A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Op-Ed

Trump’s Appeal

You, along with many other Americans, might be wondering, “What’s Trump’s appeal?” In San Francisco, we don’t see or hear many Trump supporters, which is why it may come as a shock that Trump is doing so well in the Republican primaries. I often find myself asking, “What is it that drives millions of American citizens to give their support to this man?” Donald Trump is far from stupid when it comes to the way he runs his campaign. To have won the majority of the Republican vote in 18 different states, Trump must know what he’s doing to some degree. Although Ted Cruz and John Kasich have taken wins in a few states, so far, Donald Trump is well ahead of his Republican competition and it looks like he’ll remain ahead in the race.

I believe people vote for Trump out of fear and xenophobia. Trump promises to do away with many threats that American citizens perceive to be a danger. Many of his speeches and promises are rooted in Islamophobia, playing on the fear generated by ISIS and other terrorist groups. People forget or ignore that just because ISIS is made up of Muslim extremists, not all followers of Islam are a part of ISIS. When Trump says things like he’s “going to stop Muslim immigration to the U.S.,” it’s obvious why he gains support. Voters are buying into two concepts: that he has the power to kick out all Muslims out of the country, and that the U.S. will be safer without them.

A similar issue of race-blame also drives voters to support Trump because of his stance on Mexican immigrants. Many Americans face either the fear of or the realities of unemployment. This leads voters to support the deportation of immigrant groups whom they believe have taken their jobs. By stopping an entire group of people from entering the United States because on their race or religion, Donald Trump would just worsen the state of racism in this country, something the U.S. should be working to combat. However, a large part of voters in the United States identify with Trump’s racist rhetoric, so it makes sense why they support him: they would not be bothered by an increasingly discriminatory society.

Foreign countries that work closely with the United States may prefer a Trump presidency because, as a businessman, he might be eager to break a good deal, rather than doing what’s best for the American people. As a businessman, Americans may be drawn to him because of his position as a Washington outsider. I also believe people vote for Donald Trump for his accessibility. Voters can easily follow what he says in a presidential campaign speech. Trump speaks to his audience in a way that is easily comprehensible, which makes him better liked. To be winning the primaries, Trump has shown that voter appeal comes from the power to play into the growing fear and prejudice of the American people, focus on business, and speaking in a way that all voters can understand.

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