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The Rise of Donald Trump (and the Failure of Modern-Day Politics)

by Davey W Miller

posted in News and Society

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Journalists, pundits, and television talking heads are genuinely puzzled about the meteoric rise of real estate mogul and multi-billionaire Donald Trump. Of course they don't get it. Why would they? They've been so steeped in Washington politics that they think DC everything revolves around them and their political "insights." Those of us "unwashed" masses understand his rise right away: we like fighters.
Most politicians go to Washington thinking they'll be another "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" but end up being just another ineffective but well-paid bureaucrat. Their only goal after arriving is the next election. The re-election rate for incumbents is more than 90% so they can coast for years without really being held to account for anything they've ever voted on. No one challenges them and no one holds them to account. After only a few years in DC they become insiders.
Well, Trump is not exactly an insider. Admittedly he's played the game of politics well. He's made no bones about greasing the palms of greedy politicians for political favors, but he also points out that it's why the system is so broken.
Trump is a fighter. You can see it when he stands up to the media. If he says something, he's not going to back down just because an overpaid journalist questions him on it. He'll defend it, word it differently so that even journalists can understand it, and he even double down on it if necessary. It happened with immigration, Megyn Kelly, Jorges Ramos, women's issues, calling out other candidates, and John McCain to name a few. Do you see a pattern there? He doesn't back down or apologize for his statements.
Now, you can argue all day long about Trump's actual policies, (i.e., are they conservative enough). He, like most of the politicians he's publicly criticized, has evolved on the issues. Take gay marriage, Planned Parenthood, gun rights, and immigration. He's change on all of them. So have the other politicians. To deny that others do it is simply dishonest.
Newt Gingrich said it well the other day, "Donald likes winning and most Americans like winning." Americans do not like to see the United States doing poorly around the world in trade, the economy, education, international negotiations, and on and on. Donald Trump - a "winner" in his own right - likes to win.
I believe Trump rose to the top quickly because he's not a mealy-mouthed politician who talks a good game when trying to garner votes and votes exactly opposite when he gets re-elected. Look no further than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House John Boehner. Both were re-elected in 2014 promising to end the Affordable Care Act and to reign in government spending. Both issues passed through the House and Senate with flying colors. Essentially, President Obama has no opposition. I don't care who you are, but when you have nobody pushing back against your policies, it's pretty clear that the people will be getting the shaft. Trump represents the fight that neither Boehner nor McConnell will engage in.
The fact that McConnell has already stated publicly that they will not shut down the government is just not smart politics. Why in the world would you show your complete hand to your opposition? At least pretend to play the game. Why would you do that unless you actually think like your opposition. Donald Trump said that we have some of the stupidest politicians in the world. You really cannot disagree with him on that.
Will he win when he fights? No idea, but for once in a while it's nice to see someone try. Is that really too much to ask?
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