Numerous theories have been bantered about in the media and online over Donald Trump’s inexplicable success. Unfortunately, they end up missing the mark because the authors are all too often preoccupied with discovering that one negative trait they can peg on all Trump supporters. The game is rigged from the beginning and objective inquiry is the first victim.
If I want to know what motivates you, I have two methods of inquiry available to me. Either I can do what the pundits do, and observe what you’re doing from afar (which is to say, I’m going to have to make some assumptions that probably fit my own biases), or I can simply ask you directly. Of course, asking runs the risk that you’re lying or confused, but if I ask a group of people and they all give the same answer, you’re probably telling me the truth.
After inquiring among my Trump supporting friends and family, and I can tell you that the unifying theme is not racism, authoritarianism, or lack of education. Some might fit one or more of those categories, but that’s not much more than a coincidence. Rather, that one quality that every Trump supporter cites is: Trump doesn’t apologize. Ever.
Apologizing comes in many forms, some subtle and some not so subtle. While every other aspiring presidential hopeful was busy claiming that things can’t or shouldn’t be done, Trump was standing firm with his bold vision for America.
His supporters are tired of Obama bowing to the Saudis. They are tired of the left apologizing at the UN. They are really tired of Hilliary Clinton above all else, but they are additionally fed up with the “establishment” conservatives apologizing to the left. This has given rise to a new word: cuckservative.
I’m no connoisseur of pornography, but I understand that a cuck (or cuckold) is an adjective in the porn world that describes a man who enjoys watching someone else have sex with his wife. By extension, a cuckservative is a conservative who glad-hands to the left while the country gets screwed.
The Trump-cons are tired of that. They view conservatives as weak and pathetic apologists who let the left be the political aggressors, and they view liberals as weak and pathetic apologists who let the Muslim Brotherhood front groups and illegal immigrants walk all over Americans.
Trump supporters want a president that will put American interests first, and they view Donald as that man. They don’t care that Trump is a troll or that he’s less than honest, or that he is to the political left of the other Republican candidates. In fact, they don’t really care about left-right politics or the Republican Party in general. They care about American interests first and foremost, whether it’s physical walls to keep out illegal migrants as championed by the Alt-Right or economic walls to keep jobs at home as championed by the Union Left, it’s all good so long as it puts America first.
Certainly, both of these policies are not beyond critique, but for now, I’m highlighting why many Americans like Trump, and why name-calling the man or his supporters has unintended consequences. Humans are emotional beings, and Trump either turns people off emotionally or inspires them emotionally. Responding in kind by calling voters racist (one of the worst things you can call someone) tends to harden resolve for this very reason. If your goal is to convince a Trump supporter to look elsewhere, you’re probably not going to have much success from your high horse. After all, pretending that you’re the rational one beyond cognitive bias while Trump and his supporters are the emotionally driven Nethanderals has a bit of a Marxist twang to it.
The only way to stop the Trump wave is to connect at the same level emotionally, and genuinely listen to what his supporters have to say. Then offer better solutions. That’s the hard part. Trump raises serious and real concerns, and even though his solutions are often weak and simplistic, he’s one step ahead the Democrats who won’t even acknowledge the problems that these voters care about exist. Trump is not like normal Republicans that get smoked at the emotional game. Name calling does not work on Trump because he’s so good at coming back with the devastating kill-shot. Mark my words, if the Democrats don’t change their game plan, Trump will defy the polls, and win easily in the Fall.
The ball is in their court.
If the Democrats want to keep the White House, they will have to do a lot better than this: