In the children’s fairy tale, a child finally shouts: “The emperor has no clothes.” But who will be the one today shouting out, loud and clear, as the modern emperor of real estate passes by, heading toward the White House?
With absolutely zero experience in public office or in the military or law enforcement, Donald Trump repeatedly proclaims boldly and brashly that he will manage the forcible eviction of 12 million men, women and children from American soil.
Does anyone actually believe that a population equivalent New York City and Los Angeles combined can be rounded up and transported far across the Mexican border? Does anyone accept that it will be done “humanely” (Donald Trump’s hollow promise)? Has anyone calculated the astronomical costs of paying a “deportation force” (his phrase) to chase illegal immigrants down, arrest them, fend off lawsuits, pay for injuries and hospitalizations? And which agency of government will quickly find 12,000,000 seats on buses, trains and planes that conveniently cross the border deep into the heart of Mexico?
Oh, and one more small detail:
What exactly does Mr. Trump plan to do about the 340 “sanctuaries” across the country that currently refuse to comply with the laws to deport illegal aliens? These jurisdictions (cities, counties, etc.) will become havens for millions of refugees (yes, refugees on our soil)? Will a newly trained and equipped government-funded “deportation force” hunt them down like criminals. Does the master marketer of casinos, ties and other merchandise plan to invade those 340 areas and force them to comply with his executive order?
Just imagine the headline: “Trump’s Army Invades San Francisco.”
A political and military take-over of the United States by its own government is not absolutely impossible. But no real general, whether David Petraeus or the late Dwight D. Eisenhower, would be foolish enough to undertake such an illegal and brutal assignment. A reality show star and wheeler-dealer real estate tycoon, whose hair could not survive a strong breeze, does not have even the slightest chance of executing this heinous threat. And anyone who pauses for a millisecond of reflection will agree with Governor Kasich and former Governor Jeb Bush that his plan is sheer lunacy.
Given the cost in manpower, money, time and attention of recapturing two escaped criminals from a prison in upstate New York, does our country want to make an investment a multi-million times greater to evict some of the hardest working, law-abiding, church-going members of American society? Do we want to launch a war on our own territory against our own neighbors? Do we want to witness a flood of refugees that will make the current migration in Europe seem like a mere trickle?
Even Mr. Trump’s supporters must be growing weary of his megalomaniacal approach to public policy. But the fact that this kind of magical thinking and hollow rhetoric has lasted this long proves once again the power of the big lie. If it’s repeated often enough, and brashly enough, lying works. You can still fool some of the people some of the time.
So let me commit the cardinal sin of a commentator: making a prediction.
I predict that, within 90 days, Mr. Trump will be discredited just as Joseph McCarthy was before him. His followers will quietly shift their allegiance to Bush, Kasich or Rubio. His former flock will say that they were just enjoying the entertainment but, of course, never took him seriously.
And what about Mr. Trump himself? He will slither off into the luxurious limelight of the ex-famous. Though still insulated form shame by his billions and his minions, he will blame the “liberal media” or the “Republican establishment” or some other convenient scapegoat. But his ignoble candidacy will paradoxically have served a noble purpose. He will have proved that democracy works and that, sooner or later, the people can tell the difference between a hero and a huckster.
Like his fair tale predecessor, Emperor Trump is, in fact, stark naked.
Mark Gerzon, President of Mediators Foundation, is the author of Leading Through Conflict: How Successful Leaders Transform Differences Into Opportunities.