KingMidget's Ramblings

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The Why of Donald Trump

As I have more and more conversations with people who ask how Trump can be so popular, I’ve been thinking about writing this post for the last couple of days.  Unfortunately, somebody beat me to it … Kevin Drum.  In one word, he describes it.  Resentment.  It’s that simple.  You may not see it where you live or in the people around you, but we live in a sea of growing resentment.

I live in a blue city in a blue state, a cocoon of liberalness, but even in my blue state, I am surrounded by conservatism — in the foothills to the east and the farmland to the north and south.  A lot of long time conservatives populate those areas.  And in the rest of the country, in the South, in the Midwest, in some of the Mountain States, there are huge swaths of this country filled with conservatives and people on the right-wing fringe who have spent years and decades in similar cocoons — only they are dominated by different beliefs and leaders than the cocoon I live in.

Before I go further … please understand that I’m not claiming all conservatives are a particular way.  I’m not claiming all conservatives are filled with resentment.  Or like Donald Trump.  In fact, I know that last part isn’t true because pretty much every conservative I know is also asking the question — why Donald Trump?  I’m also not claiming liberals don’t have any resentment of their own.  Look no further than Bernie Sanders for the liberal response to our resentment issues.

But when it comes to a certain faction in this country, they are filled with resentment.  And they have had it with traditional politicians.  The House of Representatives has been led by Republicans for years now and nothing has changed — from this faction’s perspective.  Now, the Senate is led by Republicans and nothing has changed — from this faction’s perspective.  Traditional politicians have not achieved the objections of this faction.  Abortion is still legal.  Political correctness still rules the land.  Black Lives Matter.  Taxes, taxes, taxes.  Immigrants are stealing their jobs.  Their American Dream isn’t what they thought it would be.  They want to take our guns.  The list could go on and on and on.  And so, hell yeah, Trump isn’t a traditional politician and he says what he wants.  He says what the faction wants to hear.

But what it really comes down to is resentment that their way of life is no longer the dominant way of life in this country.  They want to be able to say what they think when they want to say it.  They want to go back to the bygone era when men were men, women were women, and white people ruled this nation, when Taco Bell was the only Mexican food around, and you could make fun of whoever you wanted to make fun of without being called out for it.  Disabled people.  Fat people.  Women.  Minorities.  It’s a far easier world to live in, don’t you know.  And they desperately want to go back to those days.

Before I go further … I share a bit of their resentment.  I’m tired of the victimization culture we live in today.  Everybody is a victim.  Every slight is worth on outrage and a protest.  Every thing must have a movement.  Even the whacko right is getting in on it with their claimed “War on Christmas.”  And actually, Donald Trump is the ringleader of the victimization of the right with his claims that he must be treated fairly during the Republican campaign.  Before the campaign really got underway, he was claiming, what, advance victimhood?  But I digress.

I live in my cocoon.  You live in your cocoon.  We don’t always see what’s in other people’s cocoons.  We need to get out of our cocoons because there’s a whole lot out there we don’t see, or don’t want to see.

The way I figure it is that Trump is at about 25-30% support in the Republican Party.  I don’t anticipate he’ll ever get much higher than that, particularly once the field narrows a bit more and more support goes to the Rubios or the Cruzes or the Bushes left in the race.  But that 25-30% — yes, those are the people on the right side of the political debate in this country who’ve had it and love what Trump is doing.  He defines political correctness and every day he says what his supporters wish they could say.  He thinks out loud what they say amongst themselves and wish they could should to the skies.

It’s resentment, folks.  Resentment that their way of life is no longer the one that dominates in this country.  They’re scared and angry and they’re not going to take it anymore.

My one big fear?  That something happens in this country, like a serious terrorist attack, that turns all of that anger and resentment into a fear that metastasizes into a cancer that grows to a larger pool of voters between now and next November.


6 responses to “The Why of Donald Trump

  1. Carrie Rubin November 28, 2015 at 9:44 am

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s a new world and the face of America is changing. There are those who aren’t ready to change with it.

  2. sknicholls November 28, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    We share the same fear. And it’s exactly the sort of thing terrorists play into…they welcome the confrontation. Then they can play the victim/martyr.

  3. Kevin Brennan November 29, 2015 at 8:08 am

    I agree with a lot of what you say here, and it’s beginning to feel like a tipping point. Interestingly, I now live in a red part of a blue state, and there’s a strange movement going on up here called “State of Jefferson.” Seems the rural counties of California want to secede from the state and form their own tax-free oasis. Where would all the revenue come from to run this new state? “Lumber receipts.” Oy.

    The constant emphasis on taxes is really this resentment you’re talking about. They don’t like paying for other people’s problems. (Though, ironically, they don’t mind taking Social Security and Medicare, etc. etc.)

    I remember Ross Perot having the same sort of base as Trump. The difference now is that Trump can say anything he wants, and the base eats it up. They seem to have no shame.

    As for Bernie Sanders, I don’t see him as a resentment figure. I see him as a counter to Hillary Clinton, raising classic liberal positions that she would just as soon not have to embrace for the general election. You wouldn’t hear her talking much about income inequality if she could avoid it.

    • kingmidget November 29, 2015 at 9:24 am

      Yes. The resentment has a lot to do with taxes as well. What I always find fascinating is that when polls are done of what government functions the anti-taxers would cut, they can’t come up with anything they would cut except for things that are a drop in the bucket. The reality is that this country spends very little on welfare programs. You also live in an area that is outraged over the additional tax they have to pay for fire services … which is just a perfect example of the problem.

      As for Bernie Sanders … I view a lot of the resentment as also stemming from the growing economic divide between the 1% and the rest of us. While the right wing goes off on its xenophobic, racist, slam the doors, no tax reaction, the left responds to it by toying with Bernie Sanders as a serious candidate. In other words, the right’s reaction is completely misdirected, while the left’s is right on target.

      • Kevin Brennan November 29, 2015 at 10:45 am

        Very true. Though no one on the left really thinks Sanders can get the nomination.

        Funny how, when you’ve lived long enough, you realize you’ve been seeing the same thing over and over again for years!

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