Why Donald Trump is winning
18th Jun 201616m05s
I want to talk about Donald Trump and his meteoric rise to being the current nominee of the Republican Party. And most likely, he's going to be confirmed as that in July, and be the potential next president of the United States.
A lot has been written about Donald Trump. I remember when he first announced his candidacy and gave that now almost infamous speech. Where he derided Mexicans, calling people crossing the border rapists, etc. I remember thinking to myself at the time: there's no way this guy's going to last, there's no way he's going to last more than a couple of weeks on the airwaves. But he did. It was around that time that I felt that there's something there.
I don't agree with his approach, I don't even necessarily agree with his solutions for the problems. But I think that he knows how to market himself as a potential presidential candidate, at least as far as the Republican Party's concerned. And now I feel increasingly so, as far as the general population in America is concerned.
Last year I decided to put money on this. So I bet on Donald Trump becoming the Republican nominee because I thought there's a chance this might happen.
I didn't bet a lot of money, so I'm not going to win that much. Having said that, I remember some of my friends questioning my decision to do this because they were so convinced that he wasn't going to. Most of the people in my immediate circle - my acquaintances - are more left-leaning. They're the kind of people who would support Bernie Sanders instead of Donald Trump.
I listened to Bernie speak; I watched a couple of interviews, especially one he did with Fox, and I thought: this guy is solid, this guy really knows what he's talking about, he really cares, he seems genuine. And not just from his policy proposals and his past voting record, but just from the way he talks as well. But, I felt that perhaps Clinton has an unassailable lead. On the other (republican) side, I felt that Trump had the reality T.V. know-how to understand how to market himself in front of an audience, how to get the media to print what he says, and how to make himself relevant and stay relevant within the media for weeks and months on end.
And it was based on that that I made that gamble, and luckily, from a financial point of view it paid off!
Obviously a lot of people in America are upset; people who don't support Trump are very upset that he's managed to come this far. I read a number of articles in almost every publication denouncing Trump, announcing that he would soon lose, that it was only a matter of time, and that there's no way he can win. We've heard Obama come out, three, four, maybe five times, and state unequivocally, "Oh, Donald Trump is not going to be the next president".
He has no idea what he's talking about, really. After all, how can he know? How can he predict what's going to happen? And having said that, you can see why he's saying that. He's so certain, based on everything he knows about the world, that there's no way people are going to vote Donald Trump in.
But things change. Situations change. I think people give Donald Trump a lot less credit than he deserves. He's a lot smarter than a lot of people seem to think he is. I read that he actually spent almost two years developing the "Make America Great Again"., It's a catchy slogan. And even though it's a derivative - to put it nicely, or a rip-off, to put it not so nicely - of Reagan's slogan, nevertheless it's catchy and he's obviously put some time into coming up with it.
I want to talk about how some people seem to think that there's something terribly wrong with the fact that Donald Trump can gain power in America. That it wasn't supposed to be like this, that there's some manipulation that's taken place, or that Trump has steamrolled people into submission, etc. I've had conversations like that with people where they've come out with this viewpoint. My feeling is that he's a master manipulator; he's way ahead of the pack in terms of understanding how to work the media and understanding how to work the people who are trying to take him down.
He's a great troll; he's one of the biggest trolls on Twitter; he says outrageous things. He recants them sometimes but not directly, so it always appears like he's never backing down. He always doubles down on the things he says. The latest example of this was him calling Senator Elizabeth Warren by the term Pocahontas. I've got to admit, given that no one can prove with certainty that she actually has Native American heritage, it's a little bit funny. It's offensive, but it's undeniably funny as well, I have to say.
But Trump's been doing this for a while now, seeking attention in this way. He even wrote in his book (The Art of the Deal), that bad press is better than no press. So he doesn't mind what they're saying about him as long as he's in the news. As long as people are getting to see his name, hear his name, and see his face on TV, I think he's more than happy.
The creator of "Dilbert" - Scott Adams - said Trump's doing one of the classic techniques "that they teach in meditation - pacing and then leading". He's pacing in the sense that he's saying the things that the base wants to hear. Once they're convinced that he's on their side and that his thinking is aligned with their thinking, he can then lead them in the future onto policy positions that they may not have supported previously.
Now if that really is what Trump is doing, then frankly it's pretty smart of him to do that. If you want to convince the Republican base that climate change is real - and I'm assuming Trump would - then this would be the way to do it. Especially given that people have been spending years convincing them that it isn't real.
One of my friends said to me: "How can Donald Trump get so much power? How can he be doing so well?". I started thinking about what Donald Trump represents and realized that almost every country in the world probably has somebody similar to Donald Trump. Not necessarily someone who's also a billionaire and trying to become the president, but somebody who's boisterous, who dabbles in demagoguery and who speaks the way Trump speaks. Who uses the same sort of mechanisms of manipulating the media and who has a thirst for recognition. A thirst for recognition, a thirst for admiration, a big ego. Who wants to gain power but who's also maybe a patriot and actually does care about his or her country. And the thing is, there are people like that in every country.
If you're one of those people who thinks Donald Trump is a bad person and that he shouldn't become the president, well guess what? Every country has bad people who want to get into power. I'm not saying Trump's a bad person. I'm saying that even if you assume that he was, he's no different to people in other countries who want to get into power. But what's happening in America is that a lot of people are willing to vote for Trump, to vote him into power. Clearly they think he's a great person, even though a lot of other people don't agree (in particular, Bernie Sanders supporters!).
