The joke’s on you: The reality of Donald Trump

Jeb Bush. Rand Paul. Chris Christie. And now, Marco Rubio.

Students stand behind a Trump banner at a rally in Iowa.
Willy Verneris
Students stand behind a Trump banner at a rally in Iowa.

All flattened by Donald Trump.

Although his campaign was, at one point, considered to be a joke by most Blake students, Donald Trump’s political chances have quickly morphed from zero to “huuuuuge.” Blake students are still bewildered by his appeal, having underestimated him from the beginning.

Some students questioned his original decision to run. Michael Feldkamp ‘18 explained his miscalculation: “I didn’t think that someone who’s a businessman like Donald Trump with no political experience would actually consider running the executive branch.” Chris Hovard ‘18 described his struggle to understand Trump’s strength by investigating Trump’s persona, saying that, “immaturity, lack of responsibility, [and] lack of understanding of the consequence of the words he’s saying” as reasons for one to not accept Donald as a legitimate contender. Others attributed the inability to take his campaign seriously to Blake’s political environment. Amy Juang ‘16 noted, “The Blake community is very liberal, and … more educated, and if you look at Trump supporters, a lot of his supporters have not gone to college. Blake is a very educated place, very liberal and very aware.”

Some students saw Trump’s appeal from the start, yet didn’t realize how strong his following would become. Zach Johnson ‘18 stated, “He’s always had strong support right from the beginning. And everyone who didn’t like him was like, ‘This is probably going to die down.’ And it’s … been constantly growing and everyone’s taking a step back and are like, ‘aw, crap,’ if you really don’t like him.” Clearly, people have underestimated his chances – perhaps lending credence to his image as an outsider – thereby serving to aid his chances.

Students explained various reasons for his lasting support. Juang stated, “He continues to push the limit on how brash and appalling he can be.” Jack McCabe ‘16 mentioned, “he’s a celebrity candidate, but Jesse Ventura got elected, so he’s sort of in the same category of a joke that goes too far.” Johnson described his lack of policy stances as another reason for his lasting appeal: “[Trump] doesn’t want to pick a side because as soon as you pick a side, somebody is against you. As soon as somebody is against you, you’re not having their support… He’s been difficult to stop because he’s not picking specific sides, so everyone can see in him what they want to see in him.” In being a flexible candidate, Trump has ostensibly assured himself a spot in the hopes and dreams of average Americans.

Though reasons for Trump’s ascendance vary, the facts are indisputable: he is well on his way to a big victory in the Republicans nomination – and should no longer be underestimated.