Would You Vote For Donald Trump?

Love him or hate him Donald Trump stirs the blood wherever he goes and whenever he tweets. But he also commands a large vote and may well be re-elected in 2020.

Remaking America

Trump triggered a trade war to meet his promise of Making America Great Again but also hurt businesses that rely on global markets. He ignores warnings about climate change but hidden in his lack of concern lie lower energy costs for millions of rural voters. His cutting of taxes even finds favour with many of those who object to his abrasive style and offensive language. His approach wins voters who don’t like what he says but support his pledge to disrupt the status quo. What many voters say and what they do may be difficult to reconcile but it demonstrates his talent for giving people what they want.  

Other complexities appear amongst Trump supporters as they cross gender, race and socio-economic boundaries in ways that upend traditional voting patterns. He creates a new niche of voters that disagree with his behaviour but back his habit of saying what others don’t and won’t. He is also rewarded for keeping campaign promises, a trait not always shared by other politicians.

There is of course an underlying core of voters who see Trump as a man of radical change who is unburdened by the usual way of doing politics. Others support him because the economy is improving as more and better jobs are available. As a result, when economic performance is measured against his mindless rants on Twitter voters opt with the former and choose to ignore the latter. His appointment of conservative judges to the Supreme Court also guarantees swathes of voters who choose to ignore his worst traits. His harsh criticism of minorities strikes an uneasy chord. But it reflects what many people are afraid to say in what they see as a too liberal and politically correct atmosphere.

Remaking politics

Trumps main achievement however is to change the rules of politics and invent a new way of getting elected. His ability to operate outside the bounds of normal behaviour is shaping a different approach to politics in a system seen by many as dysfunctional.

In post-Trump politics those ignored by an economy shaped by social media, technology and globalism will have a place. New actions to revitalise local communities ravaged by decades of decline will be welcomed, not least because politicians will only succeed when they reach out to those who feel left behind.

A new type of raw energy has been released by Trump. Such energy will last long after he is gone although harnessing it will need mature thinking and grounded policies. Millions of people abandoned by a weak economy will be given a voice through Trump’s legacy, not least because they are now seen as an essential part of the electorate.

So, you may or may not vote for Trump but the anger he has unleashed is deeply felt by voters and will play a role in elections all around the world.