Why are so many Americans voting for Trump? If he's supposedly such a terrible candidate, why are so many Americans voting for him? This has been written about plenty of times. He's not politically correct, he speaks his mind. Even if Trump says something that you think is stupid, that you think is outrageous, you know that this is the raw, unfiltered man coming through, this isn't somebody pretending to be someone else. He loves himself too much to pretend to be anybody else!. He's going say exactly what he thinks. You know that when he says something, he probably believes what he's saying, even if might not be factually accurate. And the fact that he doubles down on the insults he dishes out to people, the fact that he doubles down on his positions even if people suggest to him that his positions are silly or unrealistic - yeah, he really does believe what he's saying.
There's an authenticity in that. Bernie Sanders is very similar. He is also authentic, which is also why people like him. Nether of these guys are part of what they call the "Washington cabal", and that alludes to the fact that they speak their mind and come across as authentic.
The other reason people are voting for Trump is because he's voicing opinions that other mainstream politicians and even the mainstream media refuse to voice. For example, he talks about radical Islam. There was the tragic shooting in Florida a couple of days ago. Some people are saying this is due to Islam; some people who don't want to blame Islam are saying this is due to mental instability. All kinds of reasons have been bandied about. Trump's coming out and said, "Well, why isn't Obama talking about radical Islam?" And it's actually a good question. President Obama refuses to use those words. There are a lot of people in the country who have the same feeling as Trump, who also have that question in their minds: why don't president Obama or Hilary Clinton use these words? Why don't they name radical Islam as a cause of terrorism?. Trump is using that term. Trump is bold enough to call it out. People hear that and then conclude that this guy is speaking to what they're thinking and that he's saying what nobody else is willing to say. They then trust him more. And he's done that on a number of issues, and I think that's what people like about him.
He promises the world. Trump says he's going to make America great again, that he's going to replace Obamacare with "something fantastic, something amazing" 😂. Scant policy details. Ok, he's got some details in there - freeing up the markets, better trade deals, etc. He says he's going to bring manufacturing back. Who knows how he's going to do this? just by levying import taxes? From what I've read, I haven't come across anything which tells me that's definitely going to work to help bring manufacturing jobs back.
In any case, he's making a whole bunch of promises and people are going along with it. Why? He's already convinced them that he understands what they're feeling; he's already convinced them that he's thinking what they're thinking; so even if he's a little scant on the details, people are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. None of the other politicians are bringing isues to the table in the way he is. So I can see why people are voting for Trump.
Having said that, it's still interesting that he is able to get away with so much. He's able to get away with promising so much and revealing so little about the details about how he's going to achieve these things. But then the question is, well, how many of those things are realistic? Especially the big ticket items. Where he talks about how he's going to get rid of the debt, the national debt, in a short space of time, I don't know how he's going to do that. again, manufacturing jobs. How are you going to bring the manufacturing jobs back? And it doesn't really matter, I mean, I'm just picking on items that I felt were quite unrealistic. I don't actually know if it's impossible to do these things, maybe it is possible, I mean, maybe nothing's impossible like that. It's interesting that people are giving him the benefit of the doubt.
This comes back to a point I was making to a friend, who is a Bernie supporter. My point to him was: "Why get angry with Trump? Why get angry with Trump because he's saying things that you deem are racist, or he's making promises that he might not be able to fulfill? Which is no different than most politicians, anyway. Shouldn't you be questioning why people are voting for him in the first place?". Why are there so many people who aren't critically thinking about the things Trump is saying? Why does this happen every time in an American election? Somebody comes along, promises much, and people immediately believe in that person. They invest their emotions and their energy into that person. We saw this with Obama: "Yes, we can" and "Change we can believe in". So many people bought into this idea - that Obama's going to change everything.
And this leads into my next point, which is specifically about American presidential elections. I find that Americans tend to put all their eggs into this one basket. They think if that if they just elect the right person, he or she can fix everything. And inevitably that doesn't happen, because there's only so much a president can do even with the best of intentions. The president has to work with congress, which means working with a lot of people who didn't vote for the president, and didn't support the president. It's unrealistic to expect the president to be able to do everything. Therefore, isn't it also unrealistic to want to invest so much so much energy and passion into electing somebody. Even if you're convinced of the notion that they really are going to make America great again and make everything awesome again.
On the corollary, when I see how people get involved in elections in America, in a way it's cool that people are so civically engaged. At the same time I feel that they are almost hoping that what that person's promising to them is going to really happen. When Trump says he's going to make America great again, cure the national debt and bring the manufacturing jobs back, people really, really want that to be true. Even if deep, deep down they'll have some doubts about it, they'll think: "Well, I don't know how he's going to do that, but let's just get him elected, and give us the best chance of making it happen". It's almost this very optimistic viewpoint that people have, or they seem to have.
Choosing optimism over anything else - deciding to believe that this person's going to really be able to pull it off. And that's what I find most interesting about this, because without that culture of optimism that exists in America there's no way Trump would be winning so much as he is now. Even with all his techniques, even with all his skill, all his know-how of media manipulation, it would have to be to an audience who are optimistic and who buy into the ideas he's selling so profoundly. That's the only way he could make this work.
Thinking about my country - the UK - I don't think it would work the same way there. I just don't think it would work. We're just not trusting enough of politicians; we don't trust what they say. That's just something that I find really interesting about American elections.
I think he's going to keep doing well, I think he's going to stand a very good chance against Hillary. I read an article the other day which stated that mocking Trump is probably the only way you can bring him down. Showing him as weak, showing him as a "stump-able" (his fans like to say he's "un-stumpable") would be the only way to bring him down. So, Hillary would have to "stump the Trump" to bring the Trump down. Knowing what I know about Hillary and seeing how she does speeches, I don't think that she's going to be able to do that.
For me and for a lot of us it's going to be very, very entertaining watching Trump go against Hillary!