Fareed Zakaria on Donald Trump and coded racism
April 22nd, 2011
02:18 PM ET

Fareed Zakaria on Donald Trump and coded racism

A number of you have been asking me on Facebook, Twitter and iReport what I think about Donald Trump, the ‘birther’ issue and the Republican presidential field. Here are my thoughts:

1. Donald Trump’s appeal is based on a fantasy

Americans have always had an appetite for a populist, non-politician who promises to cut through the mess in Washington and provide simple, commonsense solutions to the problems ailing the United States.

The peculiar American twist is that the populists tend to be billionaires. People think the very rich are immune to the usual pressures in government.  In some cases this turns out to be true (Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a good example).

But, fundamentally, this is wishful thinking bordering on fantasy. The mess we’re in is not a product of a handful of idiotic politicians engaged in venal behavior. The problem is that Americans want low-taxes and lots of government services.

If you look at the recent polls, most Americans think there should be no changes to Medicare and no broad increases in taxation. This is magical mathematics. There is no way to make the budget work without doing both of these things - or at least one of them.

The reason people like Donald Trump have appeal is they seem to promise that through their superior business talent they will magically solve problems and save Americans from having to make hard choices. That’s a fantasy. It’s never going to happen.

2. The ‘birther’ issue is coded racism

Then there is the ‘birther’ issue.  I regard this as coded racism, frankly. I don’t think there’s any other word for it.

For goodness' sake, George Stephanopoulos displayed Obama's Certificate of Live Birth on network TV and this rumor still doesn't die. Put it this way: If the President was a white man named John Smith with the other background issues being the same - foreign student father, mother in Hawaii, etc. - would there be any of these dark insinuations? Trump should be ashamed of himself. But then, I suppose, he wouldn't be Donald Trump.

I don’t think that the 'birther' issue the real appeal of Trump, anyway. It has just helped Trump get free media and rise up in the polls. His real appeal is the fantasy that he can somehow get us out of the mess we’re in.

The reality, however, is that only we can get us out of the mess we’re in.

3. The Republican presidential field is weak

I think the most serious Republican candidate is Mitt Romney. He has run a big business. He was the governor of a big state. But he’s probably disqualified from the Republican nomination because his healthcare plan is too close to Obama’s.

I think this is unfortunate because he would spur a serious debate if he were the nominee. I don’t agree with everything he says. (He’s said some pretty nutty stuff about Islamic extremism and terrorism). But I do think he’s a credible guy who could plausibly be a good President.

Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels strike me as minor figures who are unlikely to have the kind of firepower that you would need to take on a sitting President.

And Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are ideological statements that fire up the base but would be overwhelmingly rejected by the American people. If either of these two were nominated, it would say that the Republican Party was more interested in being true to its perceived causes than in actually winning elections.  This has not historically been true of the Republican Party, which has tended to be a more practical party.

4.  President Obama is in good shape

The single most important factor determining a president’s reelection is the economy. And through a combination of good crisis management and luck, I think Obama will end up entering the 2012 campaign stretch with an American economy that’s improving, which is probably more important than everything else.

So those are my thoughts. I'd love for you to continue the conversation below, and to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. You can also send me video questions through iReport.

Post by:
Topics: From Fareed • Jobs • Perspectives • Politics • United States

soundoff (1,967 Responses)
  1. Raymond A. Foss

    http://raymondafoss.blogspot.com/2009/01/power-of-witness.html

    April 28, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Reply
  2. TreeTownArt

    Trump should have demanded to see his barber's diploma from barber college before he got that hilarious 'do.

    April 28, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Reply
  3. Ed Galbraith

    Trump should not be taken seriously. He is a baggy pantsed clown who has inhaled too much of his own hot air. Much like the air in a pig sty. Problem is, certain Americans (some GOPers) have a lust for the sweet smell of...well...you know.

    April 28, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Reply
  4. lyn508mr

    This is not the APPRENTICE.. Case dismissed!! Oh bytheway, the last I checked he's FiRED. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oqp69e5v518

    April 29, 2011 at 5:02 am | Reply
  5. lucio

    F*** ops F*** ops this F*** SORRY TO EVERYONE, to listen this F*** guys thats what u learn... Dear F*** trump this leanguage keep for ur F*** self. U are so F*** RUDE and Arrogant. The only thing u can do it's to go back to ur regular life and do the best you can only run ur show the " F*** Ridiculist of United States ". the political career it's not for you, becouse u are only F*** Actor ... Behave ur self if u have rispect of ur self, if not go F*** ur self. Thats what happend when people of Unite States watch and listen Mr. F-Trump. Mr. president Obama doesn't talk like that he talk nice and clear, thanks god...

