It is easy to understand why Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appeals to so many Americans.
He is tapping into a generalized American frustration and anger at the status quo. A great number of voters believe that our national government is unresponsive to their needs and problems.
Middle-class voters see the government providing subsidies for lower-income people. They see the same governmental authorities providing services and tax incentives for the wealthy. They see nothing for themselves but rising costs. Born out of frustration, these voters are demanding disruption, not slow progressive change.
Trump is speaking to these neglected communities. He eschews political correctness. He is direct. His speech mirrors the language of the streets. He is “one of us.” He is not part of the political establishment.
He states many ideas that Americans believe but are reluctant to state publicly because of political conformity. He appears to be giving voice to the silent majority.
Our soft diplomacy has resulted in rebuffs from Russian President Vladimir Putin, from Chinese leaders and from Middle East allies. Israel – the Middle East’s sole democracy – is marginalized by our current president, Barack Obama. The media regularly airs foreign slights and disdain. Trump capitalizes on these perceived weaknesses and magnifies them. The media then publicizes his exaggerations. And his comments become reinforced. Thus his appeal grows.
By projecting an image of strength, Trump airs the belief that he can cope with foreign leaders more forcefully than the Democrats. People want to believe that Trump’s force of personality alone can right the perception that America is weak. As a negotiator, by projecting an image of strength, he wants to set the stage for future confrontations with foreign leaders. The public likes that position.
When Trump says that NATO is obsolete and that allies “need to pick up their share” and contribute a greater portion of expenses, he is viewed as correct – and people understand this. When he states that only five of NATO’s 28 members contribute 2 per cent of their GNP on defense, he strikes a chord of immediate sympathy and understanding with many American voters.
Trump is more intelligent than he is given credit for. He knows full well that he cannot deport millions of immigrants and that Mexico will not pay for a wall. He knows that his proposals will be reined in by the U.S. Congress, but that does not stop him from espousing these ideas because they resonate with an increasingly frustrated American electorate.
Many voters believe that our trade and tariff arrangements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), have had a negative effect on jobs. They may see it with their neighbors. They may feel it with their own wages. They viscerally understand that our country’s $19 trillion in debt is too high.
They believe that our country is allowing too many undocumented individuals to cross our borders. They believe that our borders are too porous, and that our perceived open-door immigration policy is wrong. The fact that the United States was built by successive waves of immigrants is forgotten.
Trump has captured beautifully the distorted mistrust of a large portion of the electorate. The details are unimportant to a large mass of voters. Their interest is to elect a strong “say-it-as-it-is” gunslinger who will make America great again.
Simplicity, political incorrectness, strength and directness are what many voters see in Trump and want in the next President of the United States.
They are willing to disregard Trump’s vulgarity, racism, sexism, vindictiveness and lack of self-discipline when compared to the continuing dishonesty of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.
To see The Post’s candidate and other ballot endorsements, go to myPalmBeachPost.com/endorsements. For Florida, local candidates in their own words, myPalmBeachPost.com/kyc. For the series of stories about all races and referendums on Palm Beach County’s Nov. 8 ballots, myPalmBeachPost.com/2016general.
WHAT TRUMP WOULD DO
Cut the top personal income tax bracket to 33% from its current level of 39.6%… Renegotiate or withdraw from existing trade agreements to bring jobs back to the U.S. … Spend $500 billion on public infrastructure, financed with bonds… Leave abortion rights issues to the states… Nominate a Second Amendment supporter to the U.S. Supreme Court… Provide police officers with anti-terrorism training, including intelligence gathering… Oppose a path to citizenship as part of any immigration reform.