This is pure speculation on my part as I am unable to perform the research necessary to support this argument. Nonetheless, here it is:
One day Donald Trump had a thought resembling one of the following:
“What can I do to top off this incredible life I have had?” or,
“I am awesome! But something is missing in my life. What can I do?” or,
“I need to leave a legacy for my children that will help them continue to build the Trump empire. What can that be?”
Whatever the question, he then concluded “I shall run for president.”
He and/or his advisors knew he could not be successful on a moderate platform. He knew he couldn’t match wits with, or intellectually stand with, his opponents. A moderate platform (Left or Right) aimed at improving the inevitable move of the US and other countries to a global culture and economy would not get him elected.
Almost like a company seeking a niche to gain market share, Trump needed to find a large enough group of people that, if he could mobilize them, would get him elected. This group or niche could not be very intelligent and it had to be large. It just so happens he found it. It was the radical right.
He was successful. He found a large group of citizens that have a majority of these characteristics:
- Down-trodden and/or disenfranchised
- High school education only, maybe some trade school
- Lacking in communication skills. Trump can’t speak (i.e. expressing coherent ideas with supported facts) and they like that. They call it speaking frankly.
- Lacking in critical thinking skills (thinking that building a wall will somehow make them safe or improve their standard of living.)
- Scared (thinking that they need more protection in some way from terrorists.)
- Paranoid (believing there is a higher likelihood of a terrorist attack than there is.)
- Religious (which in itself is full of errors in thinking and most often shows a lack of critical thinking.)
- Misdirecting their frustration at not having adequate real income growth over the past 20 years as something Trump can fix. He can’t even speak well.
- Get their news from Facebook and Fox.
- Believe pride is a virtue.
It was his wealth that gave him the opportunity to run for president. And so he found a large, alienated group and tailor made his platform and antics to win them over.
Unfortunately it seems this Trump-targeted group believes that because Trump won, it is their time. As they send out speakers to preach their gospel they are forgetting that there are a majority of Americans that voted against Trump. These Americans also believe the radical right’s polemics are anathema to peace and prosperity.
Reading Tyler Cowen’s America’s Placebo President today inspired me to think about this. Dr. Cowen and many others who have written about Trump try to explain why the group voted for Trump or worse yet, why America voted for Trump. It seems to me that it is only because he targeted them and pushed their buttons. Trump said whatever he thought would rile them up and get them to the polls.
I believe this addresses the reasons why most pundits thought he could not win. They were not aware of the size of this group of Americans to whom Trump was pandering. I also believe it is an error by the media and others to think that America elected Trump. America did not. It was a subset of America and a minority at that.