Opinion

Donald Trump’s Campaign Runs on Selling Paranoia to People

By Kahren Eloyan, Opinion Editor

//At this point in time, the political article about Donald Trump has become a genre unto itself, fast approaching the status of a global cliché.

   For over a year now, people the world over have dealt with the antics and off-the-cuff obscenities of arguably the most controversial figure in modern times. And yet still another piece, this particular one, finds itself in circulation, printed and distributed to a public that is only all too familiar with the Business Mogul-turned-politician. The reason for this is that Blueprint was presented with the singular opportunity to attend an unofficial rally in support of Trump in late August, held on the St. Stephens Road overpass in Orinda.

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   Over the course of the afternoon, Blueprint conducted interviews with Trump supporters in order to understand the reasons for their support of the billionaire and to gain insight into the mindset of these people. As the day progressed, a striking and unexpected quality among Trump’s voters revealed itself – their diversity.

   The people gathered at the rally represented a wide array of ethnicities, socio-economic standings, and walks of life. Even the reasons for supporting Trump varied widely on an individual level. Some were refugees from failed campaigns like those of Cruz and Sanders, some were genuine believers in the Business Mogul, and some simply bought into the Trump campaign because of its team.

   Needless to say, widely-held preconceived notions regarding Trump’s supporters were challenged that day. What seemed from afar to be a uniform and vocally intolerant voting base turned out to be significantly less uniform and openly hateful than previously believed. They showed a genuine concern for the well-being of the nation and a patriotism which transcended the cynical façade that has thus far typified the Trump campaign and its supporters.

   However, if there is one unifying aspect among Trump’s supporters- if there is one semi-covert tenet of the Trump campaign to which they invariably subscribe: it is Trump’s premise to be afraid.

   An undercurrent of panic has been running through not just the Trump campaign, but the 2016 presidential race at large. The concept that the nation is in grave peril is nothing new, but

the reason why Trump has gotten so far is the fact that he successfully harnesses, amplifies, and sells fear to the American public, which certain segments of ravenously consume.

   By fabricating his own brand of paranoia, Donald Trump gets to ride his own wave as the sterling, brutally honest, and no-nonsense strong-man savior that the American public clamors for, because fear sells well and there’s no shortage of buyers who waver between the fear and denigration of the various groups that Trump targets. 

   While it’s true that the United States has important issues to deal with, Trump has a way of, for lack of a better term, trumping up the issues.

Immigrants, illegal or otherwise, are not the harbingers of the apocalypse. Neither are refugees. ISIS is not insurmountable, and the world is not tearing apart at the seams.

America is great, and the idea that now it somehow isn’t is preposterous.

   The fact of the matter is that America once stood against much larger problems than the ones it faces now. For nearly 50 years, America, and indeed the whole of mankind, stood precariously at the edge of nuclear annihilation. There existed once a world where a single error of judgement, one indelicacy on the part of a government, or one step too far in any direction could have spelled extinction for the human race.

   The people of America lived a daily reality in which at any given moment, the dreaded mushrooms could unfurl and vaporize millions in the blink of a nuclear-flash-blinded eye. And during that time Americans thrived.

   Does Donald Trump mean to say that the people of America are in more danger now than in the Cold War? Is he so bold as to suggest that the terrorism of our day is more dangerous than the totalitarian regimes 20th century?

   Trump embodies the worst of the brinkmanship and fear-mongering of the 20th century, much like the beloved Ronald Reagan whom he models himself after. Adopting Reagan’s slogan of “Make America Great Again”, as well as his hardline stances, Trump seeks to be seen as the second coming of Reagan, who left a legacy as a paragon of stability and safety. The parallels between Trump and Reagan was a theme that many of the Trump proponents at the rally bought into, but it’s dangerous to equate the two.

   Ronald Reagan was not the complete exemplar of security he is always seen. Reagan’s pre-Gorbachev presidency saw the adoption of militant principles and rejection of détente, and his ‘evil empire’ mantra helped dial tensions with the Soviet Union back to levels unseen since the 1960s, thrusting millions back into danger. Just as Donald Trump inflates the extent to which illegal immigrants pose a danger to us, so Ronald Reagan inflated the threat of the Soviet Union.

   There was a definite threat of war with the USSR but just not as bad as Reagan made it out to be. It is a lie that the Soviet people were a drone-like cancer of godless evil. However, Reagan understood this, which is why when a progressive Soviet Premier came about who wanted progressive reform, Reagan engaged in a brilliant show of diplomacy with him, which brought about a thaw in the relations between the world’s two eminent superpowers. While there are similarities between Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan, there is one vital difference between the two, a disparity which makes Ronald Reagan a good president and a capable statesman, and makes Donald Trump a massively dangerous character. And the difference is the willingness to compromise. Reagan, for all his hardline politics, understood that being president requires compromise, something Trump has not showed.

   It is a lie that Ronald Reagan had always forged an ironclad veil of safety for the United States. It’s a lie that Reagan single-handedly tore down the Berlin Wall and brought about the demise of the Soviet Union. It is also a lie that Reagan was always uncompromising, and that he and Trump are two sides of the same coin. It is a lie that ISIS can destroy our nation just as it is a lie that illegal and legal immigrants are eroding the integrity of our country. It is a lie that America is in dire straights.

   The biggest lie of all, however, is that Donald J. Trump is the man to guide our nation through the problems we face today.

Categories: Opinion

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