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Funds, Flair and Fanaticism: The Donald Trump Effect

Donald Trump says he wants to “Make America Great Again!”

Can he do it? A lot of people seem to think so.

And yet, Trump is considered to be more of a class clown than a “serious” candidate. The most extreme example of this is probably the Huffington Post when they released a statement saying that they wouldn’t report Trump’s campaign as part of The Huffington Post’s political coverage and that in order to read any coverage one must “find it next to our stories on the Kardashians and The Bachelorette” within their Entertainment section.

Psephologist Nate Silver – the darling of the 2012 election – even denounced the candidate as being “The Nickelback of GOP candidates,” arguing that Trump’s “front runner status” has no real validity. By taking an average of several national polls, Silver tells us that “Trump’s favorability ratings among Republicans are barely better than break-even: 47 per cent favourable and 43 per cent unfavourable. Among the 17 Republican candidates, Trump’s net favourable rating, +4, ranks 13th, ahead of only Chris Christie, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham and George Pataki.”

Although this may be the case, there is no doubt that there has been an unexpectedly large amount of support for Mr Trump, and as interested parties, we can’t help but ask why?

Is it because the multi-billionaire represents the “American Dream” which has so miserably failed so many others? Or is it because he is fearlessly saying anything he wishes with no restriction because he simply has nothing to lose? If we think realistically, Trump may have no actual agenda to become president. However, even if he does and ends up failing – he’ll get enough publicity and public support that it’ll be a worthwhile investment for him to be making.

This brings us onto the fact if you really look into Trump’s outlandish statements; he isn’t really saying anything more ridiculous that his previous or contemporary republican counterparts. The fact is that he just says it more loudly and with the sound of cash registers ringing in our ears.

Considering 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s “questionable statements,” including the “47% gaffe” where he dismissed almost half of the population as undeserving freeloaders and his “binders full of women,” and this list of quotes from current hopefuls, Trump seems to have quite a bit of competition.

Nevertheless, it is these outlandish statements, which has caused him to be such a hit.  The statistics are that every four years the electorate is becoming approximately 2% less white and 2% more minority-based.  This is due to an increase in Hispanic and Asian – American groups and the low birth rate amongst white individuals across the US. Trump represents the white America which is intimidated by this fact despite European Americans” still being 72.4% of the population.

As stated by Jamelle Bouie in the Slate “his rhetoric – a revanchist stew of foreign policy belligerence, small government ideology, anti-elite agitation, and raw bigotry – reflects and appeals to a meaningful part of the republican electorate.” Donald Trump is the representation of republican America’s deep-seated anxieties.

After Romney’s defeat in 2012, many commentators – including some republicans – argued that the increasing influence of the Tea Party was fundamentally detrimental to the image of the GOP. This Tea Party influence was particularly prevalent when looking at Romney’s opposition to abortion and gay marriage. This interventionist perspective showed a clear departure from the traditionally Classical Liberal ideas they previously held.

At the time, Liberal republican commentators suggested that in order for the GOP to have any kind of electoral success, they would need to return to the centre of ideological thinking. This, according to them would require the Republicans to court the Hispanic vote and adopt policies which combine fiscal conservatism and a limited intervention in social affairs.

And yet, here is the rise of a man who exemplifies the complete antithesis of all of these recommendations. Trump is the sort of individual who believes that mental health can be used as an epithet, citing this as the cause of gun crime in society, rather than the existence of guns itself.

Trump’s decision that John McCain is “not a war hero” and that he was only considered to be one “because he was captured,” and his accusation towards Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly that “Blood coming out of her wherever,” after a pointed question about his perception of women during the Republican Primary debate – are just two examples of where logic simply cannot be attributed to this figure’s mode of thinking. This is probably his appeal towards the members of the US populous who are currently feeling the squeeze.

So perhaps the pundits were wrong? At this point, the media seems to be fundamentally out of kilter with Republican opinion. So despite many a news outlet stating after every controversial incident that this is the “beginning of the end” for Donald Trump, the fact of the matter seems to be this. He isn’t going anywhere yet.

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