Sunday, August 16, 2015

What is the Appeal of Donald Trump?

I've got a post coming up at DaTechGuy on Monday afternoon about Donald Trump in which I recount parts of a conversation we had last night with friends about Trump's candidacy. Like a lot of other voters, apparently, my friend is all in for Trump and really likes what Trump says.

You can read about that over there, but I'm going to put in my two cents about Trump here.

Sure, Trump is saying the right things (sort of, sometimes) because he's a pandering entertainer. A reality TV star. He might be a businessman, but part of that business is entertainment. He's not a conservative and I personally don't think he's serious about being president. I believe he's in there to get publicity, to agitate, to get attention, and maybe to get the candidates talking about the right issues, although I might be giving him too much credit there.

Victor Davis Hanson nails exactly why Trump is at the top of the polls:

Trump preps little. He has no real agenda. And he makes stuff up as he goes along. For such a New York brawler, he has thin skin, smearing his critics, often in creepy fashion. How can a former Democrat, once a pro-choice, pro-amnesty liberal and a supporter of single-payer health care, remain the godhead of the conservative base for weeks on end?  
The answer is that Trump is a catharsis for 15 percent to 20 percent of the Republican electorate. They apparently like the broken china shop and appreciate the raging bull who runs amok in it. Politicians and the media are seen as corrupt and hypocritical, and the nihilistic Trump is a surrogate way of letting them take some heat for a change.

Trump has reversed himself on nearly every single conservative issue.

I've been stunned at the number of presumably intelligent people who have voiced support for him. When I suggested to my friend last night that perhaps Ted Cruz would be a better candidate, he shut me down and said he'd already made up his mind for Trump.

Well, then.

Even The Washington Post, is befuddled:

Trump has supported universal health care, was once an abortion rights advocate (who has since evolved), has a record of donating to Democrats, and is (was?) friends with the Clintons. Plus, he's said this: "I probably identify more as Democrat," Trump told CNN in 2004. But for reasons we're still analyzing (here and here and here), Trump is the conservative darling of the 2016 presidential race at the moment.

It's also important to realize, I think, that while people like Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh might support Trump's right to speak out and confront these controversial issues, they may not necessarily support Trump as president.  The distinction is a large one.

And so, it's important for people like my friend last night, and others on the Trump bandwagon, to fully research the issues and the candidates, not just what they are saying today.  My fear is that we have too many voters who won't make the effort and will simply settle for a reality TV presidency.

1 comment:

Jayhawk said...

Trump "supporters" are expressing frustration, as are those responsing on the other side to Bernie Sanders. Government is increasingly unresponsive to the voting public, and voters will respond to anyone who says the opposite of what the establishment is purveying. It doesn't have to make sense, it merely has to be an attack on the establishment.

Democrats were elected into control based on a promise to end the war in Iraq and instead failed to oppose "the surge," even voting money to fund it, and prolonging the war for years more. The Tea Party, on the other side, promised to oppose raising the spending cap and to reduce the size of government, only to raise the spending cap as usual and to allow a government budget bigger than ever. The "sequester" was supposed to cap the deficit, and instead was attacked by both sides as a dangerous incursion into Congressional/Exexutive authority and summarily dismissed without due process immediately after the election, revealing the transparent fiction of the act in the first place in that it was never anything more than an election year ploy.

Trump or Sanders could get into office based on the principle that what we are doing is so totally fouled up that we have to try something different because even if it is also fouled up it can't be any worse than what we have.