I have read and written many articles concerning Donald Trump, this year. My final Sociology paper was on him and the xenophobia that he has stirred up in our country, once again. Despite the time and energy, I’ve unfortunately dedicated to this man – who, I believe, represents everything a President shouldn’t be – I still am unable to understand how he says what he says, does what he does, and still manages to become the presidential nominee for the 2016 election.
Now, I have met a number of Donald Trump supporters; some are people whom I’ve known for years. And most discussions about him involve the supporters not actually saying viably great things about Trump, but saying terrible things about Hillary Clinton. And then it becomes a discussion of how less terrible Trump could be for this country than Clinton. So I often wonder: what do they actually see in him? Well, for my Sociology final, my professor required me, a liberal, to read conservative blogs and listen in on radio stations to try to answer this question for myself. And that’s what I did. I found many personal blogs, but also some higher-profile websites like Town Hall and Red State with tons of articles concerning Trump and the election. And, just as I had assumed I would conclude, I found that many of these sites and their readers support Trump because of the xenophobia that seemed to be lying dormant in the country, which he spoke loudly about and sparked, once again. However, he spoke of it without filter – not like a politician, but like an angry white, conservative. And the Republicans related to that. So they rallied behind him, like he was the fire for the sparked fear against immigrants that they had been waiting for.
The content on these blogs included lists of reasons why Trump was right about “immigration” – such as most immigrants really are criminals – but they lacked support. Most articles I read were based on pure fear; not fact, but the fear of “strangers”. This fear is the backbone of Trump’s campaign. By making his slogan “Make America Great Again,” Trump is voicing a narrative about America that thrives on fear. A narrative that points it’s finger at the antagonist: the immigrants of this country. People really do often fear what they can’t understand and as more Americans believe that their country and their national identity is slowly slipping away, they look to those who are “different.” It is a narrative that has been present in this country for many years. Donald Trump just happens to be riding the xenophobic wave at a current high – and he’s riding it all the way to presidency.
Even in my research and somewhat understanding of the fear that takes hold of Republicans and xenophobic Americans in general, I get a glimpse of why people choose to rally behind a man like Trump. However, I don’t believe that fear and charisma should ever be the main reasons to elect someone as president. Especially when the candidate is unable to present and explain his own policies with support and reason. A campaign that, to me, started off as a joke, has transformed into the GOP’s worst nominee ever – something even Ted Cruz, who is one of the most hated Republicans of the party, can see. So why? Maybe, I’ll never understand.
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