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By ALAN J. ORTBALS
Ortbals Headshot 1 1 16Ortbals    The rise of Donald Trump, politician, is truly amazing. After vanquishing 17 other Republican candidates over a grueling primary process, he now is running neck and neck with the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, in the latest nationwide polls. It’s hard to fathom.
    Consider The Donald’s business record.
    He’s had numerous business failures: Trump Vodka, Trump: the Game, Trump Airlines, GoTrump.com, Trump Magazine, Trump Steaks and Trump Mortgage were all busts. Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for bankruptcy four times and his Trump University is being sued by the New York attorney general for fraud.
    Consider some of the bizarre statements he’s made.
He’s praised North Korea’s despotic dictator Kim Jong-Un saying the way he gets rid of his political opponents show’s he’s the boss.
He’s praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as “a strong leader.”
He suggested that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of President Kennedy.
He claimed to have seen thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center; that the real unemployment rate is 42 percent; and that blacks kill 81 percent of white homicide victims.
    According to Pulitzer Prize winning, Politifact, so far Trump has made 21 statements deemed as half-true, 22 statements that were mostly false, 61 that were judged as completely false, and 26 which earned their “Pants on Fire” reward as totally outrageous.
    Or, consider the bizarre positions he’s taken.

  • He said he might use nuclear weapons against ISIS.
  • Abortion should be banned and women who have them should face “some form of punishment.”
  • Banning all Muslims from entering the country.
  • Giving Japan and South Korea nuclear weapons.
  • Dropping out of NATO.
  • Letting ISIS take over Syria.
  • Starting a trade war with China.
  • Advocated torture.
  • Murdering the families of terrorists.
  • Deporting 12 million immigrants.
  • Building a 2,000-mile-long wall along the Mexican border and making the Mexicans pay for it.

    Or, consider what some of his Republican colleagues say about him.
    “He’s a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham.
    Former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called him a madman and an egomaniac.
    And former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney took off the gloves when he said of him, “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the members of the American public for suckers. He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat. His domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president…”
    And these are people from his own party!
    On the other hand there’s former U.S. Sen. and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton whose big sin was using the wrong email server. And, she may well lose to The Donald.
    As that noted philosopher, Yakov Smirnoff, says, “America: What a country!”
    Alan J. Ortbals is president and publisher of the Illinois Business Journal. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (618) 659-1977.