Many American voters took Donald J Trump for a joke when he announced his intention to run for the most powerful job on the planet, the President of the United States. Trump made the announcement at his 68-storey Trump Tower in a 45-minute speech on 17 June 2015. His polemic speech insulted many Americans and began a pattern of deceitfulness that characterizes his campaign.
Trump is most popular for his lavish lifestyle, real estate deals and reality television show. Many describe him as politically ignorant and clown-like. “The Atlantic” magazine called him unsuited for the presidency, in rare and tepid endorsement of Hillary Rodham Clinton, on 5 October 2016.
Initially, experts thought Trump had no chance against seasoned politicians, such as Jeb Bush, the former Governor of Florida, or Ted Cruz, as US Senator from Texas. Many expected him to drop out or cancel his campaign, as he has done on five different previous occasions in 1987, 1999, 2004, 2008 and, most recently, 2011.
Fast-forward 18 months. After lengthy campaign tours, many off-the-cuff speeches, blunt promises, debates, hard talk, controversies; trading of insults and investigations, which most candidates could not endure, Trump receives the Republican (GOP) nomination for President. Trump rode every wave with style, expertly evading certain issues and taking others head-on, all the time winning hearts with his promise to “Make America Great Again.” He promised to tackle illegal immigration, stopping the revenue drain to China and implement favourable tax policies, among others ideas. Trump warmed the American populace to this blunt business style, which defied the odds.
By 26 May 2016, Trump had won enough primaries, won enough delegates, to be the GOP nominee for President. The 70-year-old self-proclaimed real estate mogul had beaten, badly, many experienced politicians. Hillary Clinton, former Senator, from New York, and Secretary of State, is his opponent from the Democratic side.
As scary as it is, Trump is one-step away from completing a fairy-tale move to the White House. What are his chances of ending with victory? Can trump win the general election?
Pundits assessed the chances of both candidates winning. As of 6 October 2016, Clinton has roughly five-point lead in polls asking about support for all four candidates. Gary Johnson is running for President on the Libertarian ticket; Dr Jill Stein is running on the Green Party ticket.
According to RealClearPolitics, Clinton leads with 47.4%. Donald Trump trails, with r 44.4%. OddsChecker, an odds-makers based in the UK, gives Trump a one-in-three chance of winning. CNN gives him a one-in-four chance. Nate Silver, at 538.com, says Trump has a 21.3% chance of winning. Despite the ominous predictions, the chances for Trump winning the US Presidential election have never been better.
First, experience has shown that online polls do not determine who wins the presidential election. Barack Obama, the first black and 44th President of the United States, was in similar circumstances when he ran against Republican Senator McCain, in 2008. Yet, he won and was re-elected 2012. On-line surveys, such as Survey Monkey, require respondents to use a computer; not everyone is sufficiently computer-literate.
Charisma can motivate voters. Who has the most charisma, Trump or Clinton? Sadly, Trump, as Clinton is a policy wonk, through and through.
The populism of Trump reflects frustration with mainstream politicians, such as Hillary Clinton, especially those from working and lower classes. These politicians don’t represent these voters in much of any way. These are not active, politically. In 2016, they want change without appreciating the costs or the honesty of the agents of change.
Trump promises change. He promises a new way of government. He promises to help disenfranchised voters realise their hopes and dreams. “Trust me,” Trump says, “what have you got to lose.”
America has been at war against terrorism since at least 9/11. Trump pushes fear of terrorism, which motivates many voters at the edges of societal awareness. Most don’t understand the prime threat is homegrown terrorists, not immigrants; Trump is not going talk of this, at all.
ISIS, as the embodiment of pure evil, is a concern for the world, not only the USA. Trump says he has a plan to defeat ISIS, but won’t offer details, other within thirty days after he becomes president his plan will implement. Why tell the enemy what you’re going to do, he says.
The business of American, suggests an old bromide, is business. Clinton doesn’t compare with Trump when it comes to business experience; her experience is in governance.
Some votes think business experience is what America needs. Stable economic growth, some think, calls for knowing how to ensure employees are paid and earn dividends for investors. Many view governance as more of the same.
Let’s do a little thinking. Do the men of America really want to lose their 240-year hold on the highest seat in the country? Are the American men comfortable with a feminine influence over their lives for four or eight years? I doubt it. All over America, Donald Trump has revived something in the men. He has reawakened old-style masculinity. I assure you, many men will go to the polls, with only one name on their minds.
Early in his campaign, Trump promised to build a wall at the US Mexican border. He wanted to stop the flow of drugs into the US and keep rapists and other criminals out. Trump is a bit late for the war on drugs, but his idea, sadly, appeals to many Americans.
Trump wants to create a deportation force. Illegal aliens, living or working in the USA, are a “big problem,” he says. His deportation force will go door to door, day and night to root out illegals.
For many men, especially those without a post-secondary education, Trump is an inspirational figure. He gets away with treating women the way these men wish they could. This group of men believe they are powerless, on the job and at home. There's not much they can do to empower themselves, on the job, but at how, in their metaphorical castle, they want to exercise control. That circumstances usually keep them from being too controlling at home is frustrating. Thus, Trump appeals to these men. He allows them to exercise control, be manly men, vicariously. These men will vote for him. If he loses, their hopes and dreams will come crashing down.
Lastly, for now, is the forthrightness of Donald J Trump. Some asks a question, he responds directly, seemingly without much thought. The media are awash in headlines proclaiming his ignorance, but it matters not to his voter base, nor does he care a wit.
The mostly masculine form of authoritarianism, which Trump espouses, appeals to a segment of the US population. That segment is White, blue-collar men, with a high school education or less. He scares the poop out of any American that has a university education or can think straight.
For his base votes, Donald Trump is a juggernaut. He’s a man born to win, even if he must lie, cheat and steal. Despite the odds or whatever life presents, Trump says he wins. He has beaten the odds, so he claims, many times in his life. Come 8 November 2016, he may be celebrating his new role as President, of the United States of America, Donald John Trump. Yipes!
Jane Doe writes from the American South East.
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