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Students and professors question the popularity of Donald Trump

Photo credit: Jeremy Steele

Donald Trump is frank, blunt and honest, and because people are more interested and more captivated by controversial news, a segment of the population is drawn towards his rhetoric.

I think people are voting for Trump because they love the idea of someone who is not a politician, someone who they see is a self-made man,” said Maya Perrelli, senior international relations major. “They love the idea of someone saying what needs to be said.”

Known from his television show “The Apprentice,” for his thin blonde hair and successful business endeavors, Trump has now entered the political sphere and established himself as one of the front-runners for GOP nomination.

And he’s been widely successful. Trump was the runner-up of the Iowa caucus vote and winner of New Hampshire, with his personal slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Trump’s campaign is based on keeping America from changing its ethnic demographic, conservative values and financial sovereignty. He’s a right-wing populist candidate who uses attacking rhetoric to win over middle class Americans and wealthy patrons.

But Trump’s political views are not significantly different from Republican peers Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. So why does Trump, a man with no political experience, have significant support at the voting polls?

“More and more you’ll see, particular to American politics, candidates that really pander to a pragmatic ideology, to the American ideal to get things done, to get your hands dirty in the issues, and I think some of that might be the appeal of Donald Trump, as far as why people might gravitate towards him,” said Jacob Thorp, member of the campus Marxist Student Association.

Americans see the wealthy as intelligent, as ambitious and successful. Salary has now become an indicator of character.

As a political scientist, the only values that all Americans share are political values, like freedom, equality and self-government,” said Sue Hilderbrand a political science professor. Trump is popular with a certain segment of the population, and that segment does value wealth.”

However, in Trump’s business past, he has used Chapter 11 bankruptcy laws and lawsuits as weapons. He has been involved in numerous including: a racial discrimination suit settled out of court in 1975, four bankruptcy filings between 1991 and 2009 and a lawsuit in 2013 claiming Trump defrauded 5,000 people of over $40 million.

Trump in the political field exploits the same tactics. He refuses to argue with political opponents and belittles them instead.

Trump is able to maneuver and gain public support where the other candidates hadn’t been able to,” Hildebrand said. “Because politicians tend to have a particular playbook, and an entertainer like Donald Trump hasn’t followed that playbook.”

This comes from Americans admiring people with the audacity to exploit any advantage.

It’s people believing that you should get yourself to the top, however you can,” Perrelli said. “You can look at exploitation as a form of intelligence, as a form of figuring out…what you have at your disposal, that Americans are fundamentally big on.

But an unexpected change is occurring. With his honesty, Trump appeals to those people who are disillusioned with the traditional candidates in the GOP.

We are a nation in flux. They are a fearful segment of the population. Unless you are educated, your livelihood is threatened, there is a lot of social change, economic change,” Hilderbrand said. “It’s a very crazy time in history. Six months ago, I would have argued that there is no way Trump could have stayed in the game. Everything we know is up for grabs at this point.”

Jeremy Steele can be reached at [email protected] or @jaysteele619 on Twitter.

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    john // Feb 16, 2016 at 9:13 am

    did trump get all those people jobs?