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Understanding Trump’s Political Success


What is the source of the Trump phenomenon? What combination of forces have created this seemingly perfect political storm?

There are a number of theories. And some of them are quite reasonable. But I think it is not any one thing that has contributed to his success.

I  think five factors in particular have coalesced in God’s providence to bring the Republican party to Trump: political, national, economical, cultural and religious factors.

1. The political dimension everyone gets. The Establishment (in both parties) are more despised than ever. Republicans-in-name-only (RINOs) have been playing patty-cake with liberals for many years.

And the establishment has been offering subpar presidential candidates. The establishment needlessly compromised over and over again with Obama. Although there has been a long-running anti-establishment contingency in the party, seven years of Obama has brought it to a fever pitch.

2. The national issue is intimately tied with the political: the lack of border integrity. This is a key element in today’s discontent. Concern over the border is so intense, that Ann Coulter tweeted late last year:

“I don’t care if @realDonaldTrump wants to perform abortions in White House after this immigration policy paper.”

A number of call-in listeners told Dennis Prager that this is the issue: all other conservative concerns play backseat to border security.

Again, it has been the Obama (mal)administration that has fueled this concern to a flash point.

3. Economic and international concerns have contributed as well. With a less-than-booming economy since the downturn in 2007, many Republicans have longed for the golden Reagan days.

The days when America exercised its power internationally and militarily. That was a time of prosperity and protection — from a flood of illegal immigrants and dangerous terrorists.

“Make America Great Again,” capitalizes on that dream of a bygone era.

4. Culturally, Americans have been open to and indulgent with entertaining politicians. And it has only gotten worse over the years since the 80s, when Neil Postman wrote his hard-hitting book.

That book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, says it all in the subtitle: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. His words are prescient:

When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.

5. The surprise this election cycle is the number of Evangelicals favoring Trump. This is a real head-scratcher given that Cruz is in the race.

But the Washington Post offers a fascinating look at a segment of the Evangelical vote that has officially endorsed Trump by the laying on of hands(!):

“Copeland was one of a roomful of televangelists who laid hands on Trump last year, thanking God ‘for a bold man, a strong man and an obedient man.’ ”

Then there is Falwell Jr.’s endorsement, describing Trump as a man of love.

There are other factors in play. But these five factors coupled with Trump’s explosive personality have merged into a powerful political force that rolls right over Cruz and Rubio.

And of all these factors, the religious is the most compelling. Without the Evangelical vote Trump may never have gotten as far as he has.

The Trump phenomenon is here for now. On Super Tuesday we will find out if it is here to stay.


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