On a Freenet discussion group I’ve participated in for several years now, someone posted a link to this article in the Economist. What struck us all was a featured comment that we agreed was an accurate summary of why Donald Trump – an insanely unqualified candidate – is so appealing to those favoring him. Take a look below and let it sink in:
Rule number one for understanding people whom you disagree with: recognize that not everyone has the same motives. Obviously Trump supporters are no different. But if I had to encapsulate the mentality of a typical Trump supporter in one internet comment, the one above would likely take the cake.
I’ve noticed a pattern more and more with each passing presidential election; first in 2008, and even more so in 2012. And that’s the hard truth that people don’t vote for candidates because they’ve done a cost/benefit analysis of their platform, or decided it’s a morally desirable thing to implement. People start with parties or candidates they like and only then do they try to find policy justifications for why the person or team they’re rooting for is so damn great.
This has been confirmed by recent polling which found that who a policy is attributed to can matter just as much if not more to it’s approval than what people think of the proposal itself. I recently started reading two books in tandem that describe this psychological pattern quite well: “Thinking, Fast and Slow” along with “The Righteous Mind.” All I can say right now is that so much partisan behavior in others and myself that I never really understood is starting to make sense – irrational as that behavior may be.
In the end, Trump is winning support among a white underclass that feels squeezed out of the job market yet isn’t considered a traditional victim class to the media. The only way to stop future Donald Trumps – aside from better voting methods – is to convince this demographic that excessive government is what’s holding them back. Not immigration from Mexico – which has actually reversed in recent times.