The Corner

Trump and Susana: A Study in Contrasts

As you may have seen, Donald Trump was in New Mexico earlier this week. He attacked the state’s governor, Susana Martinez. Who is a conservative Republican. A Reagan Republican.

I know her a little bit. I’ve interviewed her at length. I’ve studied her governorship. For a 2012 piece, go here. For a piece two years later — when Martinez was running for reelection — go here.

Trump and Martinez could not be more different from each other. They are night and day. Martinez, I guess, represents the old Republican party. Trump represents the new one, the Trumpified GOP.

Martinez, to say it again, is a Reagan Republican, a classical liberal, a reformer, a problem-solver. Trump is a nationalist, a populist, a demagogue — the type you expect to find on the European right, rather than the American one.

The governor grew up in El Paso. Her parents were Reagan Democrats. Her dad had been a boxing champion in the Marines. Then a sheriff. He made himself a businessman, and a very successful one. Martinez’s husband, Chuck Franco, is a former cop.

She knows what real men are. She knows what Trump is too, I’m sure. She knows the difference between achievement and bluster, between strength and bullying.

Martinez was a district attorney in New Mexico for 25 years. She dealt with the dregs — the rapists of children, for example. She is not the kind to be intimidated. She has a soft, feminine exterior, but is obviously tough as nails.

As DA and now as governor, she has had to address very serious problems. New Mexico is one of the poorest states in the Union. She has addressed education, in particular. For 30 years, she has done her utmost to keep people safe from predators and to make life in general better.

What has Trump been doing these 30 years? Running his various cons: Trump University, the vodka, the steaks, and all the rest of it. Aggrandizing himself. Putting his name on things. Posing as his own spokesman. Sleeping around, and boasting about it.

Trump is reality TV; Martinez is reality. She has dealt with reality, and tried to improve it. And succeeded, in measurable ways. But the public evidently prefers the Trump type. There’s no accounting for taste.

Over the decades, Martinez has cared for her handicapped sister. This is no easy task, physically or mentally, as people who have done it can attest. Trump, by contrast, mocks handicapped people on the campaign trail, for the enjoyment of his audience.

They could not be more different, in how they have lived their lives, in their senses of right and wrong. Trump is right to disdain Martinez. She is almost the anti-him.

And it is Trump’s GOP. We are all supposed to bow down to the great, loud, lying, nasty orange god. Bless all those who resist.

When I expressed some of these thoughts on Twitter earlier today, I got the usual responses from Trump folk: not so much the “alt” and Nazi stuff, but messages such as, “Just keep drinking wine and eating brie in your N.Y. penthouse.” Do they have any idea whom they’re supporting? Any?

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