In recent months, there have been a lot of reports and speculation as to whether or not New York real estate mogul Donald Trump will make a bid to run for the presidency of the United States in the upcoming 2012 election season.
Mr. Trump has been in the news recently less so because of his political views and ideas on how this country can extricate itself from the quagmire of high unemployment, high government spending, and high deficits and moreso due to his attention-getting statements regarding President Obama. Chief among these statements has been Mr. Trump's growing insistence that the so-called "birther" issue, which purports that the president was born in Kenya rather than in Hawaii, might have more validity to it than merely being the product of a disenfranchised fringe group.
It is understandable why the various media outlets would gravitate toward these statements in their assessments of Mr. Trump as a viable candidate for public office – it sells. In New York, Mr. Trump's hometown, the daily tabloids that he reportedly reads regularly – The New York Daily News and The New York Post – have had numerous rather unflattering articles about him in recent weeks. Mr. Trump – always a risk taker – has put himself out there on the ledge with the birther issue, and the media has wasted no time in ridiculing him for it.
However, as far as the voters are concerned, this might not be the best thing for them. While it may be fun to join in on the sport of Trump-bashing, the fact is that the country's economy and position in the world is still in trouble, and right now it would serve our needs better as a people if we were to shut out all the gossipy white noise and hear from all the potential political candidates about what they would do to fix this country. If Mr. Trump is the wrong candidate, let him be declared the wrong candidate based on his positions on the issues that are of paramount importance to the voters at this time rather than be dismissed because the press has been myopically focusing on the controversial birther issue. The way the media coverage has been weighted, if Mr. Trump should be proven to be incorrect about President Obama's birthplace, it would likely deal a devastating and unrecoverable blow to any presidential aspirations that Mr. Trump may have had. But what if Mr. Trump is the right candidate? We would have done ourselves an incredible disservice because we did not listen to his entire political platform so that we could have made an informed decision.
It is still too early to write Mr. Trump off as a candidate. Indeed, in the interviews he's given, we've only heard the barest of talking points regarding what he feels is wrong with the country and what his solutions are to repair the damage done to our country's economic prowess. We need to hear more from him. As American citizens who are facing what is likely the most crucial presidential election of the last twenty years, we deserve to hear more.
In various interviews, Mr. Trump has made many intriguing statements regarding the state of the country, our struggling economy, our too-high unemployment rate, our competitiveness in the global marketplace, the outsourcing of jobs to China, the free military assistance we provide many countries with around the world, and so on.
However, the restrictive format of television, in which everything has to be rushed along to the next commercial break, has given Mr. Trump little opportunity to expound on these issues and fully state his case to the American people.
Politics has always been somewhat of a spectator sport, but at this crucial point in our country's history, we would be best served by setting aside the impulse to create spectacle and instead focus with razor-sharp acuity on the ideas proposed by any potential candidate so that we select the best president for the next four years. The challenges that this country faces will only intensify if we fail to do so.