Harry Truman was a Missouri farm boy without a college degree or knowledge of the world; John F. Kennedy was the pope’s puppet; Jimmy Carter was a peanut grower; Ronald Reagan was a second-class actor; and George W. Bush only got into Yale thanks to the clause that gives access to children of former students. At least, this was what their rivals said countless times, predicting disaster the minute these men assumed the presidency. And yet, America has survived all these tenants of the White House. Some, we should say, look good in the history books.
Xenophobic, misogynist, selfish, incoherent, unprepared and uneducated — all of this has been said about Donald Trump in the last months, and to an extent, it is right. Just think of all the nonsense he says. Still, he blew us away in the Republican presidential primaries, and some polls show that he might defeat Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8. What would it be like if the foul-mouthed magnate really succeeded Barack Obama?
It would be terrible, but probably not as bad as we hear. If you look at Trump’s past, xenophobia and racism don’t go hand-in-hand with a man who got married three times, twice with foreigners, or who was a great friend of Muhammad Ali. And do not expect a conservatism champion from a former Democrat who has identified with the liberal values of New York throughout his life.
Exaggerated criticism is common in American politics, where anything goes. Not long ago, someone reminded us that in the 1800 campaign, Thomas Jefferson stated that President John Adams was a hermaphrodite. And going back to the episodes referred to at the beginning of this article, after all, the young Truman fought in Europe and, as a president, he was capable of stopping World War II and standing up to Stalin; the Catholic Kennedy didn’t even restore diplomatic relations with the Vatican; Carter was a submarine engineer in the Army; Reagan made an important stopover as a governor of California on his pathway between Hollywood and the White House and, as a president, he gave the coup de grace to the Soviet Union; and Bush, Jr. left Yale to go to Harvard, where he got an MBA.
Anyway, slandered or not, as president, Trump would never have carte blanche. Congress would always be there to limit him, and so would the Supreme Court and an army of millions of civil servants, just like The New York Times reminded us. Since the risk is not worth it, it is a good thing that the polls are showing Hillary as the favorite again. I believe America will be far better served with Hillary as president, and so will the rest of the world.