COMMENT: What is it Americans see in ‘The Donald’ Trump?

Donald Trump has made a spectacle of himself; yet he’s not only making headlines, but getting votes too. Joe Bulman seeks to figure out how such a worrying thought of Trump reaching presidency could very soon be a reality.

Edited by Natalie Whitmore

As Trump continues to makes the headlines, it’s fair to say the majority of us have found ourselves laughing at the radical slur and pure ridiculousness that comes out this entertainer’s mouth.

To me, and most people, Trump is a media personality first and politician second. His rise as a political figure provides a shameful example of what money can buy in America. After making billions from a “small loan of 1 million dollars”, appearing on WrestleMania (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVeVcVBW_CE if your too ashamed to watch the whole thing that just watch the last minute) and playing the lead role in the ludicrously entertaining US version of ‘The Apprentice’, this uniquely haired-business-magnate is now making serious strides in his bid to become president of the USA. This is a frightening thought, and I am sure that i’m not the only one wondering how it is even a possibility…and somehow, it is. Let’s try and make some sense of it..

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Last week Trump won the New Hampshire primary for the Republicans, and polls all across the country suggest he is favourite to win the parties nomination for president. Throughout his campaign he has suggested that all Muslims will be banned from entering the US, that he would “bomb the s*** out of ISIS”, and referred to Mexicans as rapists. But what is perhaps more concerning than his statements are the cheers he gets each time. Who are these people, and what do they seriously agree about what this billionaire, who has quietly been bankrupt previously 4 times and has absolutely zero political experience, has to say?

Unfortunately I am yet to physically meet someone who openly supports or agrees with Trump (if you do, please get in touch and I will try to help you/save your soul) but I do sense that what appeals to such people is exactly what he doesn’t have: political experience. The dominant political consensus amongst all developed counties currently seems to be ‘anti-establishment’ – just 19% of Americans say they can trust the establishment always or most of the time, and similar examples of this consensus can be found in the election of Corbyn as the Labour party leader. For this reason countless election campaigns in the last 5 years talk about ‘change’ from the existing political system that has previously failed the American population. In the absence of political experience the presidency path is paved for charisma to sway its audience- and it can not be disputed that the Donald does have charisma. At the very start of campaign he claimed to “know how to work the media in a way that they will never take the lights off me,” and he wasn’t lying.

It seems that slanderous statements can now be sold as a unique selling points in a candidates attempt to get elected. Rather than saying things in a politically correct way, Trump utilises his charisma to say things no one else will  in order to differ himself from the establishment. He is politically incorrect, and his American audience feeds off of it. By having been such an economically and internationally successful country over the last few decades, Trump hits a nerve with Americans who are wary of their international vulnerability from ISIS and economic decline in comparison to China. Trump provides a platform for citizens to really express their fears without a politically correct filter initiated by the establishment. To me this misuse of freedom of speech, echoing a voice of hate and discrimination, is the beginning of the crumbling of the federal government.

I feel that it would be too easy to be too critical of the Donald, even how idiotic he is. As concerned as we all should be by his prominence, I do not believe the world has gone mad enough yet to hand such a menace so much power. I’m in no doubt that Trump as president would further escalate the conflict between ISIS and the West (he’s already been used in ISIS propoganda videos). Yet, because of his reliance on playing into people’s fears, the threat of a president Trump grows increases as America weakens, and it appears to be weakening fast.