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Brian Baker: The Donald is the right’s Hillary

Posted: August 13, 2015 4:14 p.m.
Updated: August 14, 2015 2:00 a.m.
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The critics use terms such as “demagogic ideologue” with “no specific policy proposals,” while the cheerleaders say things like “savior of the country” and “America’s best hope.”

Name that candidate.

Yes, that’s right. As painful as it is to write, and maybe even more painful to read, I’ve come to the conclusion that all the rabid hysteria in support of Donald Trump reminds me of nothing so much as the same kind of rabid hysterical support Clinton gets from those on the left.

In both cases, the candidates’ supporters have to convince themselves that their candidate’s history is irrelevant.

In Clinton’s case, that history is a boatload of scandals, improprieties, and corruption.

In Trump’s case, it’s a checkered past of being literally all over the map on political issues, being a big monetary supporter of the “other” party, being a member of several parties other than the GOP, and always serving his own self-interest first and foremost, before any other consideration (in that respect being very Clintonian).

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been in many political discussions about the Trump phenomenon, and I have to say I was very surprised by the pushback I got from several Web friends whom I normally consider to be very reliable conservatives.

I’ve pointed out many of Trump’s flaws as a candidate, including his many character failings. Yet many of these people, whom I generally consider to be very level-headed, were willing to simply ignore all of this because they’d either fallen under his spell or convinced themselves that his basic character — his nature — didn’t matter in this instance.

I remember the 1996 election cycle in which Bill Clinton ran for a second term, and how that was the first time in the modern political era that “character” became a notable issue.

Since that time, it’s one the GOP and conservatives raise regularly in criticizing their opponents. But somehow this time, in the case of Trump, they’re more than willing to ignore that very same quality when the question is directed at the Republican candidate while at the same time using it to disparage Hillary Clinton.

What is one to make of this ... inconsistency?

Here’s my assessment of their characters: Both are egotistical megalomaniacs with a strong sense of entitlement; both are populist ideologues — he allegedly on the right, she clearly on the left — who are long on populist rhetoric and short on policy specifics.

Both have histories of political expediency to advance their own self-interests; both have improperly exercised their personal power — at the clear expense of others and with utter disregard for the consequences to others, merely to further their personal positions and ambitions.

Both are cynical manipulators; both have flip-flopped on their professed positions on policy issues; and neither one is trustworthy.

According to reliable polling data (http://www.quinnipiac.edu/images/polling/us/us07302015_U645de.pdf), each of them enjoys broad support from their respective ends of the political spectrum, but that support is undermined by their low ratings for honesty, like-ability and trustworthiness. In other words, a mile wide and an inch deep.

Trump is the right’s Hillary.

That’s my assessment of their characters, my opinion. Now if you’re a Trump supporter, look deeply into your own heart of hearts and ask yourself these questions: Am I wrong? Do you trust Trump? Is he someone you’d have over to your home for dinner?

And if the answers to those questions are “no”, then how are you any different from a Clintonista?

If next November’s election night rolls around and we’re looking at that pair as our choice, this country is well and truly up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

Brian Baker is a Saugus resident.

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