With lots of accusations of craziness flying around in the vicinity of both Trump’s supporters and his detractors, one of my favorite sayings comes to mind: “If you think that your enemy is crazy, you should pay close attention, because one of you is”.
People seem bewildered that Trump, whose political track record is (charitably) inconsistent, can have a commanding lead among the Republican candidates for president in 2016. I am not here to comment on the pros or cons on the candidate or his chances to (serially) survive to the primary, win the primary, win the general, or govern in a way that would garner approval from anyone. These diaries have been written, and the opinions would detract from my point.
My diary is just to explain why*. Without getting all analytical, here is how I synthesize the data and come away unsurprised by the strength of his candidacy – a large segment of the population shares one foundational belief: that what we’re doing is not working. Given this, they want a change. This is the only universal. Given that, we have two broad (no Trump pun intended) paths to happy Trumpets:
1) He cares about America, and wants America to win! America is my side.
2) The other candidates are not on my side**. The wildcard wins because he sure might be on my side!***
That’s it. 8 years ago, a different man was popular, but the underlying recipe had a lot of overlap…
* No need to attack me, I am just the messenger.
** choose any that apply:
– __________ makes BILL Clinton look honest
– __________ hates America
– __________ is a flaming socialist. (If I don’t know why that’s bad, I sense extremist = bad)
– __________ has a horrible track record
– __________ has been in government a long time, and people complain about their record.
– __________ ? Who even is that? No chance they will get elected.
– __________ Congress critters make terrible presidents
– __________ has “extreme” positions and cannot get elected.
– __________ doesn’t have enough money to survive the immune response of the political body.
*** You are tempted to write down (again?) the reasons that Trump would be the wrong candidate. Please see (*) and count slowly to 10. My point is that most of the candidates either exactly or generally look like a politician who has burned Joe Public before. If the worst that Trump looks is inconsistent, moderate, or rude, many are happy to overlook this in the HOPE that finally someone has come along who wants America to win, and might move the needle in that direction.