Explaining Donald Trump’s Popularity

Donald Balboa

“Every sulfurous belch from the molten interior of the volcanic Trump phenomenon injures the chances of a Republican presidency.” Those are the words of George Will in a Washington Post column titled “The havoc that Trump wreaks — on his own party“.

The damage that Trump is doing to the GOP brand is a common theme among recent political commentaries. What is baffling plenty of political pundits is the exact reason why Trump has the amount of popularity that he has.

In a Weekly Standard blog post titled “Among the Trumpies“, Fred Barnes describes the Trump supporters in a focus group conducted by Frank Luntz: “They love the Trump swagger and attitude. Luntz asked what they liked the most, the Trump persona or his policies. Persona got 23 votes, policies six. Shown a video of Trump’s insisting that he would be the greatest president ever, they were untroubled by his boastfulness. Several said Trump was merely displaying his confidence.”

In his above-quoted Washington Post column, George Will gives a different description of Trump’s supporters:

Some supporters simply find Trump entertainingly naughty. Others, however, have remarkable cognitive dissonance. They properly execrate Obama’s executive high-handedness that expresses progressivism’s traditional disdain for the separation of powers that often makes government action difficult. But these same Trumpkins simultaneously despise GOP congressional leaders because they do not somehow jettison the separation of powers and work conservatism’s unimpeded will from Capitol Hill.

In a commentary for Real Clear Politics, Mark Salter has this to say directly to Trump’s supporters:

What the hell is wrong with you?

I don’t know for certain if Trump really is an aspiring Mussolini or a nut or a black hole of narcissism. I’m not a psychiatrist. He might just be taking advantage of the low state of politics in America to build up his singular if weird personal brand. But whatever he’s doing, he is clearly an awful human being. And if you can’t recognize that then there’s something pretty clearly wrong with you, too.

Politicians and pundits are making excuses for you. They say you’re so sick of bad government and polarized politics that you’re willing to take a chance on making Donald Trump the most powerful man on Earth. I say you’ve taken leave of your senses. I say you’re delusional. I say you’ve confused reality with reality TV. I say you’d rather sulk and bitch about America’s problems than help fix them.

Do you really think the dislocations caused by the transition from an industrial society to an information economy can be reversed with threats and tariffs? Do you really think rising urban crime rates, structural unemployment, failing schools, the proliferation of single-parent households, and the growing heroin epidemic can all be fixed by sealing our borders? Do you really think it’s even possible to round up 11 million people, the vast majority of whom are hard-working, decent folks, and force them out of the country? Do you really think that would make America better?

If you do, I say you’re looking for scapegoats, not solutions. I say you’re not patriots trying to make America great again. You’re fools prepared to hurt the country and the world far more than any political “establishment” has or would ever do.

This author proposes another reason for Trump’s popularity: He is a fighter akin to Rocky Balboa and Philo Beddoe.

So, why do fighters have such an appeal to certain people?

Social problems tend to be complex. Such complexity is often too much for the Human psyche to handle. So, Humans gravitate toward any politician who offers them simple solutions to their complex problems.

Fighting – or the use of brute force – offers people a simple solution, even if it really isn’t a solution.

Something about the human psyche causes people to seek a victory of some kind even if the victory is hollow. For example, American-style football is a popular sport because it gives spectators victories to cheer about should their favorite teams win games. However, does a football victory solve any problems? Does such a victory right a wrong? Does it preserve human lives or human rights?

No, winning an athletic competition doesn’t solve any social woe, but it gives people a feeling of euphoria. Donald Trump’s political fighting gives his supporters a feeling of euphoria, too. As Fred Barnes writes, Trump’s supporters “view Trump as different from all the other presidential candidates. He’s not just their favorite candidate. Their tie to him is almost mystical. He’s a kind of political savior, someone who says what they think.

If Donald Trump somehow makes it to the presidential super bowl, then it won’t be because he is offering sensible solutions. Instead, it will be because his supporters want a POTUS with the chutzpah to say “Right turn, Clyde.”

Yo, Melania!

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    Explaining Trump’s popularity? Simple. Anger.

    • Retired military

      Explaining Hillary’s/ Obama’s / Sanders/ Biden’s popularity? Simple. Stupidity

      • GrantS

        Did you just call half of the population, the half that won’t vote Trump, as stupid?

        • News Flash: Half of everyone you meet is below average intelligence.

          • jim_m

            Leftists believe that math is a bigoted field, imposed by the white patriarchy to keep the rest of the world oppressed. Therefore your declaration that half of everyone is below average is just a lie used to secure your white privilege.