    April 30, 2011 at 12:34 am | Reply
  6. Wasatch

    Trump's arrogance is his downfall. He clearly lacks any ability to be introspective and shows no personal insight. He constantly claims that he's "the smartest person I know," but when asked about differing points of view there is no sound argument or intellectual prowess. Instead, his standard statement is, "that guy's stupid!" His frequent use of the words idiot and stupid to describe an opponent's views coupled with his recent F-bomb diatribe prove that his oratory ability is around that of a 3rd or 4th grader. Unfortunately most narcissistic personalities are simply not able to see beyond the tip of their nose.

    April 30, 2011 at 1:22 am | Reply
  7. @WEcantWiNatHOME (twitter)

    ...@WEcantWiNatHOME (twitter) 04/30/'11 ...MY QUEEN'S BiRTHDAY 2DAY http://p.rhap.com/Tra.22891455

    ...YOU MUST LiSTEN...FULLY...MENTALLY...& WHOLE HEARTEDLY 2 East St. Louis by L. White http://p.rhap.com/Tra.1429495 "AND THEN YOU WiLL KNOW WHAT WE KNOW" http://t.co/IOZAoMs "YOU ARE A NEANDERTHAL THiNKER iN THE PRESENT TENSE"

    ..."CHECKMATE" DONT HURT ME http://t.co/Qignbbp "DOUBLECHECK" http://p.rhap.com/Tra.22891457 this comment http://t.co/waRNIeq @BMarshall19 http://t.co/A7NCRUX STAND UP & STEP UP TO YOUR WOMAN & MAN UP TO HER – BE A "REAL MAN" & A "REAL WiNNER" http://t.co/JNKVcft THiS iS THE REAL Brandon Marshall http://bit.ly/ih1hxr

    ...EVERY MiAMi DOLPHiN PLAYER, " DAMN-iT - iT'S TiME 2 STEP UP & STAND UP & SPEAK UP & MOST iMPORTANTLY MAN UP iN 2011" @BMarshall19 @TonyMcDaniel78 @CCSmoth30 @KendallLangford @MrDansby58 @brianhartline @RickyWilliams @CarrollCity X@OFFICIALDB15X @SeanSMITH4 @willallen_25 @Sheets24k @11JuPru @reshadjones9 @VernonDavis85 @VontaeDavis21 @JasonAllen32 @Kold91 @Roberto_Wallace @JaredOdrick98 @CoryProcter @davonebess X@KoaMisi55X...U R Da WEAKEST LiNKS OF Da MiAMi DOLPHiNS Listening 2 THEiR "WEAK BRAiN AND A NARROW MiND" http://t.co/gQRcF7H ...LOYAL MiAMi D0LPHiN FANS N0T 1 MiAMi MiAMi D0LPHiNS TEAMMATE iS 0N @ChadHenne TWiTTER ACCOUNT– iTS 0BVi0US HE HAS 1 FRiEND AT THE TOP, STEVE ROSS, THE MiAMi DOLPHiNS OWNER & 52 OF CHAD HENNE'S MiAMi DOLPHiN TEAMMATES NEED 2 MAN UP & ACCEPT HiM FULLY & WHOLE HEARTEDLY & START WiNNiNG http://t.co/yxu1DBi ...WHO iS THAT BiGGER MAN 2 DO iT 1st, WHO iS THAT BETTER MAN 2 DO iT NOW, WHO iS THAT GREATER MAN THAT WiLL NOT CRY 2DAY & DURiNG THE WHOLE SEASON, WHO iS THAT SMARTER MAN THAT WiLL NOT COMPLAiN 2DAY OR 2MORROW, WHO iS THAT WiSER MAN & EXPERiENCED MAN THAT CAN SEE THE END FROM THE BEGiNNiG (THE ENTiRE PiCTURE) & "WHO iS THAT UN-SELFiSH MAN & ABSOLUTE TOTAL TEAM PLAYERS THAT HAS NO DEFEAT ENGRAVED DEEP WiTH – iN HiS CHARACTER & THAT OF HiS ENTiRE MiAMi DOLPHiNS TEAMMATES"...YOU ARE ON DUTY RiTE NOW, STAND UP & SPEAK UP, TAKE CHARGE & COMMUNiCATE FULLY & WHOLE HEARTEDLY...YOU HAVE ALL THE BEST AVAiLABLE & CAPABLE MEANS NECESSARY AT YOUR FiNGER TiPS RiTE NOW 2 WiN iT ALL - "SEiZE THiS OPPORTUNiTY RiTE NOW" & MAN UP & BECOME "REAL WiNNERS" iN 2011......BELiEVE...... "DOUBLECHECK" this video out By HOMEWRECKA -" i WANT iT ALL " http://t.co/wW9rLzG

