Political experts, pundits, commentators, and politicians themselves, have been shocked and unable to explain events in the current Presidential election cycle. Trump has been leading in all the polls, and lately Carson has been gaining, even leading in one poll. But neither have ever held a political office before. “How could this be?” the experts ask.
Let’s see if I can put in some proper perspective.
First of all, the fact that both Trump and Carson are true outsiders to the world of Washington, DC is perceived by the electorate as a huge plus right now.
Rush Limbaugh recently said "A lot of people feel powerless because Washington is its own place and it has obviously no interest, concern, or care for what the people of this country think. It only cares about the people that donate money and contribute money. Those are the people running Washington, DC. There’s a giant disconnect that we have been talking about."
Conservative voters elected a Republican majority in the House in 2012, and then a Republican majority in the Senate in 2014. Many of those Republicans, running in the 2014 election, promised to fight President Obama, to repeal Obamacare, to fight the President on his promised executive order to loosen the reins on illegal immigration, to fight his deal with Iran. So when we finally got a majority in both houses of Congress, emotions and expectations were high.
But voters were surprised, shocked even, to see Congress fail to do ANYTHING to fight Obama. If you watched the Congress under the leadership of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, you would be hard pressed to see anything different than the Congress under Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. John Boehner talked a big game, criticizing Obamacare, criticizing Obama for the threatened executive order on immigration, then did nothing to stop them, despite having the power to do so.
So voters have concluded that the elites of the Republican Party are really no different than the elites of the Democratic Party. They are all big government statists. The Republican leadership must be basically in agreement with what Obama is doing.
I believe there is a growing sense with a sizable portion of the American public, that the system is broken, and that our leaders have essentially become rulers, not subject to the public will but doing what they want in spite of it. How else could Congress pass something like Obamacare, which has never at any time been supported by over 50% of the US population (and some of those who supported it wouldn’t have, if they had understood what it was and realized it didn’t mean *free* health care for them)?
Now enter Donald Trump. He is not even necessarily a conservative. Certainly his conservative credentials are somewhat in question. But what has he done that voters have liked?
- He has spoken out against illegal immigration, voicing a sentiment that many voters have, but most politicians haven’t got the guts to say. He has pointed out how a lot of crime has come from illegal immigrants, something that statistics easily show, but the liberals have gone apoplectic about.
- He has run his election using his own money. This is a significant plus for him because I think many Americans have a sense that when big companies or rich individuals donate big bucks to a politician’s campaign, they to some degree “own” him after that.
- He has stood up to the “outrage machine.” Here’s how the outrage machine works.
A Republican becomes somewhat popular or proves effective. Then he says something that can be construed in some possible way as being offensive to someone, a minority group or something.
Now the outrage machine goes into action. Heads of liberal organizations, liberal politicians, liberal celebrities, liberal college faculty people, liberal media people, all cry foul and explain how what the Republican said was offensive. They demand apologies.
The Republican politician usually does not keep his cool. He apologizes. But then members of the outrage machine do not stop there. They assert that that’s not good enough. He has to apologize again. So he does. But that’s still not good enough. Basically the outrage machine will not be satisfied until the person has quit the political race, been fired, resigned from his position, etc.
In other words, the outrage machine is not really outraged. They are not motivated by outrage. They are following Alinsky and marginalizing the person, destroying him. They are using their faux outrage to get rid of people who are opponents or who do not agree with their agenda.
If you are a conservative, watching this happen to politicians, college professors, CEO’s, on and on, is disgusting. Even if you’re not a conservative, watching this happen might just seem a little bit wrong or unfair. And it’s happened again and again.
So what has Trump done? He has basically told the outrage machine to go stuff it. He made his remark about illegal immigrants bringing crime to the US, and the outrage machine started rolling. They wanted him to apologize, and outrage machine spokesmen far and wide got on TV saying how evil he was and mis-characterizing what he said as being against all Latinos.
Trump has refused to apologize, in fact he has doubled down. And his popularity has grown, through several more similar episodes.
Ben Carson had a similar episode recently where someone asked him a “gotcha” question about whether he thought a Muslim could be President of the United States. He said no, that Sharia law was incompatible with the U.S. Constitution, so he did not think a Muslim could be President.
The outrage machine went into action. But Carson did not back down. He doubled down. And his poll numbers have been steadily growing.
I think the essence of the popularity of Trump and Carson is that they are viewed as outsiders, meaning they are not part of the Washington political machine. That is viewed as a positive, in that many people are unhappy with what’s been happening in Washington. Their representatives have not been doing what they want, and they feel to some extent betrayed.
Plus we have had nearly 7 years of President Obama. There are many things you could say about Obama, but it has become clear to me that he has been working steadily and enthusiastically toward the goal of reducing America’s strength, power, and standing in the world. It’s clear that he doesn’t love America. In fact I would go so far as to say that he hates America, that he sees America as the cause of most of what is bad in the world today. If you made a list of the types of things you would do as President if you wanted to reduce America’s power and standing in the world, then compared that list to what Obama has done, you would find few if any differences.
People who are paying attention and understand what he has been doing, are fed up. They have put Republicans on Congress to stop Obama, and they’ve done nothing. So someone like Trump who is not afraid to speak his mind and take on the media and the outrage machine, appeals to people.
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome for any Republican candidate has been the mainstream news media. The mainstream media, or the “drive by media” as Rush Limbaugh calls them, have consistently attacked Republicans, run cover for all Democrats and Obama in particular, failed to vet Democrats but have worked to destroy Republicans, and have indeed distorted the entire political process in America.
This liberal news media bias has gotten markedly worse over the last 10-15 years, and the media have really abandoned any pretense of objectivity.
I could easily write a whole another article on the debate process and how this liberal bias in American media has ruined the debate process. We saw this clearly recently with the CNBC debate where the far-left moderators came out gunning for every candidate, asking them hostile questions unlike anything they would ever or have ever asked Democratic candidates. Ted Cruz took them to the woodshed at the end of the debate, and the audience loved it.
To the degree that Trump, Carson, Cruz, and other candidates stand up to the media and question their right to character assassination, is the degree in which Republicans have a chance in this election. Because the media have destroyed all the viable Republican candidates in the last two Presidential election cycles, leaving us with a milktoast, middle of the road candidate and then even destroyed him.