Who is the real Donald J. Trump? The larger-than-life, bombastic, billionaire real estate magnate-turned-reality TV star, and current front-runner for the Republican Presidential nomination, has caught nearly all political experts off-guard. Following the announcement of his candidacy, his rise in polls seemed to occur overnight, shocking and dumbfounding the political establishment, which has grown accustomed and comfortable operating in the United States’ stale, repetitive political discourse.
But who is Trump really? What would be found underneath all of the bravado and theatrics?
The Donald Trump the public knows is an act. A well-crafted persona. The language he uses is likely intentionally simplistic and vague, as explained here by Dilbert creator Scott Adams, so as to help him connect with people without providing substance.
Since at least 2011, Trump has associated himself with the right side of the U.S. political spectrum. Some might say the far-right. You may recall that it was in 2011 that Trump, who also toyed with the idea of running for President during the 2012 election cycle, ran a campaign demanding that President Obama release his birth certificate, and questioning whether Obama was born in the United States. It seems plausible that Trump may have already intended to run for president back in 2011, as he used much of the same rhetoric and talking points regarding China that he is using now. The Donald has gone even farther for the 2016 election cycle, however, turning up his rhetoric by filling his speeches with xenophobic and sexist language and talking points. He has claimed that the people coming from Mexico are rapists, and has called for a ban on Muslims, an entire religion, from coming to the U.S., though one of the principles our country is built on is freedom of religion.
If you listen to Trump’s speeches, however, what they all seem to be lacking are specifics. He uses words like “best”, “strongest”, and “terrific”. He claims that he will build a wall at the Mexican border, and make Mexico pay for it, but doesn’t say how. He claims he’ll lower taxes, while also “getting rid” of the United States’ debt, but the question remains: How? According to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center, Trump’s plan to cut taxes would add 24.5 trillion dollars to the USA’s debt.
Trump apparently has not always identified purely as a Republican. In the 2004 interview shown below, Trump told Wolf Blitzer that, “In many cases I probably Identify more as a Democrat.”
If you watched the above clip, you also heard Trump acknowledge that the economy does better under Democrats than Republicans. His claim that “it shouldn’t be that way” avoids discussing facts that explain why economies under Democrats do better, but also may be a way to appease those on the right and blunt the effects of his admission.
The fact that Donald gets away with empty rhetoric and speeches that contain nearly zero substance, yet he is still leading in polls and has a strong following, speaks volumes about how Americans choose their leaders, as well as how the media turned it’s back on journalistic integrity long ago.
Do we really want someone that offers next to no details or substance to lead us at a time when our country faces so many serious issues? Trump is an expert at drawing attention to himself. He knows just what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. He’s also proven that he knows how to invigorate his audience. But what policies will he really seek to implement? What does he truly stand for?
WATCH: Dilbert Creator Scott Adams on Donald Trump’s “Linguistic Kill Shots”