Monday, March 25, 2019

Trump University and Laureate International Universities

If you’ve made any sort of study of Donald Trump and his business failings, then you know all about Trump University. It’s one of the 13 biggest Trump business failures, which includes Trump Airlines, Trump Beverages, Trump Steaks, Trump Mortgages, Trump Magazine and Trump Casinos.  As the New Yorker put it recently, “ . . . [the] United States is facing a high-stakes social-science experiment. Will one of the world’s leading democracies elect as its President a businessman who founded and operated a for-profit learning annex [Trump University] that some of its own employees regarded as a giant rip-off, and that the highest legal officer in New York State has described as a classic bait-and-switch scheme?” One of the affidavits of a former TU salesman states, “[W]hile Trump University claimed it wanted to help consumers make money in real estate, in fact Trump University was only interested in selling every person the most expensive seminars they possibly could.” The affidavit concludes, “Based upon my personal experience and employment, I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme, and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.”

“The Clinton campaign is clearly hoping that Trump University will be to Trump as Bain Capital was to Mitt Romney—a way to portray him as just another selfish rich guy who is out to profit at the expense of ordinary folk. Commenting on Twitter, Clinton’s press secretary, Brian Fallon, wrote “Trump U is devastating because it’s a metaphor for his whole campaign: promising hardworking Americans way to get ahead, but all based on lies.”

You’d think, in other words, that the Clinton campaign has found the perfect symbol to fight Trump.  Trump cheats poor students and rips them off in the same way that he intends to rip off the entire country if he’s elected President.  There’s only one problem: Bill Clinton has been similarly involved in rip-off private education.

As the the Trump campaign has pointed out, Bill Clinton was the “honorary” Chancellor of Laureate International Universities from 2010 to 2014.  And in this “honorary” position, he was paid $16.5 million. So while the Clinton campaign wants to use TU against Trump, “It certainly will not help Hillary Clinton convince undecided voters that she’s committed to reining in for-profit education when her husband has made millions from it.”

Those of us who are dead set against Trump but really don’t like the Clintons much more can look upon the situation of TU vs. LIU as a perfect example of why the 2016 Presidential situation disgusts us.  Both Trump and Clinton are cheats and liars.  Bernie Sanders was honorable but he lost, in part because he was so honorable.  Jill Stein would be a good substitute, but she is unlikely to get enough votes to do more than be a spoiler, probably for Clinton.  So what should we do?

We should wait until mid-October 2016 and then take a good, hard look at the polls.  If you’re in a deed blue state like California, then Hillary will probably be leading by a lot, and it’s safe for you to vote your conscious: Stein, Sanders, or whomever.  Similarly, if you’re in a deed red state, like Alabama, you can likewise vote your conscious.  But if you’re in a swing state and the race is close, then you’ll vote to prevent Trump from winning.

In the meantime, find a representative or senator who is progressive and in a tough race, and spend your time and money support him or her.  At the end of the day, it’s the makeup of the Congress that’s going to make the difference for the next two years.  And don’t just hide your head and give up.  Do whatever you can.

We all appreciate whatever you can do.

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