Donald Trump is receiving a strange amount of love from the conservative party in America. Once seen as a silly candidate, Trump skyrocketed to the top of the polls on some very nasty rhetoric about illegal immigrants, and now The Donald is sitting as high as 40 percent in the Gravis Marketing poll, while every other poll has him at 25 percent or higher. His talking points haven’t changed. He continues to call our leaders “stupid” and “losers,” all while claiming that Mexico, Japan, and China are laughing at us. What makes this so sad is that all the hyperbole rhetoric from the left about the right is sadly revealing itself through a (growing) sect of the GOP. What Trump has done is brand the Republican Party as the party of xenophobic, sexist, bitter old white men, and if the leadership of the party doesn’t take down the Tea Party Frankenstein monster, the GOP will be the dead party in no time.
Trump has offended Latinos, war veterans, women, Fox News and mainstream members of the Republican Party with numerous comments, and his message of “Make America Great Again” feels like Ronald Reagan politics on unnatural growth hormones. What makes his message so sad is that so many feel he’s speaking for them.
The Atlantic posted on Aug. 17 a series of interviews with regular Americans. Here is one quote that sums up the support for the billionaire: “Speaking from the right, I believe that Trump embodies the frustration and rage of the white middle class. This is his main support base and is an ever shrinking group that no longer feels they have a voice.” Trump used Nixon’s “silent majority” line to speak about his followers and supporters. But is this really the majority? Or is this just the squeaky wheel getting the grease?
In a GOP primary where the frontrunners are nonpoliticians (Carson was in second place in the Gravis poll), the theme seems to be, different may not be better but it’ll be different.
In fact, I believe the American people supporting Trump are just simply angry. They’re angry at a world that has changed before their eyes. They’ve seen gay marriage become legal. They’ve seen socialized health care become the new normal. They’ve seen Iran become a new economic player. They’ve seen Cuba return to the world’s stage. They’ve seen public schools adopt Common Core. They’ve seen the Ten Commandments stripped from government buildings. They’ve seen an Olympic hero become a transgender spokeswoman. They’ve seen all of this over the past year, and Trump saw this as his time to strike. They watched the America they knew become a progressive state too fast and too soon.
This crowd is angry, but isn’t allowed to be. If they are against “progress,” they fear being label homophobic or racist or uncompassionate. He’s the politically incorrect superhero. It’s not so much that his followers agree with his platform, he’s just the only candidate with a clear message promising to return to a past that never really was to a group of people who feel that the American Dream failed them. Trump doesn’t represent conservatism; he represents his own inflated ego.
If anything, Trump has become a perverse version of a Frank Capra hero. Instead of Jimmy Stewart fighting the corruption of politics, here comes Mr. Trump to represent the “mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” crowd. Trump is the Incredible Hulk of 1980s capitalism, as crafted by Oliver Stone. He’s a conservative caricature of a GOP cartoon.
For Trump to be knocked down, a GOP candidate must rise. That person needs to be the David to Trump’s Goliath. Bush isn’t that guy. Christie refuses to be that guy. Rand Paul tried and failed at being that guy. Rubio and Carson may not know how to be that guy. John Kasich could be that guy. But in reality, the only person who can be that “guy” just might be Carly Fiorina. She’s the only candidate who has dealt with the bullies in corporate America; and in the next debate, she’ll have to take him down or else the GOP can kiss true conservatism goodbye.