Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Why We Didn’t See Trump Coming

Why We Didn’t See Trump Coming

Prepared by PoliticalGuard Staff

The possible analysis of the rise of soon-to-be Republican nominee for the United States’ presidency Donald J. Trump could take volumes explain. What might take equally as much time is how no one could see it coming. Political pundits pride themselves on making accurate predictions and many get their predictions generally right. However most people saw Mr. Trump as a vanity candidate that would either find little support and/or get bored and drop out of the race. Now he is the presumptive Republican nominee. Experts, pundits, and many others ask themselves “how did we not see this coming?” We did not see it coming because of hidden racism, ignorance, and an opportunistic media. 
Before one can talk about reasons for the lack of future sight when considering Mr. Trump’s inexplicable rise to power. We have to talk about what fuels his campaign. The Donald Trump campaign is fueled, at least in part, by racism. Whether you like it or not. Yes you want to vote Republican. You believe in Republican values and you hate Hillary. I get it. But if you are voting for Mr. Trump, you are supporting his campaign which has been based on racism and prejudice (and also misogyny, but that’s for another time). Cornerstones of the Trump campaign are the “Wall” and being tough on Muslims. The wall keeps the drug-dealing rapist Mexicans out of the United States. Being tough on Muslims includes Mr. Trump proposed banning Muslims from entering the country even if they are U.S. citizens. The Trump campaign has also shown, in more subtle ways, its disdain for other groups, such as black people. Black people, both protesters and non-protesters, have been kicked out of Trump rallies. Those in the non-protesters group were expelled for seemingly no reason. All of these measures are based on treating people based on erroneous assumptions of people’s skin color  and/or religion and the erroneous assumptions that come with it.

Assumptions of a Post-Racial Society

Many news-literate or at least halfway educated person knows that racism is systemic in the United States. It creeps its way into the thinking of Americans. Its taint strongly lingers in our schools, courts, and laws. Despite this fact many Americans believe that we, as a collective, are just more civilized than in previous decades. American society is too civilized to subscribe to such archaic thinking as racism. Even those of us that know that racism exists in the United States, somewhere deep down think that it does not. Either due to denial or optimist. This belief of post-racial society is not completely unwarned. Mostly racist events are localized, downplayed in the media, and are fleeting for most people. Americans do not live in a post-racial society, we just live in a racist-shadow society. Racism just tries to hide. At least before Mr. Trump began running for president. (There is the exception to be made, of course, for rampant racism on the internet. But one must remember is it not all from the U.S., some of it comes from trolls, and you would not find many news stories on it).

How Could Racism Hide?

Racism can certainly hide. I personally learned this yesterday. I have two examples of well hidden racism. Two examples does not amount to much in terms of general patterns, but at least it proves the overall concept. Racism can hide. Take for example of friend of mine’s mother. One of the nicest women you’ll ever meet. Inviting and generous. Except that she thinks that every Muslim is a terrorist, and laments the communist Democrats that ‘protect them.’ These otherwise pleasant lady becomes incredibly unpleasant when you mention Muslims (or Democrats). She claims that if you are not voting for Trump, you should not vote at all.  Another example, a coworker of mine. He is helpful, nice, agreeable, and has an okay sense of humor. Today he mentioned how he respects another coworker, who is an immigrant, but he wishes that everyone would stay in their own country. He questioned why people moved from country to country, though it suspicious. Then he mentioned how Mr. Trump is going to build a wall and that he was disgusted at seeing women dressed in hijab in his neighborhood.

What I am trying to illustrate with the above is that racism hides, in otherwise kind-hearted people. People that you might never expect to hold in their hearts such disgusts, disrespect, and hatred for groups of people they just do not understand. I would venture to guess that there are dozens of people that are like this and support Mr. Trump.

Underestimating Mr. Trump’s Ability to Draw a Crowd
Before this election cycle the American populace was largely condemned, by other countries and the media, for being ill informed. While not totally meritless, emerging research was showing that among registered voters were not as ill informed as once previously thought. This fact likely lead some predictors to believe that the current electorate would never vote for a man like Mr. Trump. However, Mr. Trump's platform and antics attracted a great deal of a new people into the process as voters, volunteers, and donors. I do not have the information to show that these people are intellectually unmotivated or lacking the physical resources or mental skills to inform themselves. However, I would predict that they enjoy the lower end of the spectrum.

Blinders on the New Republican Electorate

The new Republican electorate has both newer wild card members and regulars. Seemingly the majority of these group support Mr. Trump. However, now that Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich have dropped out of the race, it is unclear how many individuals are voting for Mr. Trump because he is there only choice. No one would argue that Mr. Trump does not have wide support.

However, it is unfortunately clear that these individuals, that support Mr. Trump,  have not informed themselves. The Republican front-runner is called “authentic” but has pandered heavily to the electorates baser beliefs. Mr. Trump calls out “Lying Ted” and people say that he “tells it like it is.”  But he has frequently lies about his own business ventures, holding a press conference in which every Trump product he touted had been discontinued or owned by unaffiliated another company. Ask him about the pyramid scheme that he pawned off that was a complete failure. Mr. Trump claims that he is “so good at business. You all are going to be so rich.” Which is utter nonsense. Not everyone is going to be rich. Especially if they believe a statement like that.  Afterwards, Mr. Trump was fine, but not all the people he roped into it were.
People say that he is “not controlled by big money or the Republican establishment.” This idea might be true. But Mr. Trump is not ‘one of us.’ Despite his flaws, he is a wealthy man. His uncut demeanor does not separate him from the fact that he enjoys the upper crust of society. I’m not saying that some can not be rich and represent the people. But do not be mistaken about his background or temperament. He is a spoiled brat that likely saw a bid for presidency as a way to stroke his ego, then kept the gravy train of self-aggrandizing going when he realized people were more than happy to oblige.

Mr. Trump has even managed to attract people that he clearly does not serve the interests. For instance, black women. Mr. Trump and the bulk of his supporters show that they have a disdain for dark-skinned individuals. Through words and actions. Some of these actions include kidding black people out of Trump rallies. Furthermore, Mr. Donald Trump has shown a total lack of respect for women. This disrespect goes to his wife, ex-wives, daughter, reporters, television personalities, and others. Despite all of the above you can still find black men and women supporting Mr. Trump. Not a majority, but enough. Clearly these voters either hate themselves are incredibly uninformed.

Underestimated the Opportunistic Media

Mr. Trump has enjoyed a vast amount of media coverage. Everytime he says anything crazy (which is often) the media is all over it. This amount of media attention pushed his message to a larger audience and as a consequence touched more people. The media did Mr. Trump's campaigning for him. Predictors likely saw political celebrity as distinctly separate from entertainment celebrity. However, media outlets will use anything to increase their ratings. Mr. Trump is good at entertaining people. The media noticing this took full advantage of it by maintaining a robust coverage of Donald Trump. There was underestimation of the media’s willingness to use the Republican front-runner to boost ratings.


To summarize, predictors did not see Donald Trump’s rise to the Republican nomination because of a collective belief of a post-racial society, the ignorance of the new and old Republican electorate, and the belief of a less opportunistic media. Predictors saw a post-racial society because many people hide their racism, sometimes in the form of a nice, normal person. Predictors thought that the electorate was getting smarter, but discounted the fact that more less sophisticated individuals would join the voting pool. Predictors were use to the media ignoring vanity candidates or individuals that seemed hopeless. However, they did not anticipate Mr. Trump’s ability to entertain a crowd and the media’s willingness to provide them that entertainment.