Robert Reich doesn't dispute that the 45th president of the United States is both stupid and ignorant. He's not as accomplished as he pretends. In fact, he would have done better clipping coupons. Writing in TruthDig, Reich says Trump is really just an accomplished hustler, a con man.
He knows how to manipulate people. He has an uncanny ability to discover their emotional vulnerabilities – their fears, anxieties, prejudices, and darkest desires – and use them for his own purposes.
To put it another way, Trump is an extraordinarily talented conman.
He’s always been a conman. He conned hundreds of young people and their parents into paying to attend his near worthless Trump University. He conned banks into lending him more money even after he repeatedly failed to pay them. He conned contractors to work for them and then stiffed them.
Granted, during he hasn’t always been a great conman. Had he been, his cons would have paid off.
By his own account, in 1976, when Trump was starting his career, he was worth about $200 million, much of it from his father. Today he says he’s worth some $8 billion. If he’d just put the original $200 million into an index fund and reinvested the dividends, he’d be worth $12 billion today.
But he’s been a great political conman. He conned 62,979,879 Americans to vote for him in November 2016 by getting them to believe his lies about Mexicans, Muslims, African-Americans, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and all the “wonderful,” “beautiful” things he’d do for the people who’d support him.
Not for nothing did I coin the term "Gullibillies" to refer to Trump's then loyal and still loyal supporters. In its colloquialism it may sound pejorative but it's really quite accurate. It's an expression that reflects the combined destructive power of ignorance and naivete. It implies a wholesale abandonment of critical thought in favour of faith- or belief-based thinking sometimes magical thinking. And it is proving to be almost unshakable among Trump's true believers.
Studies show that the Trump legion is the most likely to be harmed by the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. Likewise it is their children who'll be saddled with the 1.5 trillion dollar burden of tax breaks for the ultra-rich financed entirely on government borrowing. They're like the vivisectionist's dog lovingly licking the hand that wields the scalpel. It's stomach-churning to watch.
Political conning is Trump’s genius. It’s this genius – when combined with his utter stupidity in every other dimension of his being – that poses the greatest danger to America and the world.