Trump’s popularity belies Americans’ desire for an “outsider” voice.
The pundits say that Donald Trump’s perch atop the Republican primary polls is due to Trump himself: that he’s different from the others, that he talks off-script and tells the truth. But Mr. Trump owes his recent political success to something systemic in American politics, namely, the absence of a coherent political agenda that adequately addresses mounting social inequality in the US. The resulting detachment and alienation experienced by so many people has made an “outsider” spouting extreme and often nonsensical views seem attractive.
Mr. Trump owes his recent political success to something systemic in American politics.
Much has been said of the Trump phenomenon, but we want to question the emphasis on his personal qualities and the notion that he is a charismatic figure. Political observers attributed the August 6th primary debate’s blockbuster ratings to the “Trump show”; we take a different view. To us, his ascendancy suggests that there are considerable swaths of the electorate who are disarticulated from the party system; that is, folks who used to heed the call of their party no longer do. These voters, mainly on the right, are willing to listen to someone who at least sounds different even if that difference lacks substance.