What exactly has Donald Trump tapped into that has given him juicy front-runner status more than a year out from the 2016 presidential election? My guess is: anger. This anger is directed at a political system perceived as completely out of sync with the American public.
Trump is the anti-Jeb Bush and the anti-Hillary Clinton. They’re dynasty politicians who are faring far below expectations in the court of public opinion. Hillary is tied up in the mess of State Department email security and Jeb can’t seem to break free (yet) of a cycle of faux pas (see anchor babies).
No matter how their campaigns progress, both Clinton and Bush (and all the other declared candidates) are dedicated to party ideologies. Trump claims he is not nor does he need large donors. Recently, however, he has learned that grassroots donations can actually build a base of support.
When people are willing to put down a dollar on your campaign – that means they are invested literally and figuratively. It can also mean they have expectations of access.
This is why many Americans have had it with their politicians, and subsequently their government, being owned by big corporations and super PACs. Despite being a party candidate, Trump's words are resonating.
Voters’ frustration with politics gives him an appeal that has dumbfounded the pundits and many in his own party -- a party that Trump says he doesn’t need. Ronald Reagan wanted the Republican Party to be a “big tent.” Donald Trump is doing all he can to kick people out of it. And if he doesn’t get the Republican nod he has indicated he might run as an independent.
So if he runs as an Independent, free of the encumbrances and partisan machinations which have brought much of the gridlock to Congress, should he get a vote simply because he is an Independent? Absolutely not. There is a difference between an independent candidate and an opportunist candidate.
If Donald Trump were a true Independent, he’d be running as one now. If he loses the Republican nomination and runs as an Independent, he won’t be doing it for the good of the people, he’ll be doing it to feed his ego. He’ll be doing it because he can ($$$).
The beauty of the independence movement is to leave behind partisan tricks and treachery to support good ideas regardless of party. Independent doesn’t mean anti-conservative or anti-liberal. It means not partisan. It means thinking and acting for the good of the public, not a party.
This is not to say that Democrats and Republicans can’t do that. But the reality is, most of them don’t. Most of them can’t if they want to win a presidential primary.
For those invested in seeing a free-thinking, unencumbered candidate, Donald Trump isn’t the answer. The rationale can’t be because he “isn’t the other two.” It is up to the American public to say, “Enough!” The nation deserves a leader, not someone who is going to treat the political process like a game show. The presidency is more serious than Deal or No Deal.
Trump’s attack dog mentality has attracted a startling amount of early support, which is disheartening. His behavior is abhorrent. What does he hope to accomplish by calling Megyn Kelly a “bimbo” because her questions were “unfair"?
The comment smacks of hating women even with the best spin. And as to the “unfair questions,” did you say you were running for the presidency of the most powerful nation in the world?
Just this week, Trump kicked a Univision reporter out of a press conference because he didn’t want to answer questions.
There’s a long list of offenses by Trump that kick at the foundations of principles that truly make this country great, not the least of which is his desire to build a wall to keep out the rest of the world.
Ever heard of how this country got started and what makes it truly great? Hint: the people.
Independents have a long road ahead of them. At the presidential level, efforts are underway to have candidates participate in debates earlier. Finding qualified candidates who are willing to put themselves through the political gauntlet, determine how they will fund a campaign, and have the breadth of knowledge that lends itself to the position is difficult -- even for the major parties.
It’s doubly difficult for someone with no party “safety net.” However, if the American people join in on the concept in large numbers, it could be equally as freeing.
If Trump’s candidacy shakes some of the electorate free of political apathy then at least that would be something we could count as a positive.
We can take a first step in Making America Great Again by not electing the man with the same slogan – no matter what letter goes after his name.