I concluded my post last week with the following definition of what I mean by career citizen: credible people with real track records of merit-based success outside of politics." I added, "When it comes time to decide between candidates, we need to favor challengers over incumbents. We need to look closely for behavior-based evidence of character and selflessness. Character and selflessness in this context are measured by the demonstrated willingness to make the good of a business or other non-political organization a higher priority than one's personal interests. Claims of religiosity or political affiliation are not evidence of character. Such claims are cheap and often counterfeit. For me, the candidate who gets my vote is the non-incumbent with a record of serving others who offers the best answer to the question: "what is the most important view you hold that runs against the popular opinion of your party, and what are your reasons for holding that view?" It is clear to me why Donald Trump doesn't measure up to that standard: he has a record of serving himself at the expense of others. That makes him what I call a career politician, even though he has never served as an elected public official.
Trump leads other Republicans in the polls because he has money and says outlandish things. He does not have a record of merit-based success outside of politics. He inherited a fortune from his father, and leveraged that fortune into a huge bankruptcy that essentially came down to a massive 9-figure bailout of Donald Trump. We all know what a bankruptcy means, right? You can no longer meet your financial obligations to your creditors, so you and they agree to some form of settlement. Trump took goods and services from people for which he ultimately did not pay. Some big banks came in and bailed him out by agreeing to a settlement. So, in my book, his financial "success" has little or nothing to do with merit. It doesn't help, either, that he secured for himself a medical exemption from the draft during the Vietnam War. That hardly qualifies him to be Commander-in-Chief or to comment on the record of people who did serve, at great cost to themselves. What I see in Trump's record is someone who has made his way in life by ensuring that he always had the best deal for himself while others did his dirty work for him. That's what I call a career politician--a professional self servant--even though he's never held a public office. The sooner the Republican party gets past its infatuation with Donald Trump, the better off we will all be.