          • jim_m

            Technically, if I am primarily hanging around with leftists, then probably about 99% of everyone I meet is of below average intelligence.

          • Meh, I find the problem less on of intelligence than of indoctrination around here. They don’t lack smarts, just have little practice in actually using them.


  • Jwb10001

    George Will, conservative hero that voted for Obama accusing someone else or ruining the GOPs chances at the presidency. I’m not a Trump supporter but people like George Will are to blame for Trump. They are so soft and ashamed of being conservative that they won’t stand up for conservative principals. This idiot liked Obama for the crease in his pants, his opinion of anything should be, by any objective standard, worthless.

    • iwogisdead

      Exactly. But, once you realize that David Robertson is a dolt, this post makes sense. Otherwise, it just seems strange.

    • Commander_Chico

      Will voted for Obama in 2008 for the same reason he’s against Trump now.

      Neither Palin nor Trump could or should be trusted with potential nuclear command authority.

      • Retired military

        If Hillary gets elected why wont the russians try to steal the launch codes from her?

        Why steal something that you already have.

  • Idahoser

    trump is a means to an end. The end being, George Will out of a job.
    Seriously, we want and need republican politicians to learn from Trump how to put down the media who think they have the responsibility to tell us who to vote for.
    And stop trying to refight the 535 elections you don’t like the outcome of. They don’t need to overthrow checks and balances to USE THEIR AUTHORITY.
    Repeal the 17th and put states back in the fight against runaway federal government.

    • Alpha_Male

      I was always a fan of repealing the 17th too until someone pointed out why it became so popular. All these tin horn dictator governors sending up their cronies to bring back federal dollars to line their own personal pockets.

      I truly like the theory behind states being able to dictate who their senators are going to be, it was intended to be the states voice in the central government.

      In my opinion repealing the 16th would be a much better start

      • Idahoser

        you haven’t explained how the federal leviathan is not worse by far than any state corruption.
        The kind of trouble you fear is within the capability of the state to fix it. The trouble we have from this perverted second House extends to this supreme court, this backwards treaty process, etc. And of course it would never cut off it’s own umbilical of the income tax.
        The 17th is the key. Alone, it won’t fix anything, but all the things we want to accomplish are impossible when the senate works for the federal government, rather than the states.
        None of the good things you and I want can be accomplished without first taking the power out of Washington.

  • Ken in Camarillo

    Mark Salter sounds like a dumbass, and he’s too much of a dumbass to realize that we who don’t particularly like Trump, consider voting for Trump as a way to displace dumbasses.

  • Par4Course

    New day, same sh*t at Wizbang.

  • Vagabond661

    It’s simple. Trump doesn’t back down.

    GOP cries give us the House! We will stop Obama! We will repeal Obamacare! We give them the House.

    The GOP cries give us the Senate! We will stop Obama! We will repeal Obamacare! We give them the Senate.
    And yet, The GOP is crap. There is no difference in the way Mealy McConnell is running the Senate than if Reid was running it. The GOPees in their pants back down every time, cowering in their corner. We the people are sick of that shit.

    • Retired military

      Bitch McConnel and Ballless Boehner are the best congressional leaders the dems ever had.

  • No need to explain, if the Washington Cartel which includes the GOP doesn’t like it, then too bad. George Will is an unbeliever, a no body by any standards. Trump is right and we do need to make a Right Turn only as we have made a Wrong Turn for too long. To quote Trump, “we’re not going to take it any more” period.

    • Commander_Chico

      I think that picture sums it all up.

      • Which is why we all point, say “Ha, ha” or nothing at all, down ding, and move on.


      “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore”.
      Howard Beale

  • Olsoljer

    Who gives a rat’s ass about the “party”? You will note there more than a few demos, independents – as well as an increase of ethnicity who are supporting Trump – they are called patriots, and finally realizing that the existing two party system is trash.

  • IHC

    They just don’t get it!
    They have no idea about the ‘cold anger’ felt by americans throughout the country and involves people from all walks of life and political parties.
    If anybody still believes that everything is okay and put another pre-selected establishment candidate into the white house is delusional. Where has this taken us? Take a look at Europe…

  • obadiah_edomite

    Trump combines the most entertaining personality features of limbaugh, savage and beck. radio republicans are very very comfortable with the donald. money republicans, religious republicans and liberty republicans have been outflanked.

  • a French Chef

    Tired of being lied to by EstGOP and ripped off by government.