What is the thinking when supporting Trump?

One can argue back and forth, Trump or Hillary, but in the Jewish Journal post “10 reasons Persian Jews support Trump,” by Afshine Emrani, what is most alarming is the willful ignorance of events that accompanies much of this list.
August 4, 2016

One can argue back and forth, Trump or Hillary, but in the Jewish Journal post “10 reasons Persian Jews support Trump,” by Afshine Emrani, what is most alarming is the willful ignorance of events that accompanies much of this list.  Susan Esther Barnes attempts a point by point rebuttal, but she sinks too often into politically convenient arguments that miss the sorry state of the lack of underlying evidence or historical proof behind much of the original message.

Obviously, Emrani does not claim to speak for all Persian Jews, and he readily admits that his sampling is anything but scientific.  But apparently he’s questioned some Trump supporters in his community and the list is the result of that investigation.

Let’s begin with his Number Three, the gist of which is that Trump will deal more forcefully with radical jihadists, that he’s strong where Clinton is weak.  Then he recounts:  “Clinton’s policies led to the rise of ISIS. She led the invasion of Libya.”

What?  Which policies of Clinton’s?  First of all, Hillary Clinton never made policy.  She was a Senator when the Iraq War was begun by President George W. Bush, and a Secretary of State under Obama, five years later.  Not only is it pretty clear now that it was the breakup of the Iraq Army, the banning of all Ba’ath Party members from military service – Bush policy – that gave rise to ISIS, but…wait for it……there was no invasion of Libya.  Actually, the first person I heard to allude to this was Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, and a graduate of Harvard and its Medical School (so supposedly fairly informed), who spoke of Hillary Clinton’s getting us into “the war in Libya.”  There was no invasion of Libya.  No American soldiers entered Libya.  There was a limited amount of air cover and support given to the breakaway government in the East to prevent a massacre of them by Khaddafi.  But no invasion.

Moving on to Number Four.  “Clinton owes Arab countries so much that she can’t be trusted.”  Since there is not one sentence of reputable reporting that indicates or intimates that any Arab government has given money to Hillary Clinton or her campaign, I’m assuming this refers to the Clinton Foundation, which, is not Hillary Clinton.  However, sooner or later, I suspect Hillary Clinton is going to stand up and say, hey everyone, part of the mission of the Clinton Foundation is to get sovereign states to participate in worldwide philanthropy:  (“We convene businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change.”)  Golly, Clinton Foundation.  Nice.

Number Five.  After 2,500 years of apparently fairly benign and tranquil living, it was Carter’s policies that forced Jews to leave Iran, and “Carter directly caused Iran to become an extremist Islamist country…”  By this I suppose that Carter directly influenced Shia doctrine, but more specifically, was so great a religious and philosophical influence on Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei, that the poor Imam had no choice but to institute a draconian Islamic State once he returned from exile in Paris to power in Iran.  It’s a shame that the Ayatollah never publically credited Carter with this influence.  His successor could at least have edited Carter’s Wikipedia entry to reflect this guidance.

Number Eight.  “Lower taxes mean more economic stimulus.”  You kinda want to put this one in 24 point type and make it bold and add some color.  You wonder how many times this has to be historically discredited before it will finally die the ignominious death it deserves.  Does the phrase “trickle down” ring a bell, anyone?  Bill Clinton and Obama, collectively created 36 million jobs.  As Stan Lee might opine, “Nuff said.”

Number Nine.  Number Three was really my favorite until I got here. `”Trump knows how to manage groups and will build teams of excellence.” Trump is independent and will not be bought by any special interest groups. Trump started with some $300 million and turned it into $4.5 billion. He understands capitalism and business.’

In fact, if there’s a go it alone guy in the big business world, not only is it Trump, but Trump quite obviously wants it to be Trump.  I’ve always wondered by his plane doesn’t say, “I, Trump” instead of just “Trump.”  But the real meat is in the big numbers.

I’m sure there are scions who inherited huge fortunes and blew it all to hell.  But just to put some perspective on it, if you take $300 million and put it away at 6% compounded for 40 years, you wind up with a bit more than $3 billion.  And you don’t have to know crap about business.  But the real point is nobody, not me, not you, dear readers, and certainly not the Persian Jewish community has any idea what Trump is really worth.  He says billions.  Mark Cuban, another billionaire who found himself interested enough to run some numbers on his own, says less than $200 million.  “Talking Points Memo” says he may in fact be in debt to the tune of $600 million and is being propped up by Russian oligarch investment, which means, in effect, Vladimir Putin.  The point is, we don’t know; we have only Trump’s word for it, the same word that said he got a letter from the NFL decrying the conflicting scheduling of the debates with NFL games, a letter the NFL said doesn’t exist and was never sent.

Now I know personally, in varying degrees, a number of Persian Jews, and I’ve had a number of them in class.  Frankly, they’ve always seemed to me to be as smart or not as any other Jew.  I’d be the last person to malign them as a group, and maybe it wasn’t such a good idea for Emrani to post an editorial headlined as it is.  And it is most definitely true that there are lots of Jews, from all walks of life and backgrounds, that are supporting Trump.  In fact, a close rabbi friend tells me, regarding the Orthodox, in his best Brooklynese: fuhgedaboudit, they’ll never support Hillary.  Do they agree with Emrani’s chosen sampling.  Who knows.  What I do know, is in many ways it just makes no sense.  It seems to be all about what they wish and hope was and is true.  And to me, that’s scary, because we’re talking about electing the most powerful person in the world, and these opinions, one hopes, would have some basis in fact and knowledge.

Mitch Paradise is a writer, producer, and teacher living in Los Angeles.  

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