i>Donald Trump is a mirror for major U.S. fears.
Donald Trump mirrors America and Americans. And what they see in this mirror is creating a storm of emotions: Some people admire what they see, others are indignant about it, but no one is indifferent to it.
’We Are Not Like This!’
It appears that this simple explanation does not occur to Americans themselves. Most likely, it’s due to the unwillingness to accept that they see their own reflection in this mirror. Is there any other way to explain that the most furious Trump haters are his nominal party fellows, the ruling elite of the United States Republican Party?
The best response to the objection “We are not like this!” is the phenomenal and continuously growing popularity of Trump who loves to boast that he attracts “millions of new voters.”* Basically, the role of political leader indeed consists of expressing and fulfilling the thoughts and feelings of millions, which concern not only dreams, hopes and joy, but also fears, anger and despair.
Contrast of Images
And Trump — at least his public figure — reflects the whole scale of his electorate’s feelings. On the one hand, he is the embodiment of the American dream. He is the owner of a construction empire and is a multibillionaire; in the recent past, as host of a popular TV show and sponsor of a beauty contest, he has always been surrounded by actresses and models. Even enemies, who point to the hereditary origin of his wealth, acknowledge he is a genius of self-promotion.
On the other hand, the main slogan of his election campaign — “Make America Great Again!” — is the expression of a protest against those who destroyed this exact greatness or took it away. Trump emphasizes that this greatness was not taken away from him — he personally has everything in perfect order. This greatness was taken away from ordinary Americans who, as Trump gradually convinces them, must count on a good life almost only because of the very fact of their U.S. citizenship.
The fact that the U.S. population’s prospects are deteriorating is beyond question. Sociologists and economists confirm that, based on numerous studies, the current younger generation of Americans is the first in modern history to be worse off than their parents. Income inequality is rapidly growing in the country. Paradoxically, racial tensions intensified during the presidency of the first African-American president.
This creates an inner sense of “we cannot live like this anymore” among the vast majority of voters. And Trump plays to these sentiments, incurring the charges of racism, national selfishness and misogyny.
He promises people he will “return good jobs” that are, according to him, flowing abroad under the current government, and that he will vigorously protect their interests in general, even at the cost of building a wall on the southern border of the country and implementing temporary restrictions on entry to the United States for Muslims. And a lot of people like it. Moreover, he quite successfully cultivates the image of a person who is in politics not for his own self-interest, but as someone who is financially independent from any lobby, and who is used to telling the truth right to people’s faces regardless of political correctness.
Everyone Is Waiting for Change
By the way, in this election campaign, Trump is not the only one who is exploiting the electorate’s discontent with the current state of affairs. To a greater or lesser extent, this is what all his rivals on the Republican side, and even the leader of the race among Democrats, Hillary Clinton, are doing. According to local political analysts, Clinton, in fact, generally represents the desire to preserve the status quo, albeit with minor adjustments. Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders constantly calls for a “political revolution,” first and foremost to reform a “thoroughly corrupt”* system of elections in the country.
’Ask Your Psychiatrist…’
Against this background, the ongoing monthly wrangling over the “phenomenon of Trump” in the U.S. seems rather superficial. It is not even clear if the hero of all this hype is totally aware of his role, although conservative media state that his behavior in the election campaign is carefully planned. After the recent Republican presidential debate organized by the Fox News, TV host Bill O’Reilly, the idol of American conservatives, amiably but rather strictly questioned Trump as to why in his opinion, he is so “mortally hated” by his purported “party comrades.”
In response, Trump said that first of all, judging by the polls, 65 percent of ordinary Republicans really “love” him, and that he does not split the party, but on the contrary, “unites” it.* Essentially in answering the same question, he explained the attitude toward him with his willingness to “say things the way they are,”* and the simple “envy”* of people such as former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. At the end of the conversation, he accused O’Reilly of being very negative, and when O’Reilly asked why, Trump’s answer to the question was, “You’ll have to ask your psychiatrist.”*
Whether Trump will be able to replace Barack Obama in the White House is still a very big question. But he has already become the most vivid and memorable face of the race, and that in itself is worth it.
*Editor’s note: This quoted material, although accurately translated, could not be independently verified.
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