Mark Twain, also known as Samuel Clemens, famously said “The Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”. This quotation could be easily applied to Donald Trump. The real estate magnate is currently leading the 2016 GOP presidential bid race at 32%. Yet commentators from the right and the left are already proclaiming his demise. They are saying that Trump has peaked and that his momentum is not going to last. Why are people so ready to dismiss his meteoric rise as a flash in the pan? There are clearly a number of factors at work here. First of all, there are a lot of people who just don’t like Donald Trump. They think he is too blunt, too crass and too egotistical. Secondly, there are people who object to his conspicuous consumption. Trump is not afraid to brag about his wealth. Unlike 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who tried to down play his affluence and patrician background, Donald Trump is constantly telling the voters how much money he has. And he uses his net worth to underscore the point that because he has so much personal wealth, he does not have to kowtow to lobbyists and special interest groups to finance his campaign. Thirdly, there are people who think that he is a Democrat in a Republican’s clothing. They point to his past support of Hillary Clinton to show that he is not a party loyalist. They also continue to waive the Ross Perot 3rd party candidate warning flag.
However, there is an even more basic principle in play. People are saying that Trump’s campaign is losing its spark because they do not understand why he is still leading the GOP pack. After every alleged public relations misstep, his star continues to burn even brighter. All the pundits are scratching their heads. They just don’t get it. Surely his most recent comment about Megyn Kelly, Jeb Bush, anchor babies etc. should be his campaign’s swan song. But no. He is still soaring like an eagle. In fact, his sound bites are the sound bites that are getting all the press coverage. Plus, he is speaking to enormous crowds. At his most recent campaign stop in Mobile Alabama, the venue had to be moved three times to accommodate the crowd of over 30,000. Talk about an “Alabama Slammer”. “We have a stock market not doing so well, we have a country not doing so well, we’ve been saying it for a long time,” Trump said. “We have politicians who don’t have a clue. They’re all talk, no action. What’s happening to this country is disgraceful.” Apparently, Trump the “anti-Washington establishment” candidate has more than a clue.
Trump is resonating because he calls a situation as he sees it. He does not ignore the critical issues, he does not equivocate and he does not apologize. Why is this so hard for the population at large to understand? They say they want a leader. And here is a leader thrust in front of them, yet they are unwilling to recognize him as such. Instead they want to question his motivation, his loyalty and his staying power. They say that he is all rhetoric and no policy. Yet he introduces an immigration policy which is easy to understand, easy to communicate and, most importantly, easy to implement. Yet, the nay sayers are still ready to dismiss it without really seriously considering it. Why? Because, he dared to question the birthright to citizenship of the “born on American soil” children of illegal immigrants? The reality is that Trump’s recommendation that we look to modify the 14th amendment is not a violation of the Constitution as the opponents from both the left and right would have you believe. Frankly it is not even a new idea. Others such as Senator David Vitter of Louisiana and Representative Steve King of Iowa suggested modifying the 14th amendment several months ago to address the “anchor baby” problem. Yet many people are ready to discount Trump’s immigration policy.
Why are people so cynical? Why don’t they believe Donald Trump when he says that he wants to “make America great again”? Perhaps that is the problem with America right now. Too many of us have lost the ability to envision a better America. Donald Trump has a vision for our future. Why are we so unwilling to listen? Has our discomfort with messenger caused us to ignore the message? Donald Trump may not be the “ideal” candidate, but he is currently the front-runner. Perhaps, we should accept the current reality. After all, the election is still over fourteen months away; a lot can change between now and then.