The Donald Trump Primary?


Shove over Reince Priebus- Donald Trump is taking over the Republican Primary from here on out.

The last month or so has seen the meteoric rise of real estate mogul and celebrity Donald J. Trump atop the densely populated field of the Republican Presidential Primary. He leads every national poll with at least 20% of Republican voters saying they’d back him for the nomination, whilst candidates like Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and others are behind him- in some cases by double-digits- and losing ground.

It seems that non-conventional- and to be honest, non-politician- candidates are leading or gaining support among disaffected American voters. Dr. Ben Carson and businesswoman Carly Fiorina have also seen their support rise since the Fox News debates last week and this is no coincidence. Americans are tired of the same old “establishment” politicians reciting the same old promises and then, once elected, failing to accomplish anything the set out to do. This is the same reason Sen. Bernie Sanders is now leading Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire and is attracting the largest crowds of any campaign thus far at his rallies. Voters are fed up with the “front-runners” and want to hear people talk about things that aren’t discussed in Washington by either party.

Donald Trump is talking about taking on China, ending illegal immigration from our border with Mexico through much more strict enforcement measures, reducing our government’s debt through savvy business manoeuvres and, of course, to once more make the United States a global superpower, “feared by enemies, respected by allies”. Not only is he talking about these issues, but he’s saying them in the most Trump way possible. He’s a straight shooting New Yorker and, I suppose because he’s not a politician, isn’t really concerned about political correctness (which his supporters loathe anyway). Sure, he called Mexicans rapists and has relentlessly gone after the media and other candidates calling them “idiots, morons, liars and cowards”, even if it is the media which has perpetuated his rapid rise in popularity. And, yes, he did call Rosie O’Donnell an ugly, fat slob. But Americans don’t care about any of that faux-news. Republican voters are frustrated with what they see as the media as distracting from the real issues with stories about what who said about whom and when.

The same goes for Bernie. Hillary Clinton is embroiled with scandals about classified documents from her time at the State Department on her private server and the fact that she was, blatantly, dishonest about it. She has to appear before a House select committee focused on the Benghazi attacks to testify under oath about e-mails sent to and from her private account in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack. Hillary touts the traditional Democratic Party platform. She is progressive in the sense that she supports reforms in work-place protections for women and LGBT employees, tackling abuse in the financial sector and moderate changes to America’s higher-education programmes. The issue is, her ideas have been the Democratic Party’s platform for over a decade and President Obama has failed to implement much of them. Bernie Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist who wants to make all public education- including that of the university level- free for all Americans and has proposed a radical change to the tax structure to do so. He wants to implement far-left environmental protections going so far as to impose a national cap and trade programme that would strictly target larger energy plants and industrial centres. He is strongly pro-labour union and wants to dramatically reduce the size of the military. In a sense, he’s a liberals’ liberal and is winning support of much of the Democratic primary voters’ support because he’s touting the Left’s core principles. He and Trump are similar in more ways than they know.

People don’t want well-polished, scripted and seemingly fake politicians making the same promises that are never kept. The candidacies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are hitting on exactly that point. Trump, on one hand, is almost totally self-financing his campaign and the average donation to Sanders’ campaign is $30.12. Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton both have SuperPACs where mega donors like CitiBank and JPMorgan give hundreds of thousands of dollars and individuals can pump as much cash into the campaign as possible. Trump and Sanders are not running campaigns in the traditional sense. Trump is giving kids rides in his helicopter in Iowa whilst Bernie is travelling to states that aren’t early Primary battlegrounds but is still drawing crowds in the tens of thousands. He is running just go get his message out there with the hope that the votes come after that, not the other way around.

I would like to conclude this article with an opinion. While I do not particularly care for either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders politically, there is something noble in what they are seeming to accomplish. I believe that these two men are fundamentally changing the way we conduct Presidential elections in this country and may inflict permanent damage on the establishments of both parties. Outsider candidates tend to perform well at first, but by the first primary, they usually lose support rapidly. This time, however, I’m not so sure that will happen. Clinton is plagued with scandal and Republicans like Bush, Walker or even Marco Rubio are having to talk about Trump more than about themselves. Perhaps, even, this election may trigger a discussion about reforming the process entirely, particularly the influence of money in politics and SuperPACs. For now, it is too early to predict who will go head to head for the Presidency come November 2016, but I can assure you, readers, that it will be one hell of a ride to get there.

Stay tuned.

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