A Review of ‘Crippled America’: The bargain of Donald Trump, my dream presidential candidate

I started on Donald Trump’s new book, Crippled America during Thanksgiving morning 2015 about two hours before the Macy’s parade and ended about an hour and a half after, just before our lunchtime feast. It wasn’t a very big book and was an easy read. It was written so people with very basic reading skills would have no trouble with it. For the first 25 pages I couldn’t help but think that Trump probably dictated the whole book to somebody because it sounded an awful lot like his campaign speeches, of which I’ve listened to quite a lot of. I didn’t anticipate that I’d learn very much new about Trump that I didn’t already know. However, by the time I closed the book just before the turkey was placed on our table, I felt refreshed and happy that such a guy was running for presidential office. I have been a Trump supporter since his campaign speech in June at Trump Tower so I was already in his camp. Leading up to his announcement it has been my strong feeling for years, going all the way back to Ross Perot, that successful business people needed to be in government, not the unproven lawyers that we have now—so Trump as president makes sense to me. After reading Crippled America it was clear to me that Trump should be handing these books out at campaign events, because it turned out to be a pretty good book, especially the second half after he warmed up a bit. The first half was pretty typical to his campaign platform, but the second half delved more into the man himself, the character behind the drama, the hype, and the brand—to the person who just wants to restore the American nation from the dilapidated mess that it currently is.

As I closed the book I understood Donald Trump. He was still that 28-year-old developer taking on impossible projects that nobody else could touch and turning them into marvels the world would gawk at. Trump isn’t nearly the egoist that his persona projects, he’s a very passionate developer who just likes to make things. His run for president is not about power or prestige, he already has those things. What he wants to do is restore America like he has so many failed properties around the world. It’s a massive restoration project that has his natural inclinations salivating to see if he can pull it off in his final years of life—the perfect period to an American story that he has been gloriously successful at writing. Trump is not the kind of man who is happy just dining his way into the sunset with a beautiful family and wealth beyond measure. He wants to be in the trenches fighting, and at the stage of life that he’s in currently only the restoration project of President of the United States suits his polished tastes. He has everything a man could want—literally, except one thing—completion of the greatest challenge perhaps the world has ever seen. America is a crippled superpower heavily in debt, defeated in spirit because of over 20 years of gross government mismanagement, and a country that has lost its global respect. Trump intends quite sincerely to turn all that around within a few terms as president. He even says in the book that he plans to actually accomplish more in the first 90 days than Obama has in 7 years. And I believe him, especially after reading his book, because he does get into details on how to do it—complete with examples.

Politically it was the usual stuff, discussions about the economy, taxes, the state of the nation, infrastructure, foreign policy and what he thinks he can do that’s better than everyone else. In that way Trump’s book sounds like Ben Carson’s, and Hillary Clinton’s. But there’s more to it—another layer that was not so obviously camouflaged. There is a swagger to Trump that indicates he could actually pull it off. With every other political candidate and commenter alike who have written such books—from Glenn Beck to Rand Paul—and I’ve read them all—nobody but Trump stands a chance of accomplishing even a small portion of the promises—because the political system itself is set up to prevent any action—and to feed the shadow government of lobbyists and political donations which essentially fuel all the politics of the Beltway.

Trump has a plan for just about everything and he has the confidence based on his reputation to pull off 100% of what’s in his book. I was actually impressed by his swagger, which is saying something. I have personally hired hundreds of people so I’ve interviewed perhaps thousands over the last decade and I’ve developed quite a bullshit detector. I know when someone presents an inflated résumé to me, and I know when raw passion is displayed for the hiring. Trump is raw passion with an understated résumé of which Crippled America is essentially. Getting to know Trump becomes much more evident toward the last third of the book where he talks about all his building projects over the years and when you realize just how much he’s accomplished in just three decades, its pretty earth shattering. Just considering what he did from 1974 with the Commodore Hotel in New York City to the opening of Trump Tower in 1983 is mind-blowing as an individual measurement, with just a loan from his father to take on the world of real estate in New York City which is arguably on of the most complicated and expensive in the world. He is an impressive figure radiating with confidence which is obvious in every word of his book. Based on his résumé and how he communicated it, I’d have to hire him just to see if he could do it. Our last president was a community organizer and he ran the country with that strength in his wheel house. Obama gets excited about Ferguson riots, but could care less about $19 trillion in debt. Bush the younger ran the country as a rich daddy’s boy—which he was. His dad wished he had completed the mission in Iraq, but didn’t so the boy finished the job—to his own detriment. Following the orders of his daddy was in Bush’s wheel house so he did so in that fashion. Clinton during the 90s was a free partying womanizer associated with criminals, drug smuggling and murder as governor of Arkansas. So he ran the country as if it were the mob. And that’s pretty much what we got. There hasn’t been anybody like Trump—ever. He’s successful, accomplished, and at the top of his game—and he’s even more confident than I think most people can even register. Out of all the candidates in this century or the last, Trump is the most poised candidate ever to put his name on a ticket. We have to give him a chance or we are just stupid as a nation, because he is certainly the most qualified presidential candidate.

And that’s where Crippled America gets interesting. Trump knows why the media is against him, and why the political parties are terrified of him. He’s more aware of it than even he’ll let on in his speeches—it comes out in his writing. When he is given time and a free stump without opposition he can really string together a number of complicated thoughts about matters. He’s much smarter than he lets on—that much is very clear. If Trump becomes president the entire political system falls apart. He has been a powerful political contributor and they loved him then. But now he’s crossing over into their world and he knows where the bodies are buried—and they don’t like it. The political class has been “apathetic” to say the least in the United States. They have made good livings for themselves doing nothing. They know if Trump is elected than there will be other business types who follow and a chain reaction will start that will end their way of life. Business people will begin to enter public office from the local school board president to the governors of states. The term “politician” will take on an entirely new meaning. Trump plans to run the White House like he does his businesses and that scares K-Street immensely. They will be exposed and Trump will use that leverage to get the arm twisting he needs done accomplished.

As I closed the book and thought about all the things I’m grateful for—which is a lot—I think for the first time ever I had hope for our political future. I’ve voted for people before who I thought might shake things up a bit and accomplish a nice thing or two. But Trump is offering to revamp America as a restoration project from Social Security, private sector driven health care, to making concealed carry a statewide option—like getting a driver’s license. I think I’d vote for Donald Trump just because he wants to make concealed carry good in all 50 states. I’m surprised he doesn’t talk more about that issue—because it’s a big one. He wants to simplify the tax code and demand respect from our trade imbalances. He planes to renew our infrastructure and dramatically increase our economic growth. His presidency would be a trend setting endeavor that would change all elections in the future. So for me the turkey tasted just a bitter knowing that Trump is running for president. And given his polling numbers in spite of everything that’s been thrown at him he has a great chance of winning. The political establishment however is fighting for its very life and will do anything it can to keep Trump out of the White House. The difference between my hopes for change in the past and this one is that I think Trump is just getting started and he knows how to work through that minefield and still come out of the other side dancing through the fire. Any apprehension I had about Trump was erased with Crippled America. Using his book as a résumé there really is no other option. He is the most accomplished candidate in the field to do what he says, and he’s most poised to put a stop to the current political process of fundraising and K-Street shadow governments.   If he did just 1% of what he promised in Crippled America he’d go down as the greatest president in the history of the world. But as I cut the turkey on my plate I realized that he had the potential to accomplish all 100%. And that is really something to smile about.

Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman