It seemed that he would be a flash in the pan. After all, how could the American people actually vote for a presidential aspirant who has no political experience, has questionable business skills and is an egomaniacal racist bully who loves to be in the spotlight?
Donald Trump's "credentials," which would have been a major liability in a different election cycle, have thrust him into the lead for the Republican nomination for President. A Saturday Night Live type spoof has become reality, meaning the Trump candidacy has redefined American political reality. Maybe drug manufacturers will save us.
It might be worth trying to analyze this rise to the top because there could be a lesson in it for all of us. Most of us have realized that the current American political system is in need of major overhaul. Some have tried to pass legislation tinkering around the edges, but there are just too many issues to be dealt with.
Campaign finance reform is a big one. Companies with deep pockets and wealthy individuals are able to influence legislation and the political process to an inordinate degree, and too many of us feel powerless to do anything about it. That is part of the reason why so many Americans have been turned off by politics, something reflected in low voter turnouts.
Then along comes a billionaire who wants to be President who tells potential supporters that he can't be bought and that he will finance his own campaign. He cons them into believing that he is changing the system because he is not being influenced by the usual suspects. But he is one of the usual suspects, and he has made fools out of all of the people who have supported him.
Trump supporters somehow think that he is above the fray because he can't be bought. What they don't seem to understand is that he is the worst of the worst when it comes to campaign finance because he is making a successful run at buying his way into the White House. He has his middle and lower class supporters believing he is "telling it like it is". What he has really done is to get them to drink the Kool-Aid. They think he will represent their political beliefs because he has created a brotherhood of hatred.
Trump has developed a political platform as he has grown in political stature. That platform is based on xenophobic racism and a willingness to bomb, kill and torture anyone who does not toe the Trump line. It is sad, but not a surprise, that so many Americans have bought into such inhumane rhetoric. It grabs headlines and it obviously is getting him votes, but his stances are doing a great deal of damage to our country's image in the rest of the world.
During a recent trip to Kenya, mostly a third world country, I was approached by a local man at a roadside rest area who wanted to talk about Donald Trump. He was animated and thought that Trump was going to become the next American President. Of course, he didn't realize that Trump would never want a black man from Africa to have a chance at the American dream. This African man thought he would be able to come to America and have a better life during the Trump regime.
That is the danger of having a media celebrity run for President. People hear what they want to hear and they ignore the bad things because they have been so brainwashed into mindlessness by the media and dysfunctional political processes around the world.
Trump is a reflection of everything that is bad about politics. The success of his candidacy has been spawned by the Republican party's hate-based platform. It is a black mark against this country that he has risen as high as he has, but it is also something that was inevitable. We have allowed our political system to rot from the inside out and someone has come along who figured out how to turn all of that rottenness to his advantage.
Hopefully, he will not become our next President but we should look upon his candidacy as a wake-up call, as a warning that we have an urgent need to act.
Richard Davis is a registered nurse. He writes from Guilford and welcomes comments at email@example.com.