Our Editorial: Michigan should stop Trump

The Detroit News

Michigan Republicans could do their party and the nation a service Tuesday by handing the presidential bid of Donald Trump its first major setback. The billionaire has moved comfortably through the first stage of the primary campaign, winning a majority of the contests and building a solid lead in the delegate count.

Polls suggest he’ll do the same in Michigan, and in most of the other states to come.

But his nomination is not inevitable. Michigan Republicans could help stop him, and they should.

An anti-Trump moment is building among Republicans who can’t fathom that this name-calling, shape-shifting reality TV star could end up representing both the party and conservatism in the fall general election. And it’s not just because they think he can’t beat Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee.

It’s because Trump is neither a Republican nor a conservative.

For most of his career as a real estate developer and entertainer, Trump has been a political opportunist, throwing his support to whichever politician, regardless of party, who could best serve his business interests. He’s admitted as much in debates.

He has no driving political philosophy, other than getting the deal done and being a tough guy on the world stage. That has understandable appeal to a lot of voters angry at Washington’s gridlock and the Obama administration’s appeasement of tyrants.

But they shouldn’t confuse bluster with the skills and temperament that will be required to forge a working relationship with Congress and mutually beneficial alliances abroad.

Trump has only the most shallow grasp of how policy making works, and of the consequences of getting it wrong.

His protectionist position on trade is nearly as hostile to capitalism as those of the socialist Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is running against Clinton. Placing tight restrictions on trade will undoubtedly throw the country and much of the world into another recession.

Those impressed by Trump’s promise to solve illegal immigration by building a wall along the southern border, and sending the bill to Mexico, should know the claim is not only delusional, it conjures negative flashbacks to America’s days as a colonial overseer.

The Chinese, Russians, Iranians and other world trouble makers aren’t going to quake in fear of Trump — unless it’s because they think he’s just crazy enough to push the button.

And who knows? The world’s most lethal arsenal should not be placed in the hands of a man with such a volatile temperament and thin skin.

Trump has brought the crudity of reality TV into the presidential campaign, hurling insults and outlandish boasts alike. He may not be a racist, misogynist, nativist xenophobe. But too often he sure sounds like one.

We understand the frustrations of voters who feel isolated by the rapid centralization of power in the federal government. Citizens don’t believe they have a voice when Washington has usurped so much of the decision-making.

And we share as well the frustration with the national political dysfunction. We get why Americans tired of small vision political leaders would rally to a candidate who talks about making the country great and rich again.

But Donald Trump is not the one who will make it happen. He is, quite simply, a fraud. And he can’t win the presidency. His negatives are too high.

If nothing else, Michigan Republicans should think about this when they go to the polls: A vote for Donald Trump Tuesday is a vote for Hillary Clinton in November.