Jesse Ventura: Trump Has Taken the Exact Wrong Lessons from His Supposed Icon
Jesse Ventura and Donald Trump were astute political observers during the 1980s. But Trump has taken the wrong lessons from history, says the former governor of Minnesota.
Jesse Ventura is an American former professional wrestler, actor, political commentator, author, naval veteran, and politician who served as the 38th Governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003. He was the first and only member of the Reform Party to win a major government position, but later joined the Independence Party of Minnesota.
Ventura was a U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Team member during the time of the Vietnam War. After leaving the military, he embarked on a professional wrestling career from 1975 to 1986, taking the ring name Jesse "The Body" Ventura. He had a long tenure in the World Wrestling Federation as a performer and color commentator, and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004. Near the end of his wrestling career, Ventura started acting, appearing in films such as Predator and The Running Man.
Ventura first entered politics as Mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, from 1991 to 1995. Four years after his mayoral term ended, Ventura was the Reform Party candidate in the Minnesota gubernatorial election of 1998, running a low-budget campaign centered on grassroots events and unusual ads that urged citizens not to "vote for politics as usual". Ventura's campaign was unexpectedly successful, with him narrowly defeating both the Democratic and Republican candidates. The highest elected official to ever win an election on a Reform Party ticket, Ventura left the Reform Party a year after taking office amid internal fights for control over the party.
As governor, Ventura oversaw reforms of Minnesota's property tax as well as the state's first sales tax rebate. Other initiatives taken under Ventura included construction of the METRO Blue Line light rail in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area, and cuts in income taxes. Ventura left office in 2003, deciding not to run for re-election. After leaving office, Ventura became a visiting fellow at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2004. He has since also hosted a number of television shows and has written several political books. Ventura remains politically active and currently hosts a show on Ora TV and on RT called Off the Grid.
Ventura is the author of several books including American Conspiracies, which was recently released in its second edition.
Jesse Ventura: Donald Trump is not a fool. He’s been a friend of mine for 25 years. I call him a friend. I don’t agree with him on many of his issues. We’re 180 degrees apart. But Donald Trump is not a dumb man. You don’t acquire the wealth and the power in the private sector that Donald Trump has by being stupid. No. Donald Trump, he does things for a reason and you can bet when he does things, there’s a reason behind it. But to insinuate or to think he’s stupid, oh you will lose to him then — because if you go in with that attitude, he’ll beat you. He saw what they did with the Reform Party. He was with us back in the Reform Party back in the '90s where Pat Buchanan came in with these legions of people, took over our party, got the nomination, and then didn’t even run. He took the money and retired his previous campaign debts and destroyed the Reform Party. Trump was there then. He saw it. Well he’s doing the same thing to the Republicans that they did to us. He’s in the middle of their run. They don’t know what to do with him and he’s leading. Back in the '80s the icon of the modern day Republican Party was President Ronald Reagan, right. It seems to me Ronald Reagan’s, one of his most, most famous quotes was, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." I would have to say Ronald Reagan today is turning over in his grave over the thought that the Republicans want to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. Well if they’re going to do that, they shouldn’t be racist. They should build one on the Canadian border too because, after all, the hijackers of 9/11 came from Canada. They didn’t come from Mexico. They came via Canada. And so the whole thing’s ridiculous. Do we want to live in East Berlin? No. And Ronald Reagan would not support this. In fact Ronald Reagan probably wouldn’t even be a candidate in the Republican Party today.
The temptation is to dismiss Donald Trump as being too dumb to win the presidency. But simple-minded isn't the same thing as unintelligent, says former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura. Trump's strategy for success is to build up fear and mock his opponents with a display of utter vulgarity. It's the kind of strategy you might see in a professional wrestling match. But this behavior has nothing to do with the politicians that conservative voters count among their icons — notably, Ronald Reagan.
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