With recent Republican polls placing Trump once again on top, his popularity continues to increase. Trump’s rise seems to signal a fundamental change in the American populous, with his voters split between those who want him to damage/change American politics, and those who truly believe in his policies.
One key reason for his increased support is his rebellious nature. He does not come across as a politician in debates and in campaign speeches and makes comments to support this. This comes as a refreshing change to voters, who dislike the “generic politician image”, and respect him for speaking his mind. These comments are evident when speaking down to other politicians during debates, by making offensive remarks about immigration and by making arguably sexist comments. However, these remarks have drawn in voters as well as repelling them. People, many of whom see American Politics as stagnant and repetitive with important changes coming few and far between, see Trump as a breath of fresh air and hope that he will “shake up” the establishment that they have become disillusioned with. While the blame cannot solely be placed on the Obama administration, it is clear that Obama’s lack of action has improved Trump’s appeal. This was evident in his latest campaign video in which he says “politicians are all talk, no action” and argues that he will “get things done”. The voters seem not to care that these “things” seems centred around immigration, with a severe lack of focus being placed on other issues, but only care that he will actively make changes and do “things”, something that they argue Obama failed to do. This also partially explains the appeal of Trump’s infamous “wall”, as many feel it will be the first real change in five years. Many hope that Trumps sheer ridiculousness could cause a dramatic change in the current repetitive political system, causing a long-term benefit. In truth, many see Trump as a protest vote.
However, some believe that he would be a good president. Numerous Trump voters are intoxicated by his dream of building a huge military so that no other country will “mess with us”, building a wall to keep “non-Americans” out and ensuring that American will become “great again”. This idea of other countries trying to “mess” with America seems to blind many voters to the true reality of international politics, and Trump has been able to narrow his blame to one single country: “China”. He has often claimed that the Chinese are taking advantage of America and that he will strive to “beat” China, as he does “all the time” in the business world. Voters respect him and hope that he can actively “beat” the Chinese, to “make America great again”. His discussions on immigration have too been centred on patriotism, by claiming that Mexicans are bringing problems to the “Great American People”, causing crime and drug abuse to increase. He argues that a huge wall must be constructed to protect the pure Americans and that the crime causing Mexicans must pay for it. This is a cause for joy from his voters, who also believe that reducing illegal immigration will make “America Great Again”. This is also true with his arguments about the military. Trump has convinced his voters that America requires a strong, intimidating army dominating the international stage.However, his voters seem unaware of the ridiculousness of such an idea.
Many argue that Trump will simply “run out of steam”, losing both his controversial nature and therefore, many voters. However, as Trump’s popularity increases, it seems as though more and more people are considering him either as a legitimate option or as a protest vote. However, does Trump have a legitimate shot at the White House? His first task would be to secure the GOP nomination, but this would be difficult. while he still remains the frontrunner, he is facing strong opposition in Ben Carson, and weaker opposition from Rubio. If Trumps appeal is maintained and the moderates do not gain significant support, the GOP will most likely select him over Ben Carson due to his results in polls. Also, Trump’s pledge to not run independently seems to provide an indication towards his support within the GOP. With the Republican nomination, as well as his huge band of voters, it seems that he could provide strong opposition to his democratic opponent. However, his opponent would greatly affect his chances. On the one hand, Hillary Clinton seems to epitomise the generic politician image that is disliked by his voters, but on the other hand Bernie Sanders passion could sway some of his voters as he does not represent the generic politician image. Either way, it seems that the swing voters would instinctively turn to the side of the Democrats (a negative effect of his rebellious nature), meaning that it would be almost impossible for Trump to win the election.
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