It’s been almost a week since the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire is bustling with volunteers canvassing and proclaiming who they want as their candidate. While Trump lost to Cruz by 4%, Trump is still determined to claw his way back to the top like he’s been doing for the past several months.
A lot of college students my age, whether or not they closely follow the campaign trail all claim that they hate Trump. But the real question is, why is Trump still pretty high up in the polls despite a lot of hate from potential voters?
A few days ago at the American Enterprise Institute, Senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner Tim Carney traveled to Iowa to report about the elections. Carney realized that in rural factory/farm towns, Trump is popular because he represents what Carney referred to as the “missing white voter.”
The missing white voter refers to white working class American males who don’t have a college degree and are stuck in either unemployment or jobs with no upward trajectory. The missing white voter feels demonized for not living the successful American-dream lifestyle. Carney said that living the American dream doesn’t necessarily becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs but rather being able to graduate high school, going to work and having enough money to provide for a family and save money, and being able to retire comfortably. The American dream doesn’t mean becoming a billionaire but rather living without the fear of not being able to provide.
Trump has used his slogan, “Make America Great Again,” which implies that America is not great, as seen in the missing white voter class. Trump has appealed to that voting class because he sympathizes with people rather than presents policies. Politicians like Cruz and Rubio want to immediately offer solutions. To the missing white voter, Trump is the doctor who sympathizes with the patients’ illnesses while Cruz and Rubio want to dive in and start providing a remedy before diagnosing the solution (unless those patients knew ahead of time what their ailments were).
Yes, Trump speaks his mind and isn’t afraid to make any bigoted comment; however, that appeals to the missing white voter because he shows audacity and authenticity. At the beginning of the campaign, that was a useful tactic because Trump raised awareness to people on issues like the national security threat from the lax immigration policies. Unfortunately for Trump, he doesn’t offer the best solutions. But because the demographic Trump appeals to are Americans with little to know post-high school education, they don’t question what his solutions are because they like the fact that he sympathizes with their problems.
With New Hampshire coming up around the corner, will Trump continue to bring in more people from the missing white voter class or will the diversity appeal from Cruz or Rubio take over Trump’s empire building?