Donald Trump: One-of-a-kind candidate


Donald Trump delivers a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2011. Trump is well-known for his bold claims and controversial statements. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Gage Skidmore.

Extroverted, enterprising, controversial and extravagant. All of these words and more have been used to describe the ever-surprising Donald Trump. One description, however, that is not usually heard within the immense buzz surrounding Trump is that of strategic genius.

Ever since he officially announced his presidential bid on June 17, 2015, Trump has been making significant waves in the Republican party. He has emerged as the biggest hitter in the party, capturing the attention of every American, whether it be because of his bold political claims or his astounding attacks on his opponents on live television. Although many Americans have polar opposite views on this vibrant candidate, no one can deny the simple fact that whatever Trump is doing is working.

“Sadly, the American dream is dead,” Trump said in his announcement speech. “But if I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before.”

Trump’s motivation is clear with his slogan, “Make America Great Again.” His sudden rise to power in the Republican party is attributed to the loss of popularity among the general population that the Republicans have started to experience following the end of the Bush era, especially with minorities.Even with his provocative statements, huge media coverage and number-one status in the polls, there are some drawbacks to Trump’s strategy. Republican voters are entertaining the idea of Trump for now, but at the very end, may vote for a more moderate Republican candidate.
Although some candidates may begin to feel the urge using Trump-like campaign techniques to try to boost their poll numbers, this strategy would be a key mistake in their campaigns. They would be twisting their own image in order to cater toward a certain demographic of voters. Since this particular demographic is already dominated by Trump, efforts to move into his territory will be a fruitless effort.

Trump, the former media mogul and star of his own TV show, treats his campaign more like a television program with drama and cliffhangers rather than a presidential bid.

“He feels a freedom to demagogue that other people don’t,” George Mason University economist Bryan Caplan said to the Washington Post. “By virtue of being a mogul, he doesn’t feel the same social pressure to go along with what other [elites] think.”

Trump plays to his advantage by using bold claims and controversial statements, notably regarding immigration, which add to the the remembrance of his name and ideas among the voters. His remarks on the federal government’s immigration policy were part of his initial embarkment into uncharted territory, as he shocked voters with a highly contentious declaration concerning the character of immigrants.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said. “They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people.”

Although Trump usually has his way with his bold allegations and controversial claims, quotes like these hinder his chances appeasing the growing Hispanic voting population.

But the constant media attention given to all of these outrageous statements seems to cancel out the disadvantages that Trump has burdened himself with. Since his campaign announcement in June, he has increased his popularity by over 3.2 percent. Trump, knowing that many people in the country despise politicians and the way they act, created an image for himself of complete truth without regard for social norms that constrain other politicians.
In contrast, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush combined hold the support of 18.2 percent of GOP voters, less than the 19.9 percent support that Trump has built.

Media coverage is the answer. Trump grabs the attention of the viewer by telling his audience what they want to hear, not what they want to be told.
It is very unlikely, however, that his tactics will be further embraced by the public in the future of American politics. Trump has given America something it hasn’t had in a long time: an avid interest in politics. With the decline in active voters, Trump could change the downward trend by drawing in interest for the happenings of the 2016 presidential election.

“There are few people who are as good at getting media attention as Donald Trump, who is doing it either through flashy statements or downright demagoguery,” history and public affairs Princeton University professor Julian Zelizer said to The Hill.

Trump’s fascinating campaign story may end soon, and the media buzz will die down. But Trump still is a political genius capable of manipulating the media into working for him whether America likes it or not.