Student - 19 mei 2016

Meanwhile in the United States

In the news: Donald Trump is the only Republican candidate that is left in the presidential elections in the US. How did he come so far?

Commentary by PhD student William Clark Cook

‘A simple answer to the question is that people want simple explanations. They feel comfortable when their thoughts are narrowed down to one single slogan: Make America great again. Who doesn’t want that? Trump hits the rights spots. He presents the world as black and white and that lack of nuance appeals to the people. For many Americans everything is scary in the post nine-eleven world. If someone promises some safety, people listen.

Years ago people chose a movie star as our president: Ronald Reagan. He had some political experience, but the real reason why he was elected was his movie career.  Name recognition is a big thing in the States. Trump was in movies, TV shows and commercials; he is very famous. Even as a child I visited Trump Tower in New York. I think people didn’t expect name recognition to be so powerful in the campaign and therefore underestimated him. We think that if you want to be a politician you need to be a politician, but that is not the case in the US. We love movie stars. In California, where I come from, we even chose Arnold Schwarzenegger as a governor.

I am a registered Republican, but I will not vote for Trump. He acts like a bully. I cannot support someone with such conservative social views. Whether he can win the presidential elections is a tough question. I am not sure. I heard that this year more young people are registering to vote. If that is true, then Clinton or Sanders stand to benefit because I think most young people are not attracted by the social conservatism and the negative viewpoints about Muslims.

When George Bush was in power, the centre and left called him an idiot. But you don't get to be president if you are not smart. Not being socially progressive is not the same as being dumb. Trump is very clever. Therefore he has a chance.’