    ...WADE Expected 2 Play in Game 2 NBC Miami http://t.co/pp135MV @nbcmiami ...Da "TRUE HEART" OF A "REAL CHAMPiON" AiN'T NO CRYING HERE – D. WADE SAYS "BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY" http://p.rhap.com/Tra.1429503 ......DAMN RiTE....."WE NEED REAL WiNNERS iN 2011"...WE GOT OUR "MOJO WORKiNG TRiPLE DOUBLE OVER TiME http://t.co/UCDHDEa ..."BELiEVE DAT"

    ....THE MiGHTY, MiGHTY DOLPHiN PLAYERS MUST HAVE SEEN THEiR DOUBLY TOUGH 2011 "PROFESSiONAL FOOTBALL" SCHEDULE...DAMN RiTE MiAMi DOLPHiNS PLAYERS, THiS iS YOUR TiME 2 STEP UP & "SHiNE AS A WELL TUNED SUPA BAD TEAM" http://t.co/kMx1Y8A ...YOU ARE ON Da NATiONAL & WORLD STAGE RiTE NOW (STANDiNG OVATiON BY Da DELLS http://t.co/KLSQ6zV )...YOU EiTHER PUT UP WiNS & NOTHiNG LESS...WE NEED REAL, REAL BiG GAME TiME WiNNERS & PLAYERS iN 2011...STAND UP & MOST iMPORTANTLY MAN UP & WiN...ARE YOU WiNNiNG RiTE NOW...YOU DAMN RiTE WE ARE CERTAiNLY WiNNiNG..."BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY MY MAN"...THE DRAMATiCS – CUM OUT OF YOUR THANG http://t.co/r7fS0Il .......BELiEVE....... http://t.co/btEwICE

    May 1, 2011 at 12:51 am | Reply
  8. Jimmy

    Bro. Fareed,
    I couldn't agree with you more! Also, I think Trump wants to make a quick buck by saying he is going to run. He thinking, if Palin can make the big bucks with inflated jargon and no substance whatsoever, then he can make money on politics-and promote his show. I don't think he's even close to being able to run this country. Secondly, Trump is culturally incompetent! The things he's said about "the blacks" lately is disrespectful. He does not represent the best of this country.

    May 3, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  9. Joy Brown

    Obama's USA birth certificate has been provided repeatedly, unlike any other President in USA history. His birth announcement in the local newspapers have also been provided and checked. The State of Hawaii (as well as Oregon and other states) legal and certified birth certificate is titled: "Certificate of Live Birth" so that it is clear the baby survived birth. Birth certificates were not issued until the early 1900s by many states and therefore proof of citizenship has historically been made in various ways. Obama has provided government and public proof of USA birth and citizenship far exceeding most, if not all, previous presidents.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:39 am | Reply
  10. Jon

    I love how you liberals describe the search for truth as racist. This man has spent thousands of dollars keeping his birth certificate info and school records out of the press. On top of that he has done nothing in his time in office other then lie, lie, lie. The only abstract of his birth certificate shown until the last one was finally shown. Note: It shows his father is not a citizen of this country. That in itself may disqualify him as president. But then again he has proved he can't lead as a president. All our allies despise him and don't trust him. It is also noteworthy that surrendered his lawyer license in 2002 and his wife had to surrender her's prior to him. Generally, that shows incompetence. After polling over 400 classmates at his schools no one can vouche for his attendance there. Now after all this a liberal calls Trump a racist over the birther issue. Take you ass back to the middle east and pound sand.

