Donald J. Trump! Provocateur, agitator, rebel, businessman, presidential candidate. He is brash, uncouth, unconventional, and at times just plain socially unacceptable. In spite of all of this, people are flocking to him and embracing his message. Some dismiss him as a clown, others say he is not serious, yet others call him a fool. What is this man’s appeal? The answer to this question is not so difficult, and in fact; it is plain for anyone who is willing to look beyond the narratives and the clichés to see. Mr. Trump has tapped in to dissatisfaction amongst the people, he has touched the collective nerve of a populace that is tired with business as usual, and is fed up with the political class. He has managed to awaken people to the political process in a way that few others have been able to do. Love him or hate him he has gotten our attention.
In an age when it is in vogue to bash ones country, to point out only the things that are wrong in America, to portray it as an unjust society, and when patriotism is woefully out of fashion, Mr. Trump is unapologetic about his love for this country. He does not apologize for America being the country that it is. He laments that America is being outmaneuvered by other countries in trade deals, and other agreements like the Iran nuclear agreement. He points to the massive trade imbalance with China, Mexico and other countries. After years of America’s borders not being protected, and people flocking to this country illegally, Mr. Trump talks of protecting our borders, and protecting American workers affected by the influx of low wage unskilled labor. In Donald Trump, people see strength; he is unaffected by the shackles of political correctness, and says what is on his mind. In today’s America, when people could lose their jobs for voicing what others deem to be offensive speech, or the wrong opinion, when people are threatened by government officials for their religious convictions, they like Mr. Trump’s cavalier attitude. He is not afraid of being labelled a racist, misogynist or any other label that people try to pin on him.
These are just some of the reasons why Mr. Trump is so popular. It is not rocket science. The people who support him are not stupid, nor are they bigots, in fact; they are tired of having their legitimate concerns brushed aside by political elites in both parties over a long period of time. They are motivated by love of country, and the prospect of what they see as someone who is willing to fight for them. These people are willing to look past his flaws and his rough edges because they believe that he can and will do what he says he will do. They have experienced governance against the will of the people, and seen promises broken time and again by professional politicians they are willing to take a chance on an outsider.
People love Donald Trump because he does not maintain a defensive posture. When he is accused of bigotry, when any pejorative term is thrown at him, or he is attacked in any way; he does not play into the narrative the way that members of his party do all of the time. He does not assume the guilt that others try to put on him. They see in him a sort of everyman who is willing to fight. As one person put it “Mr. Trump champions the things he believes in”.
For those worried about belittling the office of the Presidency, that was accomplished a long time ago when a sitting President literally used his office as a place to have a nineteen year old intern perform fellatio on him. The office of the Presidency was demeaned when that same President committed perjury in a sexual harassment case that was brought against him (while he was President) ended up losing his law license in his home state, and suspended from practicing before the Supreme Court. The political process leading to the Presidency was tarnished when the American people decided that they did not care that more than eight women accused Bill Clinton of either sexual assault, rape, or sexual harassment. The process was further corroded when candidate Barrack Obama was blasting “ninety nine problems but a b….ch aint one from the speakers at one of his rallies back in 2008 when the Vice Presidential candidate on the other side was a woman, or when Celo Green was gleefully singing his hit song f…..k you while simultaneously giving the middle finger at a Barrack Obama fundraiser back in 2012.
As people get on Mr. Trump for demeaning the process. The lead candidate on the other side, a few years ago, during her first run for President; claimed that she came under fire while getting off a chopper on an official visit in Bosnia. It was a lie and she later apologized. As Secretary of State she conducted her official business on a personal server at her home seriously jeopardizing the security of this country. In any other job she would have at least have been suspended (if not jailed), instead she is running for President, and her supporters do not care.
There is always talk about using diplomacy when it comes to dealing with despots and other tyrannical regimes around the world. Surely, if Mr. Trump wins the Presidency they will make accommodation for an American leader who is rough around the edges.
This is not a defense of Mr. Trump’s behavior. It is often despicable. This is just an attempt to add some perspective to the Trump phenomenon, and it is definitely a defense of the people who support him.