- - Thursday, July 14, 2016

Wesley Pruden’s comment that there is “ample evidence that the Donald is an uneducated lout” reminds me of Clark Clifford’s remark that President Ronald Reagan was an “amiable dunce” (“The election to terrify us all,” Web, July 11).

George P. Shultz, who served as the Gipper’s secretary of state from 1982 to 1989, scoffed at his boss’ critics. “How could a man of supposedly limited knowledge and limited intelligence accomplish so much? How did he get elected and reelected the governor of our largest state? How did he get elected and reelected president of the United States? How did he preside over a time of unprecedented prosperity, the winning of the Cold War, and the demise of communism worldwide?” Mr. Shultz asked. “Well, maybe he was a lot smarter than most people thought.”

Well, maybe Donald Trump is also a lot smarter than many people give him credit for.

How could a man of such supposedly mean intelligence build a multi-billion-dollar fortune? How did he, a political novice, manage to dispatch 16 other Republican presidential candidates, nearly all of whom were far more polished, experienced and articulate than he? And how do we explain his nationalist-populist appeal to such widely disparate groups as religious conservatives, blue-collar Democrats and independents? As Mr. Trump continues to successfully rebuild the winning Reagan coalition — and Hillary Clinton continues to self-destruct — he looks more and more likely to end the Clintons’ political career this fall.

“Stupid is as stupid does,” Forrest Gump reminds us. Mr. Trump is anything but stupid, but some of his critics seem very, very slow to catch on.


President, Population Research Institute

Front Royal, Va.

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