“I didn’t actually think he would win”, “I’m so surprised Trump won”, “I’m in shock”.
I’m not being cynical but why do people say these things? Are you surprised that your faith in progressive humanity has been shattered? Because are you truly surprised that a country, that we praise when it does something progressive (e.g. Gay Marriage, Obamacare, Planned Parenthood), would deny themselves the opportunity to move forward? Or is that just our demonising perception of Donald Trump? If he managed not to alienate women or ethnic minorities completely, then how did he win?
Black Lives Matter is a movement, a minority movement. LGBTQ+ is a movement, a minority movement. Feminism is a movement, a …this one’s a bit different. You might think that if someone falls into one of these groups, or a similar group, that they should have voted for Hillary Clinton, because she wasn’t an openly racist, islamophobic, homophobic or sexist presidential candidate. But not everyone wants Hillary as their feminist candidate, for some she’s not the ‘right woman’ and she doesn’t carry the enthusiasm that Obama did. [The telegraph reports on Clinton’s unreached voters] At the end of the day, feminism might be pushing for more females in top roles, but it should always be the best person for the job and some people just don’t believe she is.
Trump pushes aside his campaign as simply a movement multiple times. [Including in his recent post-win speech]. Yes Trump might have said some “bad things”, and I seriously don’t mean to trivialise that, and regardless some people will look over this. Besides, how can Trump be so hateful towards anyone that isn’t white when his own wife is Columbian? If he says one thing, his actions might show a different side. Trump’s charisma is a major winning factor, he signifies someone new to American politics, the public have had the Clintons, and they’ve seen Trump as a successful business man and TV personality. If you don’t think entertainment is crossing into politics let me remind you that Kim Kardashian is one of the most powerful women in the world, and hello Kanye for President 2020.
It can’t be denied that Trump is patriotic. ‘Make America Great Again’ plays straight into the American Dream, into nostalgia for the past, for the economic “glory” pre-recession. What we see today isn’t at all dissimilar from examples in history, rising unemployment and people to scapegoat for a trunk load of problems. Trump is a business man by trade so who better to handle employment issues. Trump is a salesman so he knows how to sell himself. A family in America can see how Trump identifies the ‘other’, the opposition, the ones we are struggling against. When people have seen their neighbourhoods rise in population of different ethnicities and they are simultaneously struggling then it becomes easy to create a correlation in their minds. The illegal immigrants that come into the country have been disgustingly generalised in Trump’s words but he has also said ‘some are good people’. His plan is to deport the illegal and undocumented immigrants, and his plan has many holes and wrong assumptions, it’s a large claim to make. Whether his supporters believe this can be done is questionable. It is true in some cases that these immigrants take work for less money than some white Americans will, but the economy and country need these workers to sustain and uphold it. However, information like that won’t always be presented to the public.
Trump has repeatedly given inaccurate information and fabricated statistics but how many people will research politicians’ policies acutely, and how many will be drawn in by his energy, his humour, his charisma and vote with their hearts and with the emotion he has instilled in them? This isn’t anything new.
Finally, a reason why his victory might have shocked you: the media. For whatever reason, Trump doesn’t have a fantastic relationship with the media, many outlets supported Clinton so why would they publish anything against her. Here in the UK, Brexit was rather on the edge of resulting in one or the other outcome, and despite the fear, people thought we would vote to remain in. We voted out. Opinion polls were wrong. They were wrong in America. Trump speaks his mind, but so many people today are afraid too, spears are thrown when someone isn’t absolutely politically correct, so why would people be as open and honest about saying ‘yes, I support this person that when he says anything nasty the media thrives on’? Because they will instantly be associated as being sexist, racist etc, Trump can speak some of their mind for them. If you’re not with the liberal left “type of people”, then you are against them. Then we’ve created our political bubbles. We listen to the people we agree with and block and don’t follow the people who disagree with our way of thinking. Your message of support for a candidate was published because you weren’t going to face masses of backlash, and if you feared that then you knew you still had people that supported your view underneath. We tend to associate with like-minded people.
‘It’s been what they call a historic event, but to be really historic we have to do a great job, and I promise you I will not let you down, we will do a great job, we will do a great job.’ – Donald Trump, Victory Speech, November 2016
You can watch a 40 minute BBC documentary on Trump’s Unlikely Superfans here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p04d0tcl/trumps-unlikely-superfans