Trump – the cultivation of demagoguery
In a brilliant essay, published on ‘Buzzfeed‘, McKay Coppins offers his insights into what motivates a man like Donald Trump to ascend the greasy pole of politics to take on the Republican candidacy in the up-coming U.S. Presidential elections.
It is the sort of insightful analysis that allows one to have a glimmer of understanding what motivates a man to enter into what is most likely the most vicious politics on this planet. Also probably the most expensive.
But whilst Coppins paints a reasonable picture of Donald Trump the person, he glosses over what has made him so popular with up to 45% of American voters, according to a recent NBC poll.
Trump has stunned people by defying not just the odds, but the powerful, entrenched Republican establishment. He fought off sixteen other candidates – including seasoned politicians.
He has used the mainstream media and gained free publicity not accorded to any other candidate. According to either the New York Times or MarketWatch, that free publicity is valued at anywhere between US$2 billion to US$3 billion.
His most effective strategy has been to make outrageous statements;
- Trump says he will build a wall to keep Mexicans out of the United States
- Trump called Mexican immigrants drug dealers, rapists, and criminals-in-general
- Trump wants all illegal Mexicans deported from the United States
- Trump wants to ban Muslims from entering the United States
- Trump has called on the registration of all muslims in the United States
- Trump stated that the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre should have been armed; “If the people so violently shot down in Paris had guns, at least they would have had a fighting chance.”
Trump is very gung-ho on gun-rights for Americans
- And Trump expresses demeaning views of women, with Rosie O’Donnell and Megyn Kelly as examples
These vocalised opinions, and others fit perfectly with the typical American right-winger/conservative. They are views more often than not expressed by supporters of the US Republican Party.
Republican political figures – especially those on the far-right – have often endorsed right-wing sentiments that appeal to their right-wing/conservative constituents. Sentiments that are usually reactionary when it comes to misogyny; homophobia; hostility toward ethnic groups; xenophobia; religious bigotry; pro-gun; etc.
This is the very essence of the right-wing constituency of the Republican Party.
This is what Donald Trump has tapped into. It is red-neck territory that other Republican Presidential contenders have never dared venture into.
In September 2012, Republican candidate Mitt Romney was caught off-guard with a secret video-tape of comments he made at a closed door fund-raising event;
“There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.
All right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.
These are people who pay no income tax.”
The comments were the sort of conservative bigotry parroted by the uninformed; the resentful; the judgemental – in short right-wingers who believe the nonsense that Romney was spouting.
But by October, Romney had apologised for those comments on the Fox Channel’s Hannity programme,
“Clearly in a campaign with hundreds, if not thousands of speeches and question and answer sessions, now and then you’re going to say something that doesn’t come out right. In this case I said something that was just completely wrong.”
Trump does not apologise. He ratchets up his outlandish invective because a sizeable chunk of the American public thinks and often expresses similar reactionary views.
Which makes it deeply ironic that the Republican Party hierarchy so despises Trump, and has tried every ‘trick in the book’ to undermine his chances to become the Republican candidate. Ironic, because Trump not only verbalises what many in the Republican Party think – but is also willing (according to his rhetoric) to act on it.
After decades of right-wing, reactionary sentiments endorsed and exploited by the Republican Party, they now have a candidate who publicly expresses those views.
That is the “secret” of the rise and rise of Donald Trump. There was fertile ground, carefully prepared after decades of conservative, reactionary intolerance. Decade after decade of bigoted, moralistic views.
Donald Trump simply planted himself in that fertile ground. And grew and grew and grew.
The real surprise is that the Republican hierarchy are themselves surprised. Did they never foresee that one day a shrewd, manipulative operator would make full use of the fertile soil of conservatism that had been so carefully laid over the years?
Donald Trump is not some alien outsider to the Republican Party – he embodies the naked spirit of the Republican Party, with all the P.R. spin stripped away. Donald Trump is the Republican Party.
The Republican hierarchy are powerless to stop their own political scion – a product of their own right-wing bigotry. He is their “Frankenstein’s monster”; a creature of their conservative values.
And the creature is loose.
Buzzfeed: How the Haters made Trump
New York Times: Who Is Running for President?
New York Times: $2 Billion Worth of Free Media for Donald Trump
The Guardian: Mitt Romney under fire after comments caught on video
International Business Times: Romney Apologizes For ’47 Percent’ Comment – ‘I Care About The 100 Percent’
Previous related blogposts
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 21 July 2016.
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