What is it about Donald Trump and his presidential campaign that attracts so many?
His supporters are enthusiastic, motivated and loyal to a fault. Trump doesn’t elicit apathy; wherever he goes, whatever he says, passions run deep. The Eastern press makes no secret they despise him, and the political class in both parties find him frustrating or outrageous. It’s likely the outrageous characteristic that motivates Trump supporters and provides fuel for the “Trump Train.”
Americans are sick of political correctness being foisted upon them. They find themselves increasingly cynical about the political process and virtually all elected officials. This is not healthy for the republic; cynicism poisons the electoral process. Trump is brash, often coarse, inclined to engage in political street fights and never apologizes nor retreats. This quality, more than any other, endears Trump to millions of Americans who are sick of consultant-driven politicians who test the wind to determine what principles will guide them today.
Many underestimate Trump, mistaking his brash, “take-no-prisoners” style of rhetoric for being insensitive, uncaring or bullying. In fact, Trump is the quintessential New Yorker; not the up-scale society type but the down-to-earth, man-in-the-street type of New Yorker. Trump has spent his entire adult life interacting with working men and women, speaking with them on their own terms and everyday environment. The massive construction projects Trump specialized in redrew the New York skyline. The men who built those buildings thought nothing of sitting on an “I-beam” 40 stories in the air eating lunch with only their self-confidence and skill keeping them from becoming a victim of gravity. You can’t fake it with these men; they say what they mean and mean what they say. Phonies are quickly exposed and given short shrift.
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Trump’s critics mock him and demean his intelligence. Facts are ignored, such as the fact that Trump graduated from the Wharton School of Business, probably the most prestigious school of its type in the nation. He took a million dollar gift from his successful father and multiplied it perhaps 10,000 times into a multibillion dollar fortune. His life had its financial ups and downs as any great entrepreneur’s would, yet he’s built a real estate empire second to none, employs many thousands of people and has created great wealth and opportunities for many. It’s an important fact to remember as his opponent has never built anything, never created wealth or opportunity, but she did a good job of taking care of herself first.
Trump’s critics accuse him of being hostile to women, yet it was Trump who first employed a woman as the general construction manager for a multimillion dollar construction project 35 years ago — long before anyone else took hiring women for jobs in typically male occupations seriously. There are more women executives in Trump’s empire than men and they’re all paid equally for their work, unlike his opponent who pays her women employees on average 15 percent less than their male counterparts. What Americans can expect from a Donald Trump presidency is straight talk and determination to effect change in Washington; not the change that burdens Americans down with suffocating regulations that stifle economic growth but policies that liberate businesses large and small to reignite the American economy. The economy grew at a paltry 1.2 percent at last count, down from the meager 2 percent growth endured over the past seven years. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton call that success.
Trump promises to rebuild the military: In May, a Marine Corps aviation unit was forced to cannibalize parts from nonoperational aircraft to enable their imminent deployment to the Middle East. Obama has starved the military of operational, maintenance and training funds. Trump’s military will be robust, placing priority on victory and not simply avoiding defeat. He promises to revise combat rules of engagement to allow the military to effectively engage a ruthless enemy, bringing the full power of America to bear against ISIS savages, ending the “never-ending war” by annihilating the ISIS caliphate.
The best reference about Trump’s character however, is his children. Americans are often bombarded with lurid stories of misbehavior by celebrity children. Trump, by contrast, likely deserves “Father of the Year,” as his children’s accomplishments and respect shown to their father are stories by themselves. They are all highly successful, polished and poised, not to mention faithful to a beloved father.
Trump is many things, but boring is not one of them. His clarity and plain speech are a prescription for an apathetic electorate and the tonic needed to reawaken the American economic giant.
Al Fonzi is the Republican Party chairman in San Luis Obispo County.