The Irresistible Rise of Donald Trump

“It’s gonna be Donald,” ran today’s headline on CNN. The contest for the Republican primaries will probably end here. Donald John Trump Sr., after his win in the state of Indiana and Ted Cruz’s withdrawal from the race, is the man most likely to be nominated for the presidency of the United States of America at the Grand Old Party’s convention in July.

Whoever did not believe it possible that a New York entrepreneur with a penchant for politics, a free agent willing to speak his mind, not to mention a heavy partier who has notched up three wives and a wallet bursting with cash, could clean up and win so much of the country’s support, was sadly mistaken.

And not only this. Given his rapid ascent in the political arena, and the entrepreneur’s continually soaring approval ratings, Trump has an ever-increasing chance of beating his presumed Democratic competitor, Hillary Rodham Clinton. She, on the other hand, is becoming increasingly bogged down by a fight to the finish against Bernie Sanders, the socialist who is much more appealing to populist American Democrats than the ex-first lady and secretary of state.

Hillary Clinton in Trouble

Mrs. Clinton, who nonetheless has a firm advantage in the primaries, is paying the price for her tarnished, deteriorating image, due above all to the overexposure of her political role, which has not always been positive. And today, on the very day that Trump was semi-officially appointed, thanks to his main competitor’s withdrawal, Hillary stumbled again, losing the state of Indiana to Sanders.

The years spent in the White House at her husband Bill’s side, and especially those spent at Washington’s other centers of power, beginning with the Department of State, seem to be weighing on her more and more. It was from this department of U.S. foreign affairs that she was removed by Barack Obama and replaced with the current Secretary of State John Kerry due to “differences of opinion” and an unhappy relationship with the current president’s family.

In addition, the scandal of the American ambassador Chris Stevens’ assassination on Sept. 11, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya, as well as the controversy surrounding Clinton’s unadvised use of her private email account for official classified communications, have impeded her ability to run a smooth electoral campaign that is free from criticism.

Even if these issues don’t stand in the way of her winning the Democratic primaries, it is nonetheless clear that Hillary’s star is not shining brightly in the American political firmament. Meanwhile, Donald Trump, who navigates between caustic comments and moments of clarity, between launching attacks on immigrants and outrageous foreign policy proposals, seems to have as fresh an image as ever, and he is determined in what he means to offer the nation.

Donald Trump’s Winning Image

The image that Donald Trump has constructed around himself, surrounded by his “cover story” family and by the unbridled luxury typical of “golden boys,” is that of a triumphant man who has achieved the American Dream. And, at least in this regard, there is nothing more conservative.

But not only this. At a point in history when Russia – which is and remains for Americans the only true global competitor – offers up an “action man” model for president in Vladimir Putin, who fights with tigers and defeats his enemies with judo kicks, all the while winning the war in Syria, America responds with the shyness and disarming indecisiveness which we have seen from Democrat Barack Obama. This is why Donald Trump’s machismo image, as someone who accounts to no one and who bangs his fists and whips up the crowd with incendiary words, is winning out.

Trump acts the role of the politically incorrect man, who doesn’t play into either the party or the lobby’s game. In short, he is someone who cuts across everything, who makes breaking the mold a trademark and a launching point from which to win the world’s most sought-after position.

It’s a strategy that seems to be paying off in every way, perhaps because it reflects the wishes of the American public, who demand ever more transparency and less hypocrisy from politics, who expect decision-making and action, and who are most concerned about issues of employment and security. All of these wishes have been well-acknowledged by Trump’s organizing committee, which, up to now, has made them the backbone of his campaign, key to trying to clear a way forward.

Abstentionism, America’s Hidden Ill

Apart from this, a man who erects properties gilded in gold and who wants to flatten the Islamic State with napalm can’t help but be attractive to the American populace, especially the segment that couldn’t care less about politics and which almost never votes. According to many, America’s hidden ill is actually the lack of political participation, and Donald Trump, who appeals to base instincts, seems to have roused from lethargy a significant number of citizens who no longer believe in institutions.

In fact, we shouldn’t forget that for democratic America, abstentionism is one of its most serious problems. In contrast to official calculations, which put the number at around 62 percent, more accurate data shows that in 2008 the number who turned out to vote was around 56 percent, and in 2012 it was even lower, at 49 percent. In absolute terms, according to American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate, about 131 million people voted to elect Barack Obama the first time around, and 122 million the second time — out of the more than 230 million who have the right to vote. Even allowing for discrepancies in the calculations, 60 percent of voters is nonetheless a very poor turnout for a nation which champions democracy. (Just to compare, in Italy, we average around 80 percent, even if it fell in 2013.)

In short, therefore, if Trump succeeds in tapping into and motivating the disillusioned sector of the population, just as he has been doing with the undecided Republicans during this electoral campaign; if, in other words, he succeeds in bringing to the polls even just a third of that very high percentage of Americans who usually don’t vote, there will no longer be any shadow of a doubt: Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States.

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