The appeal of Donald Trump... Where does it come from? Who are the people that support him?
Full disclosure: I am not American, I am a Canadian whose country borders on the north of the US. Politically, I would probably consider myself to be somewhat left of centre (although some of my friends keep telling me that I'm nowhere near as left as I like to think I am!). Being so close to the US, I tend to follow American politics since our close proximity has such an impact on both countries, particularly through trade policies. But enough about me!
I was hoping someone could help me understand the allure of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. Recent polls have shown he has taken a commanding lead over the other candidates. After hearing so many of his comments, it's difficult for me to understand that he could be so popular or that he could be a serious contender. The media, John McCain, even his own mother have all dismissed him as a lunatic.
I found some of his recent comments to be horrendous, and in Canada, I think they would have sealed his fate or forced him to resign. In the US, however, his most outrageous statements have just made him more popular in the polls. Will this be a lasting trend or is he just providing entertainment until the time the primaries roll around in 2016? Is it because the real contenders have not yet declared their candidacies?
Here are some recent Trump gems:
"The concept of global warming was created by the Chinese to make the US non-competitive."
"I will build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me,, believe me, and I'll build them very expensively. I will build a great, great wall on the southern border and I'll make Mexico pay for it. Mark my words."
"When Mexico sends its people they're not sending their best. They're not sending you, they're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're bringing rapists."
"You know, it doesn't really matter what the media write as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass."
"Laziness is a trait in Blacks... Black guys counting my money. I hate it."
"The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day."
"He (John McCain) was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."
You can probably add your own quote to this long and growing list. There's many more of them out there.
In spite of these train wreck statements, a recent poll showed Trump in the lead with 24% support of Republican supporters. His closest rival, Scott Walker received 13% with Jeb Bush trailing in third place at 12%. How does this happen?
Questions to consider:
Does Trump represent the silent majority of the Republican party? Are they just sick of business as usual and now looking for a 'straight shooter' who speaks his mind? Are people looking for an 'anti politician?' Would Trump's entry into the nomination race not just send more moderate Republicans over to the Democrats because they don't wish to be associated with such vitriol? Is Trump's campaign a gift to the Democrats? Is the media and reality television influencing our lives, with celebrities becoming our leaders and spokespeople for our causes (For example, Caitlyn Jenner representing the trans population with a new reality show and a big contract)?
As an outsider, I think there is a segment of the American population that is interminably angry, even more so during the time the Democrats are in power. They feel the government doesn't represent them, and they rally when someone like Trump comes forward. I still suspect that these people will not have enough clout to secure Trump's nomination. Even Republicans are realizing there is not much sense in pursuing divisive battles against same sex marriages or firing up the abortion debate, after losing badly in the legal courts as well as the court of public opinion. Divisive, inflammatory and racist politics do not win elections.Yet here comes a candidate who his not afraid to spew his racist venom and divide the country.
On the other hand, people were dismissive of Reagan in the early 1980's, an actor who made bad movies and got his facts wrong. At least Reagan served as a California Governor, whereas Trump has no experience to speak of whatsoever.
As much as I think that Trump is loud, obnoxious and divisive, I'd also have to acknowledge that someone in his position must be smart and that he didn't achieve his level of fame and wealth by being stupid. I'm sure he's not too worried about the opinions of someone like me,, who has found a lifetime of rewards and meaningful work in the non profit sector. Gasp!
I'm not looking for a huge debate on this topic, I sincerely just want someone to explain to me the reasons and rationale of supporting Trump and how his candidacy would benefit the Republican party.