Donald Trump is not your typical Republican presidential candidate. He has a very unorthodox appeal to Republican primary and caucus voters, an unorthodox appeal that has helped him take the lead in race for the Republican presidential nomination, according to recent national, Iowa, and New Hampshire opinion polls of Republican voters.
Here’s some of my thoughts (these are entirely my thoughts, because, unlike Jeb Bush, I actually am my own man) on Trump’s unorthodox appeal to Republican voters:
- Trump says what he thinks – Not too many politicians in this country speak their mind, but Trump does. Trump has made a habit of speaking his mind, both before his presidential run and as a presidential candidate, and the right-wing corporate media in this country gives him a ton of attention. The fact that he is wealthy enough to, if he had to, self-fund an entire presidential campaign (his net worth is probably somewhere in the low-to-mid ten figures, although Trump himself publicly inflates his net worth for his own ends) gives him even more of an incentive to speak his mind.
- Trump has a giant ego – While someone with as huge of an ego as Trump wouldn’t stand much of a chance of winning a Democratic primary or caucus, being overly egotistical, which Trump is, does play well with the Republican caucus/primary electorate. To put that another way, Republicans admire jerks like Trump.
- Trump’s overt racism and sexism plays well with Republicans – Racism and sexism is not a negative with the Republican crowd…in fact, they admire bigots like Trump. Trump’s racist remarks, such as his anti-immigration tirades, as well as his sexist remarks, such as claiming that Megyn Kelly of FOX News questioned him at a Republican debate because she was on her period, play well with Republicans.
- Trump has an unusual appeal to working-class voters – For someone who is extremely wealthy and a real estate magnate, Trump actually has an ability to appeal to working-class voters who are open to the idea of voting for a Republican presidential candidate. The kind of working-class voters who are open to supporting someone like Trump are mostly white racists who view foreigners and ethnic minorities as taking their jobs away and have not just resentment, but racist resentment, towards foreigners and ethnic minorities. Trump’s tirades against Mexico, China, lenient U.S. trade policies, and immigration play very well with this crowd of voters.
While I do agree with Trump on a few issues, such as his opposition to Common Core State Standards and criticism of U.S. trade policies that are far too lenient towards our largest trading partners and have cost America thousands of jobs, I’d never consider voting for Trump. While, admittedly, I’d be seen by many as a poor, left-wing version of Trump if I ever for public office, Trump is way too much of a blowhard, egomaniac, bully, and bigot for me to consider voting for him. Also, if Trump were to self-fund most or all of his presidential campaign, that’s just as much of an undue influence on the political system as politicians being bought off by wealthy campaign donors.
Regarding whether or not I think Trump can win a general election for president, I think that he’d defeat Hillary Clinton, but lose to Bernie Sanders. Although Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney are not one and the same by any stretch of the imagination, Clinton can be compared to Romney in a way: She’s perceived as out of touch with ordinary people and part of the political elite, which is what cost Romney the 2012 presidential election. On the other hand, Sanders can appeal to the kind of persuadable working-class voters that Trump would need to win, in that Sanders is a stronger opponent of free-trade policies than Trump is and comes across as more presidential than Trump does.