by Chris Scarr
Donald Trump announced his presidential campaign on June 15th, 2015. Since then, he has gained support from approximately 43% of the Republican voter base. The major question is, how?
The rise of Donald Trump from a joke candidate to one that has won primaries in both New Hampshire, South Carolina, and others on Super Tuesday, was a political conundrum few politicians were expecting. Many elites in the Republican party have been scrambling to reduce Trump’s impact on how the Republican party is viewed, by both outsiders and insiders.
Multiple poll reports, such as the Huffington Post chart of “2016 National Republican Primary,” show that many of these attempts have been in vain, and, if anything, backfired. The appeal of Trump is that many people see him as an outsider to politics, somebody who, because of his supposed purity of not being a “corrupt, scandalous politician”, is less corruptible than the people in Washington. This is incorrect- the idea that, just because you have a lot of money, means you won’t be bribable, is deeply flawed- but it still appeals to many voters on the conservative side of the political spectrum.
The rise of Donald Trump introduces a very complicated set of problems, rolled into one man promising a solution to them all. Many factors have combined to form the political conundrum that is Donald Trump; one of the more prevalent ones is the topic of immigration. Donald Trump’s stance on immigration, while controversial, is a key component in his successful appeal to the conservative voter base. His beliefs of mass deportation and the banning of Muslim immigration have reached out to a supposed “silent majority” of Republicans. This “silent majority” believes that fear of foreign cultures and religions is perfectly justified in the age of Daesh (also known as ISIS) to the point of blatant xenophobia.
The idea of a “silent majority” in the electorate has been around since the times of Richard Nixon, who first popularized the term, and helped sweep Ronald Reagan to office in the 1980s. However, while these two were uniting the electorate against a very specific enemy, the spread of communism, Donald Trump takes advantage of this to utilize this silent “majority” against the entire, and incredibly diverse, Islamic religion.
Another large section of his appeal comes from people who say that he “speaks what’s on his mind.” While this is most certainly true, it makes for much better entertainment than politics.