Debates present a dilemma for spectators. They showcase showmanship, the candidates’ ability to show up their opponents in an artificial environment. The showmanship, or form, can overshadow the substance, however, and leave spectators and partisans with a sense that the debater who may have won superficially possessed the substance when he or she did not.
That held true last night, when Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, professional debaters both, brought their debate “A” games to CNN’s telecast Thursday night and ganged up on Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in hope of chipping away at his sizable leads in voter polls.
What’s delightfully ironic is that both men prior to the debate had criticized the Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, as a “showman” and the “P. T. Barnum” of the primary campaign. Yet they banked on just such showmanship to spark their lagging campaigns and to make Trump look bad.
Spectators will have to decide how meaty their claims against Trump and for themselves were, but we are going to examine one or two of them to make this point: Trump stands out as a more substantial candidate than Cruz or Rubio in spite of the superficial successes of form the pair won last night.
Rubio attempted to show that Trump promoted illegal immigration by hiring a “thousand” or “thousands” of illegal Polish workers to build the Trump Tower in 1980 and another set recently to work at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach. Rubio claimed Trump was fined $1,000,000 after a lawsuit was filed against him in 1983.
The chief reference for this Polish workers accusation appears to be a 1998 article in the New York Times. The article does not fill in all the blanks, but I will use it as best I can to illustrate the point.
Did a thousand or thousands of Polish workers file suit or obtain representation in a class action suit against Trump? No. The Times articles says the number of Polish workers was 200.
Was Donald Trump fined $1,000,000? No. His company settled the case (this from a source other than this NY Times article).
Were the Polish workers used to build the Trump Tower? No. They were used only to demolish the building that Trump Tower replaced, the Bonwit Teller department store.
Were the Polish workers illegal immigrants snuck into the country by Trump? This isn’t clear, though there is no indication they were snuck in. In the first and seventh paragraphs, reporter Selwyn Raab called the Polish workers “undocumented immigrants”. It isn’t clear what Raab means by undocumented. In the second paragraph, Raab quoted plaintiff Wojciech Kozak saying he and the others were “frightened illegal immigrants.” Raab reported that Trump denied the immigrants were undocumented, and it isn’t clear if Trump means the same thing Raab does. Raab wrote about some of the court’s findings but did not report that the court determined the legal status of the Polish workers. Raab did report that Kozak had become an American citizen, which would seem to run contrary to the notion that Kozak had been undocumented or illegal, depending on what “undocumented” means.
To summarize, the article defined 200 Polish workers, not a thousand or thousands as Rubio suggested. The article did not name a finding of fact by the court that the Polish workers were undocumented or illegal, as Rubio claimed Thursday night, nor did the article define the meaning of undocumented. The article stated that the Polish workers demolished the building Trump Tower replaced, not that they built the Trump Tower itself as Rubio asserted. The article did state that the court at some point found that Trump owed over $300,000 to union funds, something that caused some workers to lose their pensions. However, that was apparently appealed, because Trump and the workers reached a settlement later that was sealed and ended the issue.
So Rubio has no ultimate court decision to bolster any of his claims, whereas Trump can assert that he was not sued successfully, though he did reach a settlement. Yes, it is possible the plaintiffs got what they wanted; it is also possible that the settlement favored Trump more than the workers.
In the end, it’s a lot of sizzle for Rubio, but no steak.
Let’s examine the Mar-a-Lago claim. Rubio’s attack alleges that Trump stands against illegal immigration and the deportation of illegals even as he hires illegal immigrants for seasonal jobs. The problem lies in the fact that the immigrants Trump hired all have proper government visas, so they were NOT illegal. If Rubio was trying to suggest that Trump contradicted himself with his stance against ILLEGAL immigration by hiring LEGAL immigrants for positions American citizens did not apply for, than Rubio has fallen short of the facts and has spoken fallaciously.
Legal immigration was not an issue in last night’s debate. Illegal immigration was. Rubio may have looked like he made some startling, effective point, but he didn’t. In fact, he manifested an astonishingly defective logic, yet he is the person the establishment cartel wants you to vote into office, a young man who has never built even a small business, a young politician who hasn’t even completed his first term in the United States Senate, a young man without any executive experience. They want to make Rubio the chief executive of this nation?
If we look more deeply, we can see that Trump brought in the legal immigrants on a temporary visa program often reserved for seasonal workers whose positions are hard to fill. Trump wants to eliminate the far more destructive H-1B visa program that Rubio and Cruz have supported (Cruz has flipped his stance; could he flop back?) that allows companies to fire their American high tech workers and replace them with less competent foreigners. See these websites:
It is shameful that “American” companies are destroying and humiliating our neighbors, our fellow American citizens, and our economy. I will not attend any Disney movie or theme park until that rotten-hearted corporate behemoth changes its ways.
If you vote for Rubio, and probably Cruz, you vote for the legalized destruction of opportunities for Americans and the sanction of corporate greed.
It is here where it is clear Trump’s vast experience comes into play. Rubio, again superficially, created the appearance that Trump contradicted himself. Trump countered beautifully, but perhaps many did not understand it. He is saying, yeah, with the conditions and legal setup as they are in this country, I have to go make things in Mexico or China or have to hire immigrants. I don’t want to do that. So I am going to change things. I am going to make better deals (economically and legally) that will make it profitable for American businesses to hire American labor and to keep and create manufacturing right here in our own country.
Rubio either doesn’t understand that or does and deliberately obscures its truth. That’s because he supports corporate greed and the punishment of the more competent American worker. He doesn’t even follow and support the conservative reasoning that Trump is employing and the conservative conclusions he is reaching. Rubio is, indeed, beholden to special interests. If that does not bother you, then vote for him. If it does, vote for Trump.
It is so funny. Rubio contradicted himself when he argued with Trump about health care. He said he understood what Trump was saying about eradicating the lines or barriers around the states that OUTLAW competition and keep insurance rates high, high, high. Then he said something like, “Okay, you want to get rid of the lines around states, whatever that means.” So he didn’t understand. The young, still-in-his-first-term senator wants to approach the problem of health care from some political angle because that is all he knows. Rubio is NOT a businessman. He just wants to score points by repeating – over and over – that he is going to repeal Obamacare.
Trump wants to do something that is so simple and so in concord with the American spirit of competition: break down the walls around each state the prevent insurance companies from competing for consumers’ business. That’s why Trump said there would be so many plans and why he didn’t have details: because the insurance companies will have to craft them to compete and to meet the needs of consumers in the new competitive marketplace. It’s kind of like computer chip makers who make different kinds and capacities of chips to compete and to gain certain market shares.
Rubio’s ignorance was astonishing. Perhaps it got lost in his flair. In the end, it is more of the same: lots of sizzle, no steak.