By MARC McDONALD
A lot of progressives despise and fear Donald Trump. I don't. While Ted Cruz does creep me out (and frightens the hell out of me), there are actually some things I admire about Trump.
I mean, it took some big balls to stand on a GOP debate stage and repeatedly blast the decision to invade Iraq. We've been doing that at this blog for years. I've gotta tell ya, there's a certain sense of vindication when the GOP frontrunner is basically saying the same thing about Iraq that we've been saying since 2003.
There's a couple of other things that I'll admit I like about Trump. He won't touch Social Security or Medicare. That alone makes him totally unique among every Republican hopeful of the past three decades. For many years, it's been GOP Gospel that big government entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare need to be "reformed" and/or vastly shrunk. Once again, it took a lot of balls for The Donald to stand on a GOP debate stage and promise not to touch these programs.
Lastly, The Donald get a big kudo from me for his brave stance on trade. He recognizes that the so-called "free trade" policies of the past 30 years have been a disaster for America. Sanders has also spoken some about this, as well. But The Donald has really brought the issue Front and Center and I have to admire him for that. All the other GOP hopefuls are just serving up a big dose of "same ol, same old," but The Donald has, to his credit, brought the spotlight on very urgent issues that have been ignored for many years by both parties.
Taking a critical look at "free trade" is something you're never going to get from the bought-and-paid-for establishment candidates, whether they're GOP or Democratic. I personally think it's probably too late to even fix the "free trade" disaster (most highly advanced manufacturing left America years ago and it's not coming back)---but a nation has to start somewhere.
But don't get me wrong: a lot of The Donald's critics are also correct. The guy is a bigot and he does have a lot of stupid ideas.
And one of those stupid ideas is The Donald's proposal for a big wall along the Mexico border. Since he unveiled this proposal, I've long sensed that it didn't really make sense. But in the video above, the great John Oliver breaks it down, specifically how bonkers this idea really is. The bottom line is that the wall will be hugely costly and it'll create a huge number of problems and it simply won't work. If you doubt that, then watch the video above.
The ironic thing is that I've talked to a number of Trump supporters and the only things they really seem to know about his campaign is his promise to build the wall and to bar Muslims from entering the U.S. Every Trump supporter I've talked to actually still believes the Iraq War was a good idea and they have no problem with slashing Social Security and Medicare (along with all government programs, bar the Military Industrial Complex). I sometimes wonder if they even really understand, or comprehend The Donald's position on a lot of issues. Frankly, the guy IS pretty liberal on a lot of issues, (just as his critics allege). It's interested (and sad) that his most bone-headed ideas are the very ones that have attracted a lot of his supporters.