I really didn’t want to write a blog about Donald Trump.
After watching his first Presidential Debate with Hillary Clinton, seeing how quickly he lost any sense of intelligence and debating tact, I was once again boggled at how this cartoonish buffoon could have made it this far.
Then I started to wonder, who had helped him get this far? What were the people and motivations that got him to a level of so-called legitimacy where he could potentially be a few months away from being the President of the United States of America, the last global superpower.
So, I did some research… ok, I Googled a couple of articles. Hey, I’m not a journalist from one of the American news media outlets who is supposed to hold those in power in check and report the truthahahaha, I almost wrote that without laughing! Nor am I a proponent of “truthiness”. I leave that to the masterful truth-seekers at The Daily Show, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and Last Week Tonight. All I shall attempt to do is make sense of the inexplicable and on-going support Donald Trump has gained, and continues to have.
One of the largest groups of Trump-ers are white males with less than a college education. Sadly, this is pretty obvious, but I think the focus should be on “white males”. For the past few decades, they have been the biggest and most vocal opponents of change in our society. They don’t advocate change, they rail against it. They are usually the ones who don’t see the pay discrepancy between men and women as a problem. They are usually the ones who make the off-handed racist or prejudiced remarks, usually starting with “I’m not racist/ prejudiced, but…”
In a way, I can understand their anger. Many haven’t been willing to change as society has changed. Many are also the back-bone of a countries’ economy. They are the ones who do the low-paying, labor-intensive jobs. They are the ones who are often used as an example of the “American Spirit”. They are usually the ones who still believe in the dignity of hard-work, while other more recent generations would rather not work hard at all and get everything given to them. They also see immigrants to their country as threats to the work that they take quiet pride in.
As much as I respect and admire the ideals they hold onto, ideals my Dad lived by his whole life, and passed down to my brother and I, living with out-dated, close-minded thinking only damages people and the ideals they hold. It makes people seek out someone who will ignore change and growth, at the cost of those ideals. Trump does that for many people. He becomes a voice they don’t think they have. So they support him, ignoring the terrible negativity.
That negativity is aimed at those who are different from the core white male Trump supporter. Any non-white, non-male, non-Christian, non-heterosexual are the targets of that negativity. What drives that negativity is fear, plain and simple. Many men, especially God-fearing men, are afraid of someone questioning their manliness. Homosexuals do that by their very existence. Despite the strides made by women, many men see them as inferior, or sexual objects, not equals. Non-whites are probably feared the most. From Mexican “illegal immigrants” taking their jobs, to Muslims “terrorists” threatening their lives, to Blacks trying to live a life of equality and not be persecuted or stereotyped because of the color of their skin. Trump covers all those bases. Even for those who might be moderate, who don’t actually hate any one group, but feel marginalized because their own rights have seemingly become secondary to another group. He speaks to them because they are his prime group. He feeds that mistrust.
There is also the mistrust of the government. This may be the one thing that I actually agree with. The email scandal involving Hillary Clinton revealed, much to no one’s surprise, how much of a typical politician she is. The part that struck me the most was the revelation that the Democratic Party pretty much supported Clinton from the get-go and marginalized Bernie Sanders, despite the fact they are supposed to remain impartial. This should have resulted in something more than the woman in charge, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, stepping down. But thanks to Clinton’s clout in the government, nothing happened and a huge number of Americans were disenfranchised.
It is amazing enough that Sander got as far as he did, being a Democratic Socialist, but Clinton’s manipulation and/ or acceptance of the Democratic Party’s favoritism only fanned the flames of Sander AND Trump’s supporters. Those who had listened to Trump’s rhetoric about a corrupt government and Clinton’s back-room allies suddenly saw a glimmer of truth. Along with the FBI questioning over leaked emails gave credence to all those who didn’t trust the government. It also made Clinton untrustworthy in the eyes of many who may have been on the fence.
Despite my incredulity at Trump’s continued success, I can understand why people support him. He has given voice to the voiceless, said the things that many wish they could say, and has made anger and hatred an acceptable alternative to the fear that many of his supporters have felt for too long.
As much as I’d rather see Bernie Sanders as the next President of the United States, and as much as I dislike Hillary Clinton, she is a far better choice than Donald Trump. Although I can understand the reasons people support Trump, those same people have let common sense be over-ruled by the most base emotions.
Perhaps its like when you go to a party, and the most outrageous guy is there. He says stuff and does things that a lot of people don’t care for, but a lot of others think is great and hilarious and cheer him on. But in the morning, you realize that the same outrageous guy is just an idiot who took a shit in your shoes, or pissed everywhere except the toilet, or took inappropriate pictures of your passed-out girlfriend and posted them on Instagram.
Trump is that outrageous guy. Sure he’s entertaining right now. But when the party is over, people will regret him and wonder what the hell they saw in him.