"Ronald Reagan is another example. He is so smooth and so effective as a performer that he completely won over the American people. Only now, nearly seven years later, are people beginning to question whether there's anything beneath that smile." The author of this quote is Donald Trump. It can be found in his book: The Art of the Deal.
To understand Mr. Trump, one must read The Art of the Deal and then track Mr. Trump's personal life through Wikipedia.
As is often the case in politics, someone can burst onto the political stage overnight. New brands can present opportunities in achieving the goal of being elected. New brands, once vetted, can also be very difficult to elect. Think: Herman Cain.
What does one find out from The Art of the Deal?
The Art of the Deal is not a political book. Essentially, the book tells the story of how Mr. Trump managed to build his empire. The overall theme is that Mr. Trump believes he is very smart and believes he is very ethical.
At least three major political concerns are disclosed in the book and the fourth, his personal life is easily found on the web.
The quote that begins this piece is a nightmare. If Mr. Trump cannot demonstrate that the convictions of President Reagan are the philosophy of Mr. Trump, the intellectual and conservative wing of the Republican Party will stay home. His refusal to promise to support any Republican nominee for President against a likely highly progressive Democrat perhaps validates his lack of Republican credentials. It is a shame that the Fox moderators did not specifically ask him which individuals at his debate he could not support based on what he knows today.
Mr. Trump explains at length how he negotiated tens of millions of dollars of tax breaks for himself from the City of New York and effectively has increased his personal profits by like amounts. Property tax breaks for both business and the rich are not easily explained away during a presidential campaign and particularly so if the tax breaks continue for the candidate.
Mr. Trump explains how he structured transactions so that if they were not successful, others, not Mr. Trump, would suffer the economic consequences. Four of his Atlantic City casinos went into bankruptcy after he authored his book and those losses were left at the doorstep not of Mr. Trump, but quite possibly in the investment accounts of pensions of American workers. Forbes reported back in 2011: "First things first: Donald Trump has filed for corporate bankruptcy four times, in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009." We will leave the details to Forbes at http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2011/04/29/fourth-times-a-charm-how-donald-trump-made-bankruptcy-work-for-him/.
And then there are Ivana, Marla, & Melania
Where will Republican voters be with respect to Mr. Trump's personal life? This may be a huge problem. In his book, Mr. Trump gives great credit to wife number one, Ivana, for managing businesses and participating in his accumulation of wealth. After the book was written, his world changed. The old joke: "I owe my success to my first wife and my second wife to my success will not play well in many voting groups. "
Three wives is a problem. The fact that numbers two and three, both models, effectively met the French maxim of half the age of the new husband plus seven will be a problem in garnering the women's vote. Everything to do with the divorce from Ivana and the marriage of Marla Maples will also be a problem with the women's vote.
Bottom Line: Mr. Trump would be a very vulnerable candidate. Bravado only goes so far.