Trump’s Success is a Symptom of Uncertainty
Donald Trump continues to break the mold of American politics. The businessman’s appetite for controversy seems insatiable, but more importantly, voters are lapping it up. Had past candidates remarked on Muslims and immigration so provocatively it would have ended their campaigns – possibly their careers. But the stream of contentious rhetoric that propels Trump is now attracting top brass Republicans.
Trump personifies quintessential American confidence. Leaping carelessly into hubris, he said he could shoot someone and still not suffer electorally – the vote of his victim seemingly superfluous. But Trump has every right to feel uplifted as he is bolstered by polls that promise real results as the battle for the White House heightens.
Donald Trump’s success rests largely on reactionary statements that resonate in uncertain times. Hysteria over potential terrorism, riots over race relations, and heated debates over guns are idyllic ground for iconoclasm and demagoguery.
Legions are drawn to this ‘no-nonsense’ rhetoric. But issues like terrorism and gun violence are incredibly complex, and Trump offers very few nuanced answers to these complex and divisive issues.
The poor Democrats are beset with the burden of incumbency. President Obama never could have lived up to the electorate’s expectations. Hillary Clinton’s presumptions of a smooth road in the primaries seem rehearsed and defensive and are no match for the oratory of Bernie Sanders.
Sanders has captivated the youth vote, for whom the word ‘socialism’ is not poisoned by the Cold War strains of McCarthyism. The country will not adopt socialism per se but many Americans do want the radical change that Sanders envisions. Trump’s and Sanders’ appeal says more about the mood of the country than the candidates.
This campaign continues as a circus of sound-bites with precious little on the nuances of policy. Whether it’s building walls or providing healthcare as a ‘right,’ whoever wins the election will find that big talk holds little resonance in the corridors of Congress or diplomatic circles. The new president must win the confidence of Congress or America’s burning admiration for radical change will intensify.