A new poll released by Fox News after the third Democratic debate shows business mogul and wall enthusiast Donald Trump holding a commanding 20-point lead over his closest competition, Ted Cruz. His support among likely GOP voters is now at 39 percent– up 10 points from where he was a month ago. This latest surge comes after Trump’s proposal of placing a temporary ban on Muslims coming into the United States in the wake of two terror attacks carried out by Islamic extremists in San Bernardino, California and Paris, France.
Trump’s surging poll numbers are quite dismaying. While many voters and pundits on both sides of the aisle dismissed Donald Trump as a non-serious candidate when he first announced his candidacy on June 16 this year, his growing poll numbers and fan-base have shown that Trump may be a legitimate challenge to the GOP establishment. Having Donald Trump in the GOP field is threatening to split the party in two, as the majority of Trump’s fans would still vote for him in the scenario that he ran as an independent. Seeing the GOP establishment’s dissatisfaction with Trump and other outside candidates like Ben Carson, it is likely that we will see a civil war within the Republican party come mid 2016.
I call Trump supporters fans because that’s what they are: fans of Make America Great Again, a fictional play by Donald Trump, in which he also plays the protagonist who saves the damsel-in-distress Lady Liberty from the liberal clutches of the dragon, played by President Obama. Legitimate political candidates have supporters, celebrities have fans.
I am still holding out hope that Donald Trump will make a public announcement before election day in which he reveals that he was simply trolling the United States, thus propelling him into immortality as the man who single-handedly played a good percentage of Americans like a fiddle. Despite his inexplicable poll numbers, I do not believe that Donald Trump seriously wanted to become president. I’m more inclined to think that the idea of ruling the world’s greatest nation crossed Trump’s mind one day while getting spray-tanned by some Mexican woman named Maria. Liking the way this immense amount of power and publicity stroked his ego, he decided to run with it. Once he realized he can exploit conservatives that have become irate due to eight years of fear-mongering, scapegoating, and misinformation on behalf of the right-wing news media and Republican politicians alike, Trump decided to push this thing as far as he could. Along the way, he managed to piss off Mexicans, women, African Americans, veterans, the disabled, and Muslims.
Yet at the same time, his controversial comments have garnered him equal parts adoration among his fans; Trump’s supporters are arguably the most enthusiastic out of any other Republican presidential candidates, including establishment favorite Jeb! Bush. Where others’ racist, misogynistic or otherwise insensitive comments have ended their careers, Donald Trump’s comments have propelled him to the top of the political mountain.
Trump’s fans like him because he “speaks his mind”; unlike politicians, he will not back down unless he gets his way. He will build a giant wall to keep all the bad people out, he will lift our economy from the dumps, and he will destroy the Daesh (ISIS), thus fulfilling his campaign promise to “Make America Great Again”.
These same people must also forget that it is a president’s job to compromise with other nations rather than take it all by force like the Donald would most likely do. The game of chess is like geopolitics; you must think first before you move. Trump doesn’t seem like the type of person who has the patience for chess; he seems more like the type of person to flip the table over at the first sign any challenge. But in all seriousness, would you really want a celebrity reality TV star, especially as erratic and brash as Donald Trump, to have access to the United States’ nuclear codes?
All jokes aside, Trump’s fiery rhetoric is nothing to laugh about. There are many Americans fed up with the status quo that take his words as a battle cry to assemble a group of patriots that will take America back from the hands of the dirty Muslim socialist President Barrack Hussein Obama, who apparently put this country in a position worse that George W. Bush did and who apparently, is also trying to take your guns and Bibles away. Some of his supporters have even gone as far as to take action into their own hands and have assaulted suspected Muslims, immigrants, and African Americans both on the streets and at his political rallies, doing their part in making America great again.
The GOP’s rhetoric have already caused a massacre at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs just a month ago, taking the lives of three innocent people while also acting as a symbolic attack on women’s reproductive rights. Trump and the GOP’s decisive rhetoric are only giving Islamic extremists groups like the Daesh and al-Nusra more ammunition in their war against humanity. They are ostracizing and alienating Muslims in America and in Western countries, pushing them into the open arms of the Daesh, who wants Muslims to believe they cannot coexist peacefully with the West. Trump and his supporters often claim that President Obama divided this country in a way that no other previous president has, but the truth is that Donald Trump’s rhetoric is only further opening this perceived gap.
The 24-hour news cycle is to blame for Trump’s political rise. Tune into any major news network channel or scroll through their Facebook or Twitter feed and one will find that Donald Trump is by far the most posted-about candidate from either party. The posts are usually covering his latest offensive remarks or expressing astonishment that his campaign has yet to collapse under the weight of his own hair. Trump doesn’t have to spend any money on advertising like his competitors do because the mainstream media gives him the perfect medium through which he can spew his vitriol day in and day out. Whether they are grilling him or praising him, it doesn’t matter because as the old saying goes, no publicity is bad publicity.
Trump made a living for himself with his father’s money, but more importantly through being an entertainer, so it is no surprise that he is able to manipulate the mass media for his benefit. However, this relationship between the mainstream news media and Donald Trump is not a one-sided affair but rather a symbiotic one: Trump gets free air time while MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN get increased ratings and viewership. Instead of covering real stories from the campaign trail, such as Bernie Sanders surpassing 2 million donations– which has broken Obama’s 2012 record— they are fixated instead on Donald Trump’s antics.
In a society so permeated by plastic celebrities and cameras following their every step for the pleasure of the viewers back home, it makes sense why people would rather pay attention to Trump rather than the massive problems facing our country moving forward. And I am not talking about Mexican immigrants who are going to rape your family members and sell drugs to school children, nor Syrian refugees who are going to bomb your cities and instate Sharia law, because those are molehills that have been transformed into mountains by fear-mongering politicians and talking heads alike. I am talking about our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, the effects of drought and climate change on both our country and the planet that we live on, our law enforcement’s unnerving militarization, the racist practices of the war on drugs and for-profit prisons , and income inequality that is at levels exponentially higher than ever before. That is simply scratching the surface of the issues our next and future presidents and elected officials will have to deal with. Instead of fearing certain people because of their religion or immigration status like the right-wing is telling people to do, we have to take a long hard look at what is truly holding our nation back from being the shinning beacon of liberty and democracy that it once was and chose the candidate which we believe has the greatest potential to lead our country in the direction of prosperity.