Why Trump?

Monday, May 2, 2016

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems to us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

— Yours truly, Donald Trump

What am I missing about Donald Trump’s appeal as a Presidential candidate? If you were expecting a balanced political perspective, unfortunately that's not what this piece is about. I am no expert on our political situation. Despite that, I am intrigued by Trump’s support and want to understand why Trump is appealing.

We know he is racist. Yes, he is sexist. Is there any debate about that?

Ideally, I’d like to think that people believe that being racist and sexist are unacceptable traits in a leader. But it seems like those traits have had little to no impact on people’s perception of Trump’s appeal as a candidate. How does this happen?

Misinformation coupled with an active sense of rejection of evidence against Trump comprise the simple, objective answers to why people believe that he will be a good president.

Trump’s rise as a leader is reflective of an outlet for people’s ongoing dissonance with prejudice.

Since discrimination remains unacceptable in society (at least in a utopian world), people have not been able to rationalize their prejudice or express it.

In the presence of a leader like Donald Trump, who says that it is alright to be angry and to victimize the historically oppressed section of society, there is suddenly a lot of room to express repressed anger.

It’s notable that a large section of society feels empowered by his encouragement to discriminate which only speaks to the extent of cognitive dissonance that people are experiencing.

“Donald Trump is the wild card,” says my friend, an ardent supporter. “He might not do anything that he says, but he has the courage to do something if the country is in trouble because he does not hesitate.”

The question is: Is that the best thing as a president? It depends on where your sense of justice stems from.

Arguably, people are tired of hearing diplomatic speeches. Any action taken seems indicative of a step forward. In a world where honesty is often equated with being impolite, people have identified a potential leader who unapologetically propagates unpopular thought.

Furthermore, his ability to blatantly dismiss a need for a justification of offensive statements reinforces people’s suppressed beliefs.

Trump’s unabashed disregard for people is refreshing because it is a body of opinions that is relatively hidden, yet alive and waiting for a language. Since he has seen “difficult” times in life, which makes him the kind of person who “understands” problems, his unfiltered speeches are often attributed to his inherent courage and ability to remain unfaltering under pressure.

The scariest part about the Trump campaign is that he is changing the definition of acceptable ideologies. The grandeur of a candid leader supersedes the need for examining one’s understanding of equality and justice.

Trump’s rude, bold, and unapologetic ways are attractive because it seems “genuine” to his supporters. As a voter, it is scary that his ideologies provide no room for my sense of morality.

Trump’s support speaks to the extent of entitlement, fear and emotional discontent that prevails in our society.

I can only hope that my opinions serve to further contextualize the current scenario and hopefully lead to debates that do not overlook the need for rational conversations.