The moral vacuum within Donald Trump: a campaign speech by . . .

Trump flag
Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder via Washington Post

I challenge each of the remaining candidates for president. Do you have the courage to make this speech and save America from Donald Trump?

My fellow Americans, today’s speech is not about me. It is about you.

I speak to you today about the greatest threat to America’s future. It’s not ISIS. It’s not gun violence or drugs. It is Donald Trump.

The reason is simple. Unlike every other candidate in this race — and unlike the committed people that make up our government — Donald Trump has only an empty hole where his conscience should be.

Americans — and their politicians — argue about everything. We disagree on budgetary priorities, the military, and social issues. We fight political battles about them. But we fight these battles because we believe in something. Donald Trump believes in nothing but himself. My colleagues, my opponents, and I are willing to fight for our ideology and win — or lose — based on how well we touch the heart of America with our ideas. But while we disagree on many things, there is one thing we can all agree on. We must all stand together to stop a man who is devoid of ideology or ideas — a man who seeks only power.

Let me explain two things. First, why I believe Donald Trump is morally bankrupt. And second, why it would be a disaster to put such a person in a position of power.

Donald Trump’s moral emptiness

Consider what Trump lacks.

A serious candidate has advisors. The candidate knows that they cannot know everything about the economy, about diplomacy, or the military. Despite his promise to get “the best people” to help him, Trump has no advisors.

A serious candidate argues about ideas and character. Trump doesn’t argue from logic, he insults people. Calling people “low-energy,” “liar,” “pussy,” and of course, “loser,” demonstrates that Trump has the soul of a bully. Bullies don’t care about ideas, they care only about winning.

A serious candidate has a consistent ideology and a position on the issues. Look, all candidates pander to a degree, emphasizing the elements of their positions that are most appealing at the moment. But Trump has no actual position — he flip-flops constantly. He vows to end Obamacare but speaks in support of the insurance mandate that drives it. He was ready to accept Syrian refugees, before he decided to block all Muslims from entering the country. He said he would defund Planned Parenthood, and then changed his mind. There is no central idea driving Trump’s candidacy — it’s all pandering.

A serious candidate cites facts to back up his claims. Trump continually makes up facts; for him, the truth is fungible. According to the nonpartisan site Politifact, most of what he claims is false.

A serious candidate respects America. Trump is the only candidate who insults Muslims, Hispanics, gay people, disabled people, women, and anyone else who does not fit his definition of mainstream white America. Trump has no interest in being president of all of America.

Finally, a serious candidate deals with, recovers from, and learns from failure. Donald Trump walked away from his casino failures. He shut down his failed Trump University, an entity built completely on false promises.

Why does it matter? Trump has connected with a deep strain of anger in America. I know you are angry, and I know you want someone to acknowledge that anger and fight for you. So why not Trump? Sure, he’s a bully. Why not have that bully working for you in the White House?

President Trump would destroy our country

Consider what it would be like to have a president with a vacuum where his morals should be.

When you vote for a president with a moral position, you know what you are getting. When the unexpected happens — and that’s every day in the office of the president — you know how that leader will think. President Trump, lacking a moral compass, could do anything.

Presidents must negotiate with hostile forces. When the election is over, there will be Democrats and Republicans in the Congress. There will be world leaders who disagree with us. There will be central bankers who act independently of the president. The president is not a dictator; he or she must negotiate with these parties, world leaders, and elements of the government. Insults are not a strategy for succeeding in this complex world. Insulting the Senate majority leader, the president of China, or the chair of the Federal Reserve Bank will get us nowhere.

Presidents cannot act precipitously, from passion. They control the nuclear launch codes. They command the FBI and the military. They must fight setbacks from the courts. These actions require judgment, not wisecracks. Without a moral center, a president has no judgment we can trust.

Finally, and most importantly, a president must pursue thoughtful strategy. Doing what might feel right, right now — bombing civilians along with ISIS fighters in Syria, demonizing welfare recipients, adding backdoors to weaken encryption — these action have long-term consequences. The recent history of America is filled with short-term decisions that were disastrous in the long-term. We need a thoughtful president. Donald Trump is as far from thoughtful as you can get.

Listen to me, America. All of the candidates now running for president, except one, have a moral center. I fervently disagree with my opponents, both in my party and in the other one. I believe my ideas, my solutions, and my judgment are superior to the other candidates. You should vote for me. But if you disagree with me on these ideas, you have other choices. You should vote for someone else whose conscience matches your own.

But please, for the sake of America and its future, do not vote for someone who has no conscience. Do not vote for Donald Trump. Thank you.

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  1. If what you say about Trump’s missing conscience is true, then why are so many Americans attracted to such a candidate? Do we, too, lack a conscience? What does it say about us as a people when so many of us are identifying with a brazen bully?

    1. “A serious candidate ….”
      Is it possible those who vote for Trump do not take him seriously and are possibly even disgusted by him? Many are frustrated with the machine and perhaps supporters believe he is the wrench needed to smash works so severely so as to force change. But – my comment only serves to placate the fear of my neighbor I would have otherwise. It is not the guy who bites the head off a chicken that scares me, it is all the people who pay a nickel to see it. And – if I am correct, it matters not, because our system protects itself against an idiot like Trump, even if he makes it to the White House. He will be no supporter’s political pinch.

    2. I live in South Africa and have been following the election for the last few months. And yes, that is exactly what it looks like: the Trump supporters are mainly white, have no conscience, are angry and wants to “take back” what they regard as “theirs”. And they will hurt, insult and degrade anyone who stands in their way. Just like the ill-informed, angry person with no feelings for others, but himself, that you are supporting. Can’t you even see through him and that he is just using you to get what HE wants?? HE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU!
      Outside of the USA, your country is just regarded as bullies who want to control the world for their own benefit and who only cares about what is happening in the USA. To you, no-one and nothing else matters in the world outside of the USA. And people like Trump is exactly the reason for that. It is really sad and it makes you a bunchof really sad, pathetic people by voting for Trump…

      1. Thank you for your comment about America. Could we further talk about how other countries view us. Do you agree we need a moral president? I do? Let’s talk more please

  2. Terrific comprehensive post. I sent it to all my liberal friends. The rest are so anti-Hillary that they won’t listen to reason.

  3. Trump’s message is not that different from Sanders. A Sanders, Trump Venn diagram would overlap considerably. A large majority of the population has finally realized that they have been screwed by the Republicans and Democrats over the past 40 years. The penny dropped with the bailout of Wall Street using peoples taxes and that their children are going to be worse-off than them. Obama understands this but has been helpless because of Republican intransigence.

    It is possible that by the time of the election an establishment figure is elected such as Clinton or Cruz/Rubio but neither of them are going to address the fundamental and growing inequality that is baked into the governing system. At some point in time the people will revolt and there are many historical examples of this across different civilizations. It would be complacent to believe that it could not happen in the USA because people are a lot more informed than they were 40 years ago. Whether the information comes from the left or right, the supporters of Sanders and Trump know the cards are stacked against them because each has personal evidence accumulated over 40 years.

  4. You seriously want me to believe that Hillary Clinton had a moral centre and isn’t pursuing power for its own sake. Get a grip. You have no understanding of what is driving Trump’s support and this garbage just feeds into the discontent many Americans feel about their elected leaders.
    Stick to analysing other people’s BS instead of sprouting it yourself.