Columns / Discourse / February 24, 2016

What’s the Big Deal with Trump? Not politics.

Donald Trump. Entrepreneur (to say the least). Multi-billionaire. Father of five. Former reality TV host. Former Democrat (1968-1987, 2001-2009). Former Independent (2011-2012). Former Republican (1987-1999). Current Republican (2012-present), but that, of course, just as the status of who his wife is and what European country she’s from, is subject to change. I suppose that’s something the average voter should understand, no matter what side of the party line they’re on.

Another thing most voters should understand, but may very well already, is his notoriety of hatred (racism towards Mexican immigrants, Islamophobia, etc.) and instilling anger and hysteria amongst those who follow him. This is where his TV show host character comes around: Is he actually saying those things because he believes them, or because they will get him attention, whether that be positive or negative? After all, any publicity is good publicity, and that philosophy has certainly garnered him media attention not only across the country, but all over the world.

When Trump was gaining popularity over the summer and fall, I only carried this one thought: The more attention he is given, the more popular he will become, even if that attention is negative. If CNN or NBC is talking about how crazy this rich, blonde guy (that everyone already recognizes) is, then he’s certainly going to gain popularity amongst his own party. At first, the attention was warranted; here was this guy, running for president, and he says something vile? Again? And again?

But after a while, we should have realized what was happening, and what he was doing. Kids, you’ve been duped: Donald Trump may very well have puppeteered himself into the Oval Office.

What scares most people about Trump, however, is not how often his views seem to change or his infamous spewing of hatred, but rather that there are American citizens out there supporting him and voting for him. At this rate, Trump may very well become the Republican nominee for the presidential election in November of this year. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I personally feel as if this is the biggest issue most people see with a character like Donald Trump. One may see all sorts of issues in this, such as the fact it may be horrifying that someone could be so ignorant as to do something as horrendous as vote for racism, not to mention the sheer numbers of such voters.

If we look at it from a party perspective, however, and compare Trump to what most “Republicans,” may want (not Libertarians or moderates, but members of the party), they don’t see Trump as the candidate they want. Most of Trump’s “conservative values” are overshadowed for a lot of conservatives by the fact that most of his fiscal policies resemble those of the liberally beloved Bernie Sanders. He isn’t an experienced politician, only a businessman. He is a member of “the one percent” we think of when discussing economics.

The trouble is, Donald Trump is not only a closet Democrat, just as Hillary Clinton is a closet Republican, but furthermore, no one actually knows exactly what he believes in. And that’s sort of a problem for the guy who very well may become the next President of the United States.

Shannon Caveny

Tags:  Bernie Sanders candidate discourse Donald Trump elections 2016 Knox College Republican Shannon Caveny

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