The 2016 Presidential Election has been anything but ordinary. Before this rodeo started, a vast number of political experts expected a basic and boring general election face-off between two establishment politicians with familiar names, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. While the pundits did get half of what they predicted (a Democratic nominee with the last name Clinton), no one expected for Donald Trump to rush onto the stage and steal the show during the Republican primaries.
Political experts and Republican Party leaders alike underestimated the level of fear, anger, and disenchantment that many white Americans feel with the current political system in Washington, D.C. Many Trump supporters feel as if the new economy in the 21st Century has left them behind or will leave their children in weak position in the future. This is the reason that when Trump speaks of trade deals causing the outsourcing of jobs or illegal immigrants replacing American workers, the message resonates with so many people.
For Mr. Trump’s core base of supporters, whether or not he can support his claims (or solutions to problems) with facts is irrelevant. I truly do believe that many people within the political bubble are having a difficult time grasping and accepting this observation. It must be understood that Trump’s supporters do not care if he lies from time to time (or a lot) in order to prove his point. They just appreciate having someone outside of the establishment (which in their view, has been “playing” them for years and years) who seems to voice their concerns and advocate on their behalf. And yes, his supporters do have some valid concerns ( the decrease in manufacturing, the increase in the size of the debt, etc.). Therefore, it is not necessary for someone, or a group of persons, to write-off Trump’s entire group of supporters as a “basket of deplorables” or as all racists. Doing this in my opinion only alienates them further which is not a positive for the country.
Mr. Trump has undoubtedly reshaped this year’s election. While looking at the larger picture, it is obvious that he has also left a permanent mark on the Republican Party, and to a larger extent, American politics and elections for years to come.