Donald Trump, as his supporters suspect, is a king of capitalizing on weakness. The weakness he exploits is in his supporters though, not in the governing officials that he criticizes for profit. Trump’s supporters need seemingly-powerful figures, they need a daddy to take care of them.
Observing the issues that seem most important to Trump’s supporters, it becomes apparent that they feel the sting of the recession and think weak politicians have failed to keep manufacturing jobs inside the United States. They think someone like Trump can protect their way of life and bring back an industrial middle class – a white, industrial middle class – in a way the Trump-described “idiot” politicians can’t.
As Elias Isquith at Salon points out, that’s completely absurd:
…the story Trump fans are telling themselves is a fantasy. Whether globalization-as-deindustrialization was a historical, technological and economic necessity or the product of a series of clear and straightforward decisions is up for debate. But the idea that throughout the past 40 years, and under multiple presidential administrations, some of the most ambitious, hardworking and intelligent people in America were simply unable to keep negotiators from other countries from bamboozling them – that idea is not on the table. Because that idea is ridiculous. The real world is not so simple. …
Despite their faith in Trump being misplaced, it is sincere. If the world functioned the way Trump explains it and his supporters understand it, you would want someone like Trump to fix it. His disdain for “political correctness” appeals to these voters as an indication that he has no patience for the soft-handed ideals of the elites that “got our country into this mess.”
Corporations lobbying and buying legislation that benefits the executives while placing the cost squarely on the backs of employees is a difficult issue to deal with. It is far easier, far more comforting, to simply believe that the politicians are bad at their jobs and Trump would be good at the job: all we need is a personnel change.
So they turn to Trump. A bully with a microphone and enough money that he can pay people to keep the speakers on. And what does Trump get out of this? He gets to be the center of attention, the thing he loves the most.