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Is Candidate Trump for Real?

Donald Trump is running for President. His catchphrase is "Make America great again." When fellow candidate Ted Cruz used that phrase in a speech back in March, Trump responded by making vague threats about copyright infringement. But the reality is, you can't copyright a phrase, even if you're Donald Trump.

And it's not just in the matter of copyright law that Trump is at odds with reality. Trump boasts of foreign policy experience, based on the night in 2009 when he inadvertently rented some land to Moammar Gadhafi when the Libyan leader was visiting the United States. Gadhafi planned to erect a tent on the grounds for overnight lodging, but after city leaders complained, Trump pressured Gadhafi to take the tent down and find another place to sleep.

Trump's takeaway is, this is how foreign leaders should be treated.

I rented him a piece of land. He paid me more for one night than the land was worth for two years, and then I didn't let him use the land. That's what we should be doing. I don't want to use the word 'screwed', but I screwed him.

I don't want to use the word "bully", but Trump is a bully.

And this is absolutely the way he intends to deal with other countries. In 2011 Trump argued that, rather than pull out of Iraq, the U. S. should "stay and keep the oil." To improve relations with Mexico, Trump would build a wall along the border and demand Mexico pay for it.

These are the type of threats you would expect from a petty dictator such as Gadhafi, or maybe a talk radio host. They're not the sort of things that any rational person would consider a good idea, and certainly not the actions of a nation that wants to continue to be seen as a global leader. Rather than making America great again, a Trump presidency would ruin our standing among our trade partners.

Then why is he leading the polls? There are several potential explanations, but it may simply be a matter of name recognition. In a field with nearly 20 major candidates, no individual is going to stand out this early unless they already have some notoriety. While the other candidates are busy trotting out ever more outrageous statements in an attempt to achieve that level of notoriety, Trump has already circled that block and started his second lap.

What's more, with support spread among so many candidates, it doesn't take much to top the polls. Trump has the support of 20% of Republicans, or about 8% of the voting population. If he wants to win the election, he still needs to convince 43% of the American public he's the best candidate. And yet, as someone who has been in the public eye for so long, Trump would not have an easy time adopting a new public persona even if he wanted to. Like other amateurs before him, Trump may speak for one disgruntled segment of the population, but he hasn't demonstrated he has the temperament to lead a nation. His current 8% support is probably his high-water mark for the entire campaign. By the time the primaries roll around, his candidacy will be nothing more than a memory.

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