John Balentine’s “Political climate change is happening” carelessly lumps the citizens who took part in the women’s march with the anarchists who started fires, and caused vandalism, etc., on Inauguration Day. The vast majority of protesters deplore such actions. (Tellingly, with 500,000 attendees, there were zero arrests at the D.C. Women’s March.) Also, why assume these marches are primarily about “broadening one’s social network and raising money”? Who’s to say the current groundswell of protest won’t result in more people becoming actively engaged in the political process by writing their congressmen or one day running for office?
Finally, Balentine lauds Trump for his “toughness.” A more accurate term is “belligerence.” Sure, it paid off on the campaign trail, where he reaped the rewards of trashing his opponents through bluster and personal attacks, rather than debating the issues. Bullying may work in the business world. (Until Trump releases his tax returns, we won’t know if it actually does). But in the political world it can backfire spectacularly. What possible upside can there be to gratuitously insulting the prime minister of Australia, one of our closest allies, or threatening to send our army to Mexico? While “Art of the Deal” reflects Trump’s belief that such tactics are “a smart way to get what you wanted in the first place,” he didn’t, as Balentine claims, write the book. Journalist Tony Schwartz did, deeply regrets that fact, and back in November tweeted, “I would now call it ‘The Sociopath.'”