Jews Praying In The Synagogue on the Day of Atonement by Maurycy Gottlieb (Tel Aviv Museum of Art)
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Thursday, March 29, 2018
The Making of Donald Trump Paperback – November 14, 2017 by David Cay Johnston (Melville House), God and Donald Trump Hardcover – November 7, 2017 by Stephen E. Strang (Frontline)
I want to be an informed voter when I cast my ballot and sometimes that's difficult. I believe in the adage that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely so it is important to me that I have some gauge of a candidate's moral compass. Past behavior is one way to predict. Certainly anyone who has abused power in the past is more, not less, likely to do so as President. This book provides some insight into Trump's past. The author doesn't have insider knowledge but what he does know is well-researched and presented well. Trump's narrative is told in an intriguing way - I think I better understand Trump, the man, having read this. I think I've learned more about how Trump has been able to manipulate circumstances to his benefit and the corners he's cut to achieve his objectives. Trump is not the kind of leader whose actions are driven by a strong moral compass. He's not the kind of leader who is worried about integrity and expertise. He's not the kind of person looking for a win-win scenario in negotiations. If he can maximize his profit at your expense, he'll do it. Some believe that Trump's unusual campaign tactics are an indicator that he ran as a lark to make it easier for Hillary Clinton to win. I don't think that's true. I think his self-confidence is able to overcome reality checks that would give pause to those endowed with a lesser ego. He can look at polls that show he is not doing well in the general election, for example, and conclude that the issue is that he took advice from people suggesting that he rein in some of his more extreme rhetoric. He doubles down on the drama. He had wealth handed to him and repeatedly sought to forge relationships with people of questionable character in order to grow wealth. He's not interested in steady growth if a shady deal will give access to a high risk/high reward scenario. Leaders who have to come up through the ranks are more often forced into better socialization skills. All told, between this book and current events, I am more confident in my conclusion that Trump's moral compass is under-developed. I definitely recommend this book as an informative and well-written overview of some of the things Trump has been doing over the last few decades. Definitely makes me more interested in having Trump release his tax documents.