Donald Trump hasn’t left who he was in Atlantic City, so it’s important for voters to think about his roots.
As the front page here says, politics is personal, which includes personal stories of political figures. During this election cycle, that means there has been and will be a fair amount of personal insults flying between at least Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Beyond the sound bites, and ad hominem attacks of the candidates themselves, there are thousands of everyday people out there who believe those comments because they have some personal experience related to the candidates.
In the case of Donald Trump, Mary E. Tyler has her own personal story about the man behind the candidate:
Growing up in New Jersey, a politically aware kid could hardly miss the headlong career of Donald J. Trump. He was bigger than life, always in the news, never for anything good. The youngest child in a conservative Republican household, my late father, a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, despised Donald J. Trump: “Rich Brat. Charlatan. Con man.” New Jerseyans had Trump’s measure 25 years ago.
As a fresh-out engineer, working federal storm aid, inspecting the water treatment plant in Atlantic City, one of the local engineers explained as we drove down the back side of the casinos how all the linens and commercial trash service in Atlantic City were “mobbed up.” You couldn’t do business in Atlantic City without being hand-in-glove with the mob. He said Donald J. Trump (who was running for office at the time) wasn’t any better than the trash in his dumpsters. Those pictures of Trump, taken with mobsters? Business as usual.
Trump’s racist rhetoric isn’t any surprise to anyone who knows his father’s KKK ties, or his history of housing violations, the testimony of his housing managers who say it’s on his personal wish to discriminate, or any of it. It’s not shocking, with such rhetoric, that some half of Trump supporters poll as virulent Racists, White Supremacists, Islamaphobes, Sexists, and Ablists. What’s shocking is that the other half, who are truly concerned about the direction of America, don’t seem to care about the company they keep. As long as they win, anything goes. As long as they gain power, and the ability to move their agenda forward, the vileness of the vessel doesn’t matter.
The hands which hold power matter.
While there are obviously very strong opinions offered there about Trump, they are based on local knowledge of the man. If anyone was wanting to make a decision about a candidate in an election based solely on character, the most likely sources of information would come from local people who actually dealt with the individual.
Normally, we would not step into this kind of content on any politician on this site. Trump is a special case, not because of any personal actions he has made, but because this has become a multi-generational situation. His father was featured in song by Woody Guthrie years ago, which was unearthed at the beginning of this year. The senior Trump was locally known for questionable real estate deals, and racism, in his social, political, and business dealings. If race relations were not a relevant issue this cycle, and if Donald Trump himself had not been making incendiary statements on race himself, perhaps this history wouldn’t matter.
Beyond anything else, Trump is an object lesson on understanding politicians, and more importantly, how their local roots can shape their current and future dealings in the public arena. If nothing else, hopefully people will think more about where people come from, how they have attained their current status, before casting their ballots.