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Deb Saunders
Debra J. Saunders
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Donald Trump's 'Fairness' Crusade

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"All I ask is fairness," Donald Trump has told the media. He was the only GOP presidential hopeful to raise his hand and refuse to pledge not to run as a third-party candidate at the Fox News debate. Now he faces a deadline — Sept. 30 — to make that pledge or forfeit the opportunity to run in South Carolina's February primary. Unfair, in Trump World, means not completely stacked in Trump's favor.

Maybe he will take the pledge. "I will say that the RNC and the Republican Party — I think I've been treated very fairly over the last period of time," Trump told radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt last month. Trump, you see, is leading in the polls.

Methinks Trump is leading because voters are more interested in sending a message to Washington about their disgust with politics as usual than in actually making the former reality TV star the nation's commander in chief. But also, Trump is a genius at playing the victim card.

Forbes estimates Trump's net worth at $4 billion. Forbes' "self-made score" gives Trump a 5 out of 10; he "inherited (a) small or medium-size business and made it into a ten-digit fortune." He could outspend all of his 16 Republican rivals put together — yet he's afraid the GOP won't play fair with him.

I should point out that Trump is interested in fairness for others. At a recent news conference, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos interrupted Trump until Trump had Ramos removed from the room. (Later Trump allowed Ramos to return and ask pointed questions.) Trump told Hewitt he had been put off because Ramos was "screaming." He continued: "I thought it was actually very unfair — not so much to me, which I guess you could say it was, but it was certainly very unfair to all the other reporters, (who) were waiting with their hands up to (ask) questions."

Trump likes to tell people that he used to be a Democrat, just as Ronald Reagan used to be a Democrat.

Get it: Don't bring up his donations to Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Clinton Foundation. It's not fair to hold Trump to a higher standard than we hold the Gipper.

Back in the 1990s, when the developer was a Democrat, he and Atlantic City's Casino Reinvestment Development Authority tried to use eminent domain to force small-business owners and homeowners out of their properties. One of his targets was widow Vera Coking, who lived near the Trump Plaza Hotel. Trump offered Coking a reported $1 million for her three-story beach-block home, which he wanted to bulldoze to accommodate casino parking. She refused the offer. The redevelopment agency tried to seize Coking's home for $251,000. With the help of the Institute for Justice, Coking fought back and won in court.

Meanwhile, Trump told The Associated Press, Coking was "a tough, cunning, crafty person" who let her property go to seed so she could "get a higher price." He told ABC's John Stossel: "It's not fair to Atlantic City and the people. ... They're staring at this terrible house instead of staring at beautiful fountains and beautiful other things that would be good." When Stossel called the attempted seizure "bullying," Trump countered that Stossel's use of the word was "very unfair." All Trump asks for is fairness.

Email Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@sfchronicle.com. To find out more about Debra J. Saunders and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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