Maybe I am wrong about Donald Trump. Maybe the neoconservatives in Washington are correct in working stalwart against his nomination, even to the point of encouraging the theft of delegates. Maybe Trump really is a clown who has no chance in November.
(Trump burns the mortgage after saving the Hill family farm, Christmas 1986.)
The possibility that I am wrong is always out there, lurking in space like a troll waiting to pounce on a misspelling, or worse, a factual error. So how does one know if the meteor of being wrong on an epic scale is about to crash in on one's house?
The place to begin is with what I like about him.
1. Trump is a successful businessman worth $10 billion. He took his family's business from the Queens to Manhattan and the world. The Trump Organization is a worldwide real estate and resort business with 22,450 employees. Not bad for a man who began with a $40 million stake in 1974.
But what about the rumor that he could have done better if he invested in an S and P stock index fund in 1974? This disturbed me so I checked it out. I found this a hoax created by Mother Jones and repeated by Never Trump writers who apparently never question anything written about Trump that confirms their opinion that he is a buffoon. To make to work you have to understate his net worth by 71 percent and have him live on pork and beans for 40 years rather than a lavish penthouse apartment with a jet, a helicopter, and two ex-wives to support.
"Of all the criticisms you could lob at Trump, this is a weirdly weak one. Basically, the man took a $40 million kernel and, while spending lavishly enough to surround himself with all the gold-plated bathroom fixtures his heart desired, managed to do a 26 percent better job growing his fortune than if he had quietly left it to grow in stocks without selling a single share or spending a single dividend check for 41 years. I'd say that's pretty good. How many actual money managers could brag they'd done the same with their clients' cash?" Jordan Weissmann, Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent, wrote.
Oh, and the first stock index fund began in 1975, a year after Trump was supposed to make this imaginary investment in 1974. This would have made the $40 million worth $2.9 billion. His net worth is $10 billion.
But what about the bankruptcies? Four times he went to bankruptcy court for protection from creditors to avoid bankruptcy.
Avoid. He avoided bankruptcy. So that's another myth.
2. Trump has actually accomplished something in life. Everyone else had given up on Manhattan. He came in from Queens, bought seedy properties cheap, and began making New York, well, New York again. His first project was the Commodore Hotel whose once tony shops by 1980 included X-rated stores. Yes, he made a lot of money, but he had a lot of fun and he did a public good. America needs a vibrant Manhattan, if only to ease the pressure of those of us in Poca, West Virginia, to be more cosmopolitan.
3. Trump is a good family man. While he credits his first wife for raising their three children, all three of them support him and are working toward his election. His fourth child by his second wife is in college and seems squared away. His youngest child by his third wife is by all accounts growing into another handsome Trump man.
Three wives? It bothered me with Newt but for some strange reason, it does not bother me with Trump.
OK, the reason is not strange at all.
Ivana vouches for him and his latest wife. His past affairs? As long as he does not commit perjury, or thump the Bible while he humps the staff, I really do not care. It is between him and God.
4. Trump is fearless. He says what he thinks and often that is what I think. They call him racist, misogynist, et cetera. Too damned bad.
He is not a real conservative? Well neither was Romney or McCain and frankly neither is the House or the Senate. Conservatives -- particularly Christians -- get played often and a lot. You cannot say abortion is murder and then tell me it is wrong to punish the woman.
He will cost "us" the Senate and the House? Meh. They are run by greedy little weasels these days. I like how Republicans dumped Newt and Livingston as speakers over affairs in favor of Hassert, who turned out to be not only ineffectual but a pederast as well. House Speaker Jerry Sandusky, come on down.
5. Trump is more likely to change his mind than any other candidate when shown the facts. You don't think we should build a wall? Fine. Make your case with provable facts and not empty name-calling. He is a businessman who embraces facts and change. He takes calculated risks. He is willing to challenge the conventional wisdom. That is how we make progress. Someone has to take some tiny ships and see if China is just over the horizon. It isn't, but that was how we discovered America.
6. Finally, Trump likes the hoi polloi. No other Republican candidate among the 17 starters dared to question free trade or legal immigration. Most people in America are hurting. Never Trumpers like Kevin Williamson say too damned bad. I solemnly disagree.
Am I wrong about Trump?