By: D. DiFrancesco
I find the political climate today quite fascinating, just look at “The Donald Trump Phenomenon” that we are all living through. It is the first campaign of its type for the office of President and provides, if nothing else, a unique look into the psyche of at least a portion of the Republican Party.
Mr. Trump, a self-proclaimed billionaire has been nothing short of arrogant, abrasive and in your face and yet he leads in the early polls and not by a small margin. He has left the other candidates scrambling to grab a piece of the limelight or be buried under six feet of the Trump ego. Take Ted Cruz and his “machine-gun bacon” stunt. Although somewhat intriguing, it brought Cruz little in the way of percentage gains on Trump’s sizeable lead. Ultimately the current state of the Republican race has turned into a “who can be more outrageous than Trump competition”, one which no one is more masterful at than Trump himself.
The Fox News Republican Debate, the most watched debate in history with 24 million viewers was nothing if not unconventional with Trump rubbing the face of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus in the mud and daring him to do anything about it.
The first question of the debate was clearly aimed at pinning Mr. Trump into a corner. The candidates were asked to raise their hands if they would support whomever was the Republican Party nominee and as expected Donald Trump did not raise his hand. He stated that he would only support a nominee if he respected him otherwise he would not make that promise. This statement caused the audience to erupt in boos, but coming from Trump, what did they expect.
Taking things a step further he doubled down on his inappropriate comments about Rosie O’Donnell, he took shots at Fox moderator Megan Kelly and called his fellow candidates stupid and losers amongst other things. He also had no issue whatsoever attacking fellow candidate and libertarian Rand Paul questioning his tactics and self aggrandizing grandstanding which as you can imagine did not sit well with him. And again, even with all of Donald Trump’s bellicose antics he is leading in the polls and seems to be gaining in popularity. I can only assume that he is also taking jabs at “The Apprentice” for saying “You’re fired!” and then creating one of the greatest pieces of reality TV ever...namely his own Presidential campaign.
So what we can learn from Donald Trump’s rising popularity? We learn that there is an element of the Republican Party that is angry, angry that they haven’t been openly able to show their racism, namely their hatred of immigrants. They need someone to blame for their stations in life so they seek diversion in attacks on women, finding humor in the hideous things Mrs Trump says and attacks on the Black Lives Matter movement dismissing them as little more than thugs though not said in so many words. This one time pro-single payer proponent now Obamacare hater, promises to repeal the popular and at least partially successful plan drawing in those voters that refuse to accept the reality that the ACA is legal and the law of the land. They revel in Trump’s statements of the obvious. He points out that jobs are being shipped out of the country by the terrible trade deals that have been negotiated by our government over the years. He wants to close the southern border with Mexico to keep the “illegals” out though I don’t believe that he has much experience with the state of our southern border. He loves to state how he is the only one to come out against the war in Iraq, yet he has never been anything but a private citizen so his for or against vote really carries no weight. Regardless, Trump receives cheers and standing ovations for his stance regardless of how outrageous it is.
I guess my fascination with Trump to this point is that he can gain such a following while having offered not one single solution. When asked about his plans for any number of issues he simply answers that his plans will be huge, terrific or spectacular with not one single specific. Even his evasive answers are not enough to dissuade his followers. This fact leads me to believe that the mainstream media is underestimating Trump’s candidacy. They are calling him a flash in the pan, but if his wealth is anywhere near what he so vociferously claims that it is, he can stay in this thing to the very end regardless of what the RNC wants him to do and it appears that at least for now his followers, like the “Mexican people”, love him.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see, so get your popcorn, sit back and watch the greatest show on earth...The Trump Phenomenon.