The Donald: Why? Is He Really One of Us?

The Donald: Why? Is He
Really One of Us?


Leonard Zwelling

         I have been thinking about little else of late. The other 15
Republican (now 16, I blinked. Ex-Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore has joined the
pack) cannot breathe as The Donald does indeed “suck all of the oxygen out of
the room” even from Scotland where he is watching a golf tournament on his own course. The question is why?

         I think when Americans consider their candidates for offices
at the House level or below (meaning smaller than statewide), they really do
focus on policy or presumed policy as represented by a political party. If you
are pro-choice, you will likely vote Republican. If you believe in a single
payer health care system, you are likely to vote Democratic. Those not
permanently bent toward one ideology or another actually do listen and try to
determine which candidate for the House or Mayor is most likely to represent
the policies in which they believe or upon which their business may depend.

         I think it is different for aspirants to the US Senate.
There, it is the one race in which all the states are not equals. The senator
from Rhode Island represents far fewer people than the one from California yet
each has an equal vote. As this asymmetric Constitutional compromise plays out on
Election Day across the fruited plain, it does so only 32 or 33 seats at a time
and the winners are usually the people with the greatest perceived heft. A
senator is supposed to be deliberative, compromising, and deal making. It is no
longer true, but it used to be and the criteria for voting for a senator have
not altered all that much. Sometimes it is just the girl or guy who is the
least unlikable.

         I think Americans take their Presidential vote far differently
and far more personally. They scrutinize the candidates every 4 years trying to
ascertain who is likely to keep the country together sufficiently over the next
four years, so we can do it again. New Hampshire and Iowa voters in particular
want to look at their candidates close up, in the eye, and really “kick the
tires.” In the end, I believe Americans vote for the person they believe is the most
likely person they would be able to talk to across the back fence. Who speaks their language?
Who expresses their concerns? Who, “feels their pain?’ It is the latter that cost
George H. W. Bush, one of the most qualified men to ever hold the office, the
Presidency when he lost to the upstart Bill Clinton in 1992. While Clinton knew
the price of milk and bread, 41 was looking at his watch.

         Enter The Donald. Surely no one in America would be allowed
to talk to him over the fence. The fence would likely be an electrified wall
with barbed wire on top. How does The Donald out duel all the rest of the field
and Hillary, too? Simple. He speaks the language that everyday people speak everyday
to people they actually know. In that, the voters think they know him. If you
doubt that, check out this focus group video:

cannot tell you what her policy on the Keystone-XL pipeline is. Bobby Jindal
can border on the inarticulate. Mike Huckabee chooses his words poorly and even
Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are fading. Only the Jebber seems to have withstood the onslaught of
The Donald because he too speaks in everyday language, at least when he is
speaking Spanish.

         The Donald has prevailed because he speaks to American ears,
or at least to enough of them to stand out as a tidal wave in a field of 16
ripples. Do not dismiss him for he may well prove to be the Obama of 2016. Ha,
you say?

         That’s also what they said about Bill Clinton and Harry
Truman. Ya never know….

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