If you mention Trump's total lack of qualifications for the presidency and especially the existential threat Trump poses to American democracy, a typical rank-and-file derangement suffering Trump supporter will pivot to Hillary Clinton's various mistakes and alleged lies. There's Benghazi, of course, and there's her vote in support of George W. Bush's Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq -- incidentally, Trump's running-mate Mike Pence also voted for it. There's the email server scandal and the unproven allegations that the DNC "rigged" the 2016 primary debates in her favor. There's also something about her record as Secretary of State being unremarkable.
What none of them can say, however, is that Hillary Clinton is out of her depth. Because she's not. It's difficult to point to another well-known politician with as much hands-on experience within the Executive Branch as Hillary. Therefore, at the very least, it's fair to say Hillary will at least be a well-informed president, and a president who knows what to do within the system when something harrowing goes down.
You can't say this about Trump. It's not just that Trump is a political "outsider." He wouldn't be the first outsider to successfully organize the White House. President Eisenhower never held elected office, but he was well aware of how the system works and as the supreme allied commander during World War II, he was highly political and understood decorum, rationality and compromise. Trump, on the other hand, is both an outsider and he appears to be completely disinterested in the basics of how government functions.
The following quote will likely get buried under the tsunami of mayhem bursting forth from the Trump campaign this week, but it's actually far more important than Trump expelling a crying infant from his rally on Tuesday or whichever GOP member of Congress renounced his support for Trump today.
During an interview on the Fox Business Network, Trump described his plan for upgrading our roads and bridges, describing how he'd have "a fund" for doing so. "A fund."
“We have bridges that are falling down,” he said. “We have many, many bridges that are in danger of falling.”
Asked where the money is going to come from, Mr. Trump said: “We’re going to have to go out with a fund, we’ll get a fund. We’ll make a phenomenal deal with a low interest rate. And we’re going to have to rebuild our infrastructure. We have no choice.”
Asked who would put money into the fund, he said: “People. Investors. People would put money into the fund.”
“The citizens would put money into the fund, and we will rebuild our infrastructure with that fund and it’ll be a great investment, and it’s going to put a lot of people to work,” he said.
Hmm. Citizens pooling their money into an entity that would subsequently use the revenue to build something else. Sounds like government taxation and spending to me. But it's not that, apparently. It's a fund. Whatever the hell that means. Does Trump believe there's a structure in place for the president to create a random "fund," or does he plan to launch a new means of raising federal revenue, spending the money on various government works projects?
If it's the latter, what's the point of circumventing the constitutionally-established system whereby Congress, specifically the House of Representatives, passes spending bills supported or opposed by the president, and the president either signs or vetoes those bills? (There's a cartoon about this, Mr. Trump.)
There's also the Highway Trust Fund, but it's completely inadequate to cover the cost of doing what he wants to do, as well as what's needed now. And such an entity would have to be launched by an act of Congress.
Yeah, I know. I'm overthinking what Trump said. The truth is, he doesn't know how the system works and therefore believes that the White House can just sidestep Congress and raise new revenue on its own. This, of course, brings up another issue: if it's Trump's fund, who will provide oversight to make sure subcontractors are paid and projects are completed on time? He kind of has a record of defrauding subcontractors and bailing out after he's milked the process to death. Will the Department of Transportation be involved? Will the project be privatized through the Trump Organization? And what's he talking about with regard to acquiring a "low interest rate?"
Trump himself doesn't know because he made it up as as spoke. "We'll get a fund," he said, as if people above the level of "PTA classroom parent" say things like this. He might as well have declared that he'll make new laws by forming a group. A group of people representing each state who will be paid to come up with laws. He'll get a tremendous deal for this group and they'll make laws that people want. Believe me. Screw Article I.
The breathtakingly scary thing is that millions of people will respond in robotic unison: Trump's group is making America great again. Believe him.
For a moment, let's concede that Trump and Hillary are even when it comes to the issues, and they're more or less the same when it comes to lying and personal scandals. They're not, but for the sake of argument, let's go with that. So, then, what's left? Qualifications and knowledge. Hillary is objectively loaded with both. Trump, though, is an empty suit who might just be suffering from a nervous breakdown or an unknown species of brain worms. On top of everything else, Trump's presidential grabassery would exile the GOP into the political wilderness, and that's after a long series of horrible deeds and missteps, some of which could involve nuclear weapons.
Trump, who inexplicably says he knows words, will "get a fund," circumventing Congress and possibly other established agencies tasked with infrastructure. What else will he abandon for the sake of ideas he made up for lack of knowing anything? We don't know, and even his most activated supporters should be terrified by his casual ignorance.