The Donald Trump Cuba Factor and The Alternative Issue

trump-cuba2As many of you know, last week Newsweek published a report showing that Donald Trump spent about $68,000 in Cuba in an attempt to see if he could do business in Castro’s island. According to the news report, the money which was spent in 1998, was intended to take advantage of a potential thawing of US-Cuban relations during the Bill Clinton administration. Ultimately, the Cuba embargo remained in place and Trump’s expenditure was illegal. For Donald Trump, the issue is not whether he would be subject to a criminal investigation, but rather the affect the revelation has in his ability to win the presidential election.

The statute of limitations has passed and thus Donald Trump is not facing any legal liability for the money he spent in Cuba for exploring business opportunities there. The problem for Trump is how the Cuban-American community of voters will react to the revelations. According to election pundits, Florida is a “must-win” state for Trump because of the electoral college. Remember that the election of a US president is not based on the popular vote, but rather on the arithmetic of the electoral college.

The Cuban-American voting block has traditionally leaned towards the Republican’s mainly because of their anti-Castro regime stance. The traditional Cuban-American voter does not want to see a thawing of the Cuban Embargo. Democrats, to the elder Cuban-Americans are just too accommodating towards the Castro regime.

However, the traditional Cuban-American voter is aging and indications are that the younger generation is not so hostile towards a resumption of Cuba-US relations. The Republicans saw an erosion of the Cuban-American vote in the last election. Most, though, expected that Donald Trump would still garner a significant portion of Cuban-American votes – until the 1998 Cuban intrigue was revealed last week.

The knee-jerk reaction is to believe that the Cuban-American vote is now up for grabs because of the revelations about Trump’s circumvention of the Cuban Embargo. How much of an affect it will be will likely not be known until Election Day. Marco Rubio, for example, has been lukewarm in his reaction to the revelations. The spinmeisters are hard at work on both sides spinning the story for votes.

However you look at the latest controversy, the fact remains that Donald Trump needs Florida to win in November.

Adding even more pressure on the Trump campaign is the revelation by the New York Times that Donald Trump may be avoiding paying income taxes through gimmicky tax exemptions based on losses he suffered from his bankruptcies, inability to pay workers and investor losses of his failed businesses in the 1990’s.

One of the loudest voices supporting the ouster of the established politicos are the middle-class who feel that rich taxpayers are getting tax breaks on the backs of the middle class worker. Trump has built a following of voters who believe that Donald Trump is not like the politicians and will work for the middle class voters. The question now becomes, do these Trump supporters question their support of Trump is if turns out that Trump isn’t paying income taxes on his millions in income?

What About the Alternative?

This brings us to one of the most-often posted arguments to me and on social media; “yea, but what about the alternative?”

I have no idea and it’s unlikely that the so-called pundits don’t actually know how the Cuban-Americans will react to the Cuba investment intrigue. The spinmeister rhetoric is based on the notion that Donald Trump is not perfect but the alternative is much worse.

There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton has significant problems with most of them centered on the lack of trustworthiness on her part. Clinton’s long history of questionable actions make her undesirable as the next president. Is she worse than Donald Trump? Is Donald Trump a better alternative?

These two questions miss the entire point that has brought US voters to this point, having to make the decision – a fractured Republican Party that allowed itself to be bamboozled by a caricature that was created by a massive marketing gimmick over many years.

US voters today are having to make the decision to cast their votes based on “the alternative” because a small vocal minority took over the Republican Party and created the illusion that Donald Trump is not a politician but the voice of “the people.” Trump has proven that he is a politician cloaked in an illusion of being the voice of the people.

Like all politicians, Donald Trump will say and promise what he thinks his audience expects without really intending to keep his promises. For proof of this look at his meeting with the Mexican president in late August. Trump said two things on the same day, one version of a relaxed immigration policy and global economics in Mexico City against his fire-and-brimstone close all the borders and bring US jobs back to the country later that night in Phoenix, Arizona. Two opposing messages each delivered to two audiences on the same day. A typical politician catering to the audience.

But what about the “alternative?”

US voters would not have to be making this decision had the Republican leadership done their jobs and allowed their general membership an equal voice over the loud minority that hijacked the party. Had this happened, instead of having to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, US voters could be choosing from Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, or even Ted Cruz against Clinton. Ted Cruz would have been very unpalatable to me but I wouldn’t be writing as much about him because, as a politician, his political rhetoric would be measured and not as repugnant to me as Trump’s is.

Ultimately, the saddest part of the current “what about the alternative” narrative is that Donald Trump is riding a wave of “anti-establishment” and “anti-politician” while in reality he is both. Voters are putting their hope on a lie and on a hypocrisy. The notion that Trump will secure the borders, bring back jobs to the US, reengineer the tax system and close off the spigot of undocumented immigration is nothing more than a fantasy. A fantasy created by the master of marketing deceit.

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