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Donald Trump is an honest plutocrat, which is a contradiction in terms. When he started to run for president most people laughed. A buffoon billionaire reality TV star with ridiculous hair and three trophy wives could no t be more unfit for president. Yet, it is exactly that lack of correctness which propelled Trump to the lead in the primaries. Beyond the hate and manipulation, the candidate has struck some nerves on real issues.
Anatol Zukerman, a Russian-born political analyst argued that apparently, Americans who are tired of the mountains of prefabricated political lies that are fed to them with great eagerness by the political establishment of both parties prefer a candidate who is frank about the sham of it all, albeit rude and lewd. Like him or detest him, Trump has a point when he says he is rich enough to be independent of corporate lobbyists. That points to some independence.
Plus, in the peculiar U.S. form of political mythology, when Americans see a rich candidate, they see success. And when they see someone going into politics who is not for sale, they vote for him. Donald Trump is rising on the wave of public anger with the political establishment. Like him or detest him, most Americans are angry at the political establishment that specializes in enriching itself while presumably serving the public good.
There is a deep economic anxiety driving Republican voters toward the blunt-spoken presidential campaign of Donald Trump. It is more than just anger at the political class or rebellion against political correctness. It reflects decades of lost jobs and falling wages for a swath of blue-collar Americans, who saw their opportunities diminish and developed a sense that someone has stolen something from them.
According to the recent data of the Labor Department, the share of Hispanic workers has doubled over the last 15 years, to more than a quarter of all workers. Rick Buchanan, a general contractor, said recently at a gathering of conservative activists that “the Hispanics have taken over the construction industry. All my drywall guys are Hispanic. Plumbers, painters, framers, they’re at least half Hispanic.” For white workers, he said, “these people are taking their jobs. Literally, taking their jobs. I see it. Almost all the white guys are gone. There’s almost no black guys.”
For Rick Buchanan and the likes, Donald Trump is the only candidate in the swollen Republican field willing to call out that shift and how it hurts native-born, blue-collar workers: Buchanan argued that “Trump is hitting a chord with not only the lower-income people – I consider myself middle class, and he’s resonating with me, too.”
According to March 3 report of the Washington Post, Buchanan and his fellow activists blame illegal immigration for suppressing American wages, for bleeding money from taxpayers, for sapping young workers’ hope and pushing them onto welfare. It is a perspective shared by many of Trump’s supporters, who, polls show, are drawn from a group that has taken an economic beating throughout the 21st century. Those supporters appear to be responding to Trump’s rhetoric against Mexicans, the Chinese and especially establishment Republicans, whom they blame for not doing enough to turn their fortunes around.
The big question hanging over the televised debate was not just who is able to steal the show, but also whether anyone but Trump can speak to the anxieties that are animating so many of the party’s core voters. Recent polls suggest Trump is finding the broad majority of his support among voters who did not earn a college degree and those who see immigrants as detrimental to America which are groups that overlap, but not completely.
Anatol Zukerman stated that Donald Trump is tapping into the anger and resentment of voters who feel they are being cheated by a class of people who are denying them the secure jobs and rising living standard they have earned. Voters who think the source of their pain is in Washington vote for Trump.
As to the real danger, Trump appeals to the most primal human instincts: anger, greed, fear of strangers and territorial imperative. When Hitler started his maniacal speeches in 1920s Germany, he, too, was dismissed as a political buffoon and clown. Not unlike Donald Trump, Adolf Hitler appealed to the primal instincts of the low-income brackets of society. To appease peasants and small shop owners and win them over to his cause, Hitler cast Jews as the eternal foreigners.
Trump draws on the hatred of other foreigners such as Muslims and Mexicans and the mob recognizes its leader. Stalin, another possible point of comparison from that period of European politics, eventually deported Muslim Chechens and Crimean Tartars to Siberia for their alleged collaboration with the Nazis during World War II. Trump wants to deport eleven million Mexicans because they entered the United States without documentation during peacetime. American liberals denounce Trump’s plan to stop Muslim immigration as contrary to the very spirit of their multi-national country but America is not the same country that it was 100 years ago.
Today, there are so many huddled masses yearning to escape the world’s wars and collapsing climate, that even America, let alone Europe, cannot accommodate all of them. However, some of those wars are the direct fault of the United States’ recent policies. Donald Trump wants to stop those waves and calls out both big political parties for their role in the disastrous foreign policy actions that unleashed them. Is there any wonder that he is winning the nomination?
Trump goes as far as to suggest cooperation with Russia on these crises. This flies in the face of the resurgent Cold War, but to most Americans the new Cold War looks like an invention of the hated establishment to focus yet again on foreign wars instead of addressing people’s urgent needs on the home front.
The brash and bold Donald Trump just calls it as he sees it, and people like that. Most Americans are more afraid of ISIS, whether that is a legitimate fear or not, than of Russia editing the borders of its neighbors, which is certainly not a threat to Americans. They do not approve of the expensive geopolitical games perpetrated by their political establishment. Politicians cry wolf about Putin’s annexation of Crimea, but most Americans do not really care about it as long as Russia does not threaten America.