter the American nation.
And when he dies, it will separate him from God. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Sin is our first flaw. Unwillingness to confess and repent is the second.
“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper. But he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
Pray for Donald Trump’s fatal weakness.
And don’t make the same mistake yourself.