Perhaps it's about time the world acknowledged it: Donald Trump is a serious contender for the U.S. presidency -- and his continued polling success certainly says a lot of things about America. But just how did we reach this point where "The Donald" could very well be the next "Leader of the Free World"?
Before Donald Trump decided to make a serious run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, he was best known for being a highly successful businessman, establishing the likes of the glamorous Grand Hyatt Hotel and the upscale Trump Tower. Then, in 2003, he began to produce and host the popular NBC reality show The Apprentice, which garnered high ratings and cemented Trump's role as a media personality. Later, in 2012, Trump began but quickly ended a run for the United States presidency, but not before making headlines for successfully demanding that President Obama release his long-form birth certificate to settle issues regarding the president's citizenship. Then, on June 16, 2015, Trump announced a new presidential bid at the lobby of the Trump Tower in New York. And judging from polls, many Americans are seriously considering making "The Donald" the next main resident of the White House.
The rise of Donald Trump as a legitimate presidential contender certainly says a lot about him, but perhaps it reveals even much more about the American populace. Here are ten such revelations:
9 The backlash against political correctness growing.
Merriam-Webster defines politically correct (PC) as "agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people." Meanwhile, the popularity-based top definition of PC on Urban Dictionary is "a way that we speak in America so we don't offend whining pussies." The stark contrast between these two listed definitions reflects the sharp divide between PC and non-PC America, and it appears undeniable that non-PC America is gaining momentum -- a reality that Donald Trump has been openly capitalizing on. He explicitly declared, "Political correctness is just absolutely killing us [America] as a country," and has on numerous occasions, backed up his position by posting blatantly politically incorrect tweets such as these:
While @BetteMidler is an extremely unattractive woman, I refuse to say that because I always insist on being politically correct.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2012
Sadly, because president Obama has done such a poor job as president, you won't see another black president for generations!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2014
and issued statements like this:
8 Many Americans want to hear the blunt truth.
Whether or not Donald Trump speaks the truth is up for debate, but it's undeniable that he projects himself as an authoritative speaker who doesn't hold back on anything. This was most evident in what he said when he spoke about Mexico on June 16, 2015:
When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending the best. They're not sending you, they're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing those problems. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they're telling us what we're getting.
7 The anti-immigrant sentiment still exists.
6 Old-school U.S. superiority still appeals to many Americans.
On September 15, 2015, Donald Trump, on the deck of the USS Iowa, delivered his first major speech on national security. Among his lines were:
You know the thing I'll be great at that people are thinking? And I do very well at it. Military. I am the toughest guy. I will rebuild our military. It will be so strong, and so powerful, and so great. It will be so powerful that we're never going to have to use it. We're going to have a president who is respected by Putin, respected by Iran.
5 Many Americans don't care about the "small" details.
4 A new brand of politics may be on the rise.
3 Many Americans still admire the rich and successful.
2 Political analysts can get it wrong.
Political pundits have declared the "beginning of the end" of Donald Trump's polling success countless times throughout the past months. For example, in July, MLive Michigan's Tim Skubick wrote "Donald Trump's immigration remarks were beginning of his end." Then that same month, Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol tweeted,
1 White America is alive and strong.
Jeff Nesbit of U.S. News delivered an intriguing analysis of the importance of the white vote in the general elections of the United States. He pointed out that while the prevailing analysis of the 2012 presidential elections was that Mitt Romney lost because Obama won the Hispanic vote -- 71% of Hispanics voted for Obama and 27% voted for Romney -- the statistical truth is that Hispanics constituted only 7% of the general vote. In fact, even if the way Hispanics voted were flipped (71% for Romney and 27% for Obama), Romney would've still lost the election. The crucial fact, Nesbit points out, is that between 5 to 10 million white voters didn't bother to vote in 2012. In fact, if Romney had won 63% of the white vote (instead of the 59% that he did), he would have won the election. So maybe Donald Trump is on to something by trying to appeal to white voters and ignoring the fact that he's angering various minorities. We'll certainly be watching to see how that strategy turns out.
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