What Does It Mean that Donald Trump Is so Popular?

The fact that Donald Trump is winning fans in the Republican Party tells us that people feel like they are missing something.

Why is Trump so popular?

It seems like every day some conservative blog is complaining that so many Republicans support him. I’m not a Trump fan, but I don’t think it is hard to understand why he is getting such a positive response. A friend of mine recently posted about this and gave me some further thoughts on the issue. Also, check out this sad post by Jonah Goldberg wringing his hands over Republican support of Donald Trump. An excerpt:

I get it. The base of the party is angry. They’re angry about Obama’s lawless chicanery on immigration. They’re angry about the GOP’s patented inability to cross the street without stepping on its own d*ck and then having to apologize for it. They’re angry that the Left’s culture warriors are behaving like an invading army that shoots the survivors even after they’ve surrendered. They’re angry that Republicans have to bend over backward so as not to offend anyone, while Democrats have free rein (and at times free reign) to do and to say as they please. 

Enter Trump, stage left. He makes no apologies. He’s brash. I can understand why some see him as a breath of fresh air. If you want to give him credit for starting a worthwhile debate about sanctuary cities and illegal immigration, fine. 

So what is the lesson here? Well, if Donald Trump is a demagogue the only reason he has an audience is because the other Republican candidates refuse to address the issues that matter to many Republicans.

You can’t simply ignore your customer base and not expect to get some competition. You are begging for it. So the Republican establishment and their pollsters and their doubletalk basically asked for someone to come and take away the Republican base. What did you expect? They basically invited someone like Donald Trump to come in and sweep them away.

Frankly, I really don’t like Donald Trump much at all. But the amazing thing is not how bad he is. The amazing thing to me is that we didn’t get someone much worse.

I doubt Trump will win the presidency, but when someone like Jonah Goldberg starts losing his mind over this, he doesn’t sound very convincing. Even his partial admission about what is going on sounds a bit condescending—which is the kind of attitude that is only going to make people angrier and more likely to support Trump!

[See also, “Hillary Clinton Attacks Free Speech by Blaming Donald Trump for Race Violence.”]

Even if Trump is not the man, the fact is we really do need a President who will champion the people’s rights (the real ones—life, liberty, property, etc) and a sound economy. That is really our only hope on a human level. But precisely because many recognize we need someone who will stand for the truth and not bow to lobbyist and media propaganda, we are vulnerable to “brash” speakers even if they are not ideal.

They are still better than most of the other alternatives.

That being said, if you think that Donald Trump is a conservative, you might consider a few things Goldberg has to say. I quote:

Immigration: You seem to think he’s an immigration hardliner, and he’s certainly pretending to be. But why can’t you see through it? He condemned Mitt Romney as an immigration hardliner in 2012 and favored comprehensive immigration reform. He told Bill O’Reilly he was in favor of a “path to citizenship” for 30 million illegal immigrants:

Trump: “You have to give them a path. You have 20 million, 30 million, nobody knows what it is. It used to be 11 million. Now, today I hear it’s 11, but I don’t think it’s 11. I actually heard you probably have 30 million. You have to give them a path, and you have to make it possible for them to succeed. You have to do that.”

Question: Just how many rapists and drug dealers did Donald Trump want to give green cards to? 

Abortion: In 1999 he said, “I’m totally pro-choice. I hate it and I hate saying it. And I’m almost ashamed to say that I’m pro-choice but I am pro-choice because I think we have no choice.”

Man, it’s like he’s channeling Thomas Aquinas there.

Now he says he’s pro-life. But I’ll spare the mocking on this because at least he’s flip-flopping in the right direction, and I don’t like to second guess peoples’ professed religious convictions. 

Obamacare: The man wrote in his own book and said elsewhere that he was in favor of Canadian-style socialized medicine — which would put him to the left of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and on pretty much the same page as Bernie Sanders. 

Hillary: Speaking of her, Trump praised Hillary Clinton and her healthcare reform plan — in 2007! She attended his (most recent) wedding. He donated to her campaigns and to the Clinton Foundation. In 2008, he couldn’t get his head around the fact that Obama didn’t pick her for VP“I’m a big fan of Hillary. She’s a terrific woman. She’s a friend of mine.” 

Economics: People tout the guy’s business record. But he represents almost exactly what his supporters think he opposes. He’s a crony capitalist par excellence. He gives to whatever politician can grease the skids for his next deal — and he makes no apologies for it. He’s an eminent domain voluptuary. He abuses bankruptcy laws like a stack of homemade get-out-of-jail-free cards.

You have to ask yourself what reason you have for trusting anything Donald Trump says. I’m not telling you who to vote for. I’m just pointing out some areas of research you might want to think through.

We all want a bold truth-teller. Maybe one will appear. But we also have to be prepared for pretenders.