Some people just want to watch the world burn. Donald Trump is not one of those people. I sincerely believe that he sincerely believes he can help this country. I sincerely believe that his supporters sincerely believe Trump can help this country. If you wanted to understand what goes on in the minds of his supporters, watch a few hours of the Republican National Convention. Disclaimer: I only watched Day Three of the convention, but I’ll hazard a guess and say that any of the four days will tell you all you need to know about the Republicans—not just about Trump supporters.
What will you learn? The dichotomous political system of this country, rather than weaken as many third party advocates hope, has only further entrenched itself in American culture. Democrat or Republican is as important an identifier for Americans as one’s home state or college football team. What’s more, each party responds to the issues of the opposing party in an increasingly reactionary way. The Republican message at the convention was that Democrats were the ones responsible for promoting disunity: Day Three’s theme was “Make America One Again.” For Republicans, the message and intent of the Democrats is simple. Since Democrats cannot win on the power of their ideas, they have to resort to race-baiting, classist and gender-based divisions, and victimization of as many people as possible, all the while promising unearned entitlements and handouts.
“While Republican plans will bring back manufacturing jobs, the only thing Democrats manufacture is discord.”
Black Lives Matter is nothing more than a racial division, that’s why All Lives Matter—specifying one race, no matter the reason, is inherently divisive and therefore unacceptable. Blue Lives Matter is okay, of course, because it’s uttered in defense of an occupation, a blameless people trying to go about their day and do their job. Democrats’ economic ideas are so bad that they have to resort to classist and race-based arguments in order to distract from the failure of their policies. Racism doesn’t exist in this country, but lacking economic opportunity certainly does. For Republicans, jobs are key to healing all manner of imaginary Democrat divisions, since the only thing that actually divides Americans is employment—while Republican plans will bring back manufacturing jobs, the only thing Democrats will manufacture is discord. Republicans will always have the moral high ground because they are people of faith, believers of God. The violence and sex portrayed on television is the result of the liberal media, and is but one part of their crusade against religion, Christianity specifically. The loss of prayer in school, the promotion of abortion, the support of gay marriage, all of these are blatant indicators of the Left’s attempt to push us further away from God, and by extension, push us further towards chaos.
While justifying or dismissing several Trump statements is key to maintaining one’s support of him, there are some issues for Democrats that are not at all issues for Republicans, especially not for Trump supporters, precisely because those issues aren’t real, just Democrat fear-mongering. What cannot be justified or dismissed is, instead, easily categorized as the baggage that comes with any candidate, and can therefore be forgiven. Serving as the mouthpiece for a disenfranchised and disgruntled electorate, one that previously took harbor in the Tea Party, Trump has gotten along just fine airing the grievances of the “silent majority.” You cannot solve a problem if you do not first recognize it, the thinking goes. Since all Trump does is point out problems, he must be equally adept at fixing them.
Why has it been so difficult to discredit his message? Why have career politicians with years of re-election campaign experience failed to stop his rise, or prevent his nomination? One explanation relies on the inadequacy of facts. In the face of mistrust and misinformation, anyone can purport to throw facts around, and anyone else who doesn’t agree skips healthy skepticism and moves on to constant disbelief.
“Compared to Hillary’s reason for why she’s so mistrusted and unpopular (a decades-long smear campaign by Republicans), Trump’s safeguard sounds more believable, the result of his real estate acumen; Hillary’s hypocrisy and flip-flopping is Trump’s good business sense.”
Trump does not transcend truth because truth doesn’t matter—Trump transcends truth because absolute truth no longer exists. The very reality of conservative and liberal media outlets cements this sentiment, since the editorial of one outlet is rebutted by the other, on and on, until it eventually devolves into unconstructive slander.
As far as his past is concerned, and any interaction he might have had across the aisle—like laughing alongside Hillary—Trump uses his businessman credentials to explain away any accusation of hypocrisy slung his way. Compared to Hillary’s reason for why she’s so mistrusted and unpopular (a decades-long smear campaign by Republicans), Trump’s safeguard sounds more believable, the result of his real estate acumen; Hillary’s hypocrisy and flip-flopping is Trump’s good business sense. Now that he’s running for president, now is the only time his views actually matter. Any business failures Trump might have had in the past are similarly acknowledged in the same humanizing way Hillary can never replicate: Everyone makes mistakes. Trump has made mistakes and that’s okay because he’s still successful; Hillary has made mistakes and she must still be successful only through a series of shadowy deals and political favoritism. This isn’t necessarily a double standard. The Republican Party has just done a much better job of assassinating Hillary’s character.
Any attempt by the Democratic Party to paint Trump as an unsuccessful businessman also falls flat since, you know, he still has properties that bear his name. Unless Trump is committing Enron levels of fraud, which I suppose could be possible, continuously calling out his failed casinos and university while his hotels still stand is too easy an attack to wave off. Trump has similarly protected himself from the knowledge of intricate policy by relying on a managerial approach to the executive office. He’ll appoint the best people. Why does this work? Because when the Democrats call him out on policy knowledge shortcomings, his supporters take shelter in the knowledge that nobody can know everything. The president, then, should not be expected to know everything, and because the president has a cabinet, it’s perfectly reasonable and acceptable to delegate to those who do know. Hillary’s policy knowledge, in this case, translates to an intellectual elitism that, at its worst, grants her a perceived superiority complex, that of a know-it-all girl whose insolent smugness offends all of our blue-collar sensibilities.
So, to fight Donald’s presidential inauguration, Hillary will have to chip away at his protections and here’s why that’s difficult: Anything in his past is excusable; any knowledge deficit is excusable; every false figure he dishes out is excusable because facts are believed subjective. Unless Trump loses in this country’s largest landslide, the final result should prove incredibly disenchanting for anyone who believes the next four years will move a little more smoothly than the past eight.