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The Rise of Trump, a Conundrum of Democracy and an Essential Component of Leadership

An Analysis and Personal Perspective  

 
-Cynthia Marek Lundeen
 

In the wake of the intense interest in thefirst Republican presidential debate for the 2016 election season, many are seeking to explain why Donald Trump has rocketed to the top position and whether if he modifies his voice he will lose supporters whoappear to be drawn to his style of oratory.
Listening closely to the debate in the company of others at The City Club of Cleveland and reading the transcript afterwards, I suggest that first and foremost Mr. Trump’s supporters believe that he has the insight and ability to effectively lead the country and would not be off put by a modified tone as it is the substance of his positions which most attract his supporters.(N.B. As most people are aware, Mr. Trump’s oratorical style is controversial, a full discussion of which is beyond the scope of this article.)
Particularly important to U.S. citizens is the now widely heldview that passage of the Iraq Resolution of 2002was most unwise. During the debate, Mr. Trump pointed out that he early voiced his opposition to the use of force as he could see that it would act to destabilize the region.
Moreover, while many of those in Congress who voted to authorize the use of force will say that “everyone” thought that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq, in fact 29% of those in Congresshad the wisdom and insight to vote against the use of force. As we now know, the 29% of Congress who voted against the use of force were correct. While some degraded weapons were eventually identified, the suspected stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction have never been shown to be extant.
Herein lays the conundrum of our representative democracy: while the Congressional majority rules on certain matters, the majority is not always right.


Granted, the right decision might be more apparent in hindsight, yet the essence of leadership in part consists of possessing foresight.Surely we all make mistakes, and mistakes may range from the inconsequential to the highly consequential. As most people now believe that the destabilization of the Middle East has had enormous negative consequences, it is valid to consider the early positions of each candidate on this issue as a measure of foresight and leadership.
Inearly forming my opinion against the use of force I considered myself fortunate for what I had learned from my father, who had been anengineer for TRW, now a part of Northrop Grumman.My father had worked on projects as diverse as an early artificial heart for The Cleveland Clinic as well as military aerospace projects with necessary security clearance. He had long ago told me that all things require maintenance to avoid falling into disrepair.
This knowledge coupled with the fact that the United Nations had already located and destroyed much of Iraq’s weapons and equipment, and knowing something about human nature,it appeared to me that Saddam Hussein was likely embarrassed that any of his remaining weapons would by analogy be more akin to a jalopy up on cement blocks than a high powered Maserati sports car.
Of course, Saddam Hussein had committed horrendous acts against his own people, therefore when the decision was made by elected officials to invade Iraq, I endeavored to keep an open mind and waited to see what justification would be presented to the American people and what joint sacrifices would be suggested. I still have my parents’ ration book, ration coupons and ration tokens from WWII and while times have changed, I expected that some small sacrifice would be asked of the people in view of the enormous sacrifice that was being made by each and every person in military service. That no sacrifice was asked of the U.S. citizens further convinced me that the invasion of Iraq at that time was not the optimal decision.
As a U.S. citizen, I am still undecided as to how I will cast my vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and much can transpire between now and then.
However, in analyzing the rise of Donald Trump in the polls, it appears to me that it is his positions more than his oratorical style which attracts his supporters. Additionally, it appears to me that more than any other candidate, he conveys the sense of urgency needed to address the myriad of pressing issues facing us today.
A conundrum of democracy rests in the fact that only time can tell whether the majority of voters arrived at a wise or less than optimal decision on any given issue or in context with other issues. That so many people are paying attention to the debates is a tribute to the seriousness with which U.S. citizens are taking their responsibility to make their greatest effort to choose the best candidate for the issues and the times.
There are many factors beyond those discussed in this brief article which U.S. citizens will consider when casting their votes in 2016. I wish all of us the greatest foresight to in turn choose the candidate with the greatest foresight and abilities.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 

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