It is easy to caricature Donald Trump as a boor. But his New York street smarts make him a formidable adversary to Republican and Democratic opponents alike. This is a man who bought the web domain "Make America Great Again" six days after President Barack Obama's reelection in 2012. His campaign rhetoric filled the gap he correctly perceived between Republican elites and grassroots voters. The reality TV star masterfully exploited free media coverage to dominate the airwaves. He has dispatched what was once seen as the strongest field of Republican primary contenders in many years. He could win the White House in November.
Two-thirds of Americans believe their country is on the wrong track. They blame their Democratic president and Republican Congressional leaders. Trump has ingeniously positioned himself as the antidote to both.
His jingoistic nationalism is the antithesis of Obama's post-modern cosmopolitanism. His appeal to American greatness resonates with many who believe Obama accepts genteel decline. His use of the race card to mobilize supporters is what Obama promised deliverance from through his post-racial politics. Trump's pledge to build walls against Mexicans and impose high tariffs on Chinese imports scratches a primordial itch among workers dislocated by globalization and technological transformation.
Photo Credit: Matthew Trudeau