By Emily Freed
Due to the upcoming presidential election in 2016, many Americans have been closely following their parties’ candidates for the primaries. However, this in and of itself is not unusual. Every four years, the public gets ready to vote on another president to lead, and hopefully improve, our country. This year, the debates have gotten a little more, shall we say, ridiculous.
Though hilarious presidential write-ins are far from rare, these past few months has had an advent of absurd candidates, including, Donald Trump. Trump has long been toying around with idea of running for President, but it was highly unexpected that he actually would. Even more surprisingly, that he would actually be successful.
Donald Trump has effectively dominated the Republican Primaries this summer. From his surprise announcement to run in June to his plan to deal with Mexican immigration, which is to build a costly border wall between the US and Mexico, Donald Trump has controlled the polls for months. There are many reasons as to why this is, and none of them are a particularly good reflection on the American people voting for him.
One reason that Trump has been celebrated (by primarily white GOP voters) is because he is seen to be a “refreshing” voice in an election between otherwise deceptive politicians with spurious claims. These voters do not like him for his tax plans or foreign policy, but primarily for the fact that he is blunt. He is rejecting the idea of “political correctness” that so many conservatives hate, but he is, in all actuality, being praised for being clearly racist and sexist, rather than veiling his bigotry behind subtle remarks like most other GOP candidates. It is unthinkable that a man who purported that Mexican immigrants were all rapists is being held up as the best fit for the leader of our country. Furthermore, it is blatantly obvious that Trump does not only not respect women, but also has no true understanding of women’s issues as well. During an interview with Fox News, Megyn Kelly addressed Trump about his previous sexist comments, but instead of answering her with a respectful reply, he demeaned not only Kelly but women everywhere by insinuating that she was on her period and that there was “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her…. wherever.”
Another part of Trump’s appeal stems from his celebrity status. He is as much as an entertainer as a politician in these debates, if not more so. In fact, the most readily available information about Trump does not focus on his political goals, but rather his ridiculousness, such as his overt sweating, comical faces, and aggressive attacks on other candidates.
Despite Trump appearing foolish in the public eye, he still holds a lot of popularity. Because the actual election is so far away, it is likely that he is so high-ranking because of his famousness. Trump is first and foremost a businessman. During the primary, he is essentially selling the idea of himself to the American public – and many are buying it. Donald Trump represents grandeur, the elite, and prosperity. Despite his arrogance and foolish moments, many Americans admire him because of his great wealth. America now wants a unique president, after many (conservatives) are disappointed in current President Barack Obama. Much of the GOP voters are clamoring for someone they see as honest (read: brash) and willing to bring about change. These ideals aren’t new and prospective presidents are often valued for their new visions for the country, but Trump is going about his goals in an unusually aggressive way.
Trump is capitalizing on the unrest in America that has been grown during the Obama administration, and he is using this opportunity to try to rebrand the country. His primary political tactic is anger, which bodes well with similarly angry Americans. His frequent attacks on other GOP candidates, as well as attacks on reporters, politicians, and minority groups further endear him to his voters, oddly enough. Because a large number of Americans are angry at our current president, Trump’s scathing attacks make them not only like him more, but also trust that he can fix our country and “Make America Great Again.”
I, however, have no such hope. Many journalists are predicting that the “Summer of Trump” is giving way to a less successful Fall due to Trump’s poor performance in the Second Republican Debate, which resulted in his poll numbers declining from 32% to 24%. As the actual election draws nearer, I firmly believe that Trump’s lead will decrease dramatically, but the question of his success still brings forth troubling questions. Who does the American people truly want in our White House? And with such great divisions on issues such as immigration, abortion, and taxes, how can we ever choose a president that will heal the rift between the political parties? It seems that this year’s primaries have been about popularity and petty arguments so far, rather than the more pressing concern of finding a presidential candidate to fix the issues our country is struggling with.