    May 13, 2011 at 10:41 am | Reply
  11. King Bierner

    This site has enormous level of wealth inside the posts. Just great read...

    July 11, 2011 at 4:56 am | Reply
  12. Just want to say your article is as surprising. The clarity for your publish is just great and i can assume you're knowledgeable on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to take hold of your feed to keep updated with imminent post. Thanks a milli

    I as well believe thence , perfectly pent post! .

    November 17, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Reply
  13. Bertha Beardsley

    Shopping Deals Just a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw outstanding style. "Make the most of your regrets... . To regret deeply is to live afresh." by Henry David Thoreau.

    November 23, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Reply
  14. Rivka Waide

    Everyone loves your blog.. comfortable shades & concept. Do an individual design and style this website yourself or perhaps do anyone hire an attorney to accomplish it available for you? Plz reply when I!|m looking to design my personal web site plus wish to learn wherever u acquired the following out of. many thanks

    December 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Reply
  15. Emerald Garson

    Thank you so much for a further imperative post. Where as well may well everyone find this form of tips in such a complete way of writing? I've your event newly arriving 7 days, and I'm sure hunting for these kinds of facts.

    December 14, 2011 at 9:20 am | Reply
  16. Power Washing Bloomington Indiana

    Thank you for creating this site so easy to find info. good stuff. Saving this one for later.

    March 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Reply
  17. Scentsy,Scentsy Candles,Scentsy Wickless Candles,Buy Scentsy,Buy Scentsy Candles,Buy Scentsy Wickless Candles,Buy Scentsy Online,Buy Scentsy Candles Online,Buy Scentsy Products,Buy Scentsy Products Online,Buy Scented Candles,Buy Scented Candles Online,Joi

    Hello! I wish to say that this post is awesome. I would like to see more posts like this! Cheers!

    April 9, 2012 at 2:09 am | Reply
  18. jimmie kilburn

    WHEN I WAS A KID.I REMEMBER A RUSSIAN LEADER, SAYING I WILL DESTROY YOU FROM WITHIN! DOING A GOOD JOB AT IT TOO. DRUGS, PEOPLE TRYING TO START RACE WAR. IF THAT HAPPENS. IT WILL NOT BE LIKE IN CIVIL WAR WHEN WE WERE FIGHTING AGAINST EACH OTHER. SOME OTHER COUNTRY COULD HAVE WALKED IN AND TOOK US OVER. WHAT I'M TRYING TO SAY. WHERE WOULD GROUPS LIKE BLACK PANTHERS LOYALTY BE .I THINK THAT LITTLE RUNT IN IRAN IS PLAYING HIS CARDS WELL. HE IS JUST ABOUT READY TO MAKE HIS MOVE .AMERICAN DRUG ADDICTS. DO YOU THINK YOU COULD STAND UP AND FIGHT. YOU WILL BE THE FIRST ONES TO GO, WHEN THEY TAKE OVER. DO YOU THINK YOU COULD CONVERT TO A NEW RELIGION AND LIVE IT .AMERICAN CHRISTIANS, BETTER WAKE UP. WHEN HE GETS HIS BOMB WE WILL BE SECOND TO GET IT USED ON. NO MORE ON RACE COLORING. JUST BE ONE. WE WILL ALL BE BLACK AND .CRISP

    July 31, 2012 at 10:34 am | Reply
  19. adsense google, how can i get money, adsense, adsense.allsate.net

    Thank you, I have just been looking for information approximately this topic for a long time and yours is the best I've discovered so far. But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you sure about the supply?|What i don't understood is in reality how you are now not really much more smartly-appreciated than you might be right now. You are so intelligent.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Reply
  20. dan

    Wonderful work! This is the kind of information that are supposed to be shared across the internet. Disgrace on Google for now not positioning this publish higher! Come on over and visit my site . Thanks =)

    August 29, 2012 at 5:33 am | Reply
  21. voip number trace

    There are some interesting time limits in this article however I don�t know if I see all of them heart to heart. There is some validity but I will take maintain opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we would like extra! Added to FeedBurner as properly

    November 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  22. Berkeley sewer repair

    Really what a nice site and great sharing to Donald Trump and coded racism. Cheers author for your wonderful site.
    Berkeley sewer repair

    May 22, 2013 at 3:10 am | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,789 other followers