A recent CNN poll shows that despite mouthing off at just about everybody he finds in front of him, Trump continues to gain support.
Why? And why should I, a libertarian who thinks the presidential race is a futile endeavor toward restoring liberty, give a thought of it?
Who people support gives you an insight into what’s happening on a national level.
Trump’s success, so far at least, has puzzled many of those around me, and while I was initially amazed at his ability to stick it out, the secret to his staying power ha become very clear.
It goes back to what I said about choosing a ruler with gusto, with balls, as opposed to one who is a total backstabbing weasel. Trump obviously has the balls to say things no one else wants to say (even if he doesn’t believe it himself). He attacks his enemies fearlessly and relentlessly. He acts like he is in a war, and he is there to win.
One could imagine Trump saying that line instead of Arnie. The other candidates? Not so much. Chief among the sissies is socialist Bernie Sanders, who let two women hijack one of his rallies in my neck of the woods. How much respect can you have for a man who doesn’t have self-respect?
Trump’s shady, arrogant blowhard character doesn’t hurt his image because he doesn’t kiss ass or suck-up (how else do you explain his support among women?), but he also doesn’t let people walk over him. Which tells you what a lot of voters are looking for (and it’s not all a good thing). They’re so sick of the same candidates saying the same thing and making the same promises again and again that they’re willing to pull the lever for someone like Trump. Anything but a repeat of the last twenty years.
It smacks of desperation, and that should be an indictment against the Republican Party and the current political climate we have in place, not Trump’s supporters. Calling them stupid sidesteps the causes for why they’re throwing their support toward him.
The other reason for why people are lining up behind Trump is actually rather fascinating: Look at the politicians, the media outlets, the organizations, and the powers that be who absolutely hate his guts. They loathe him with a passion. What’s more, the most fervent members of the anti-Trump crowd equally hate and despise the same section of America that supports Trump.
The saying that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” may not work in the long-run, but for short-term strategy the psychological effect is powerful.
By the way, this is how Democrats lost the 2004 presidential election. I could write in further detail about it, but it’s all about how the argument is framed. George W. Bush became a symbol of everything his opponents hated, even though he himself little resembled it in actuality. However, the voters that re-elected him matched that symbol.
Now the scary part of why people are supporting Trump is that this desperation reveals how easily the wrong person can get elected. It demonstrates Americans will turn to a charismatic leader, no matter how awful his politics, as long as he maintains the right enemies and speaks his mind. It’s exactly how Mussolini and Hitler rose to power, by casting themselves as protecting their countrymen from communism. Trump doesn’t quite capture the nationalist spirit I’m thinking of, but he could certainly pave the way for one.
Or perhaps Americans have resigned themselves to the fact that they are going to be ruled and so it might as well be one who brings grit instead of groveling and passive aggressive pandering to the table. Better to be oppressed by a competent tyrant than an inept one worthy of ridicule.
Of course, this may just be a passing phase and in a few months he will be forgotten. This is not uncommon among presidential races.
Either way, as a libertarian living in America, it is important to know what the mood of the country is. When things turn bad, when the wrong person takes office, people like myself will be the first to get targeted for the camps.
If only people were desperate enough to consider libertarianism, instead of resorting to Trump. Or Sanders. Or anyone else who makes promises they can’t and won’t keep.