For some Americans, businessman Donald Trump’s victory on Tuesday is a triumphant moment in American history, the election of the first political outsider to the White House in modern times after decades of career politicians. Others consider his win over Hillary Clinton a nightmare for social justice.
How Trump held off Republicans in the primaries, as well as Clinton in the general election, will be a topic that will be discussed for quite some time. But there are a multitude of reasons why Trump was able to pull off a shocking upset.
Trump As A Celebrity Provocateur
He has spent decades accumulating name recognition as a wealthy New York real estate mogul, appearing on the cover of many magazines as the symbol of wealth. Later, he would get his own TV show on NBC and then start a campaign for President Barack Obama to disclose his birth certificate.
After Obama released it, he immediately jumped to how Obama got into Harvard and asked for school records. In the Republican primaries, he was the most vocal and visible, taking center stage, dominating the 24-hour news cycle by feuding with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly and ripping his primary opponents. Jeb Bush, at one time considered the GOP front-runner, famously told Trump at the debate, “Donald, you’re not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency.” Bush was wrong.
The Apprentice
NBC cut ties with Trump after 14 seasons once he announced his presidential run, calling Mexican immigrant’s rapists and drug dealers in his opening salvo. But his time on the reality show helped Trump achieve a strong following with his catchphrase “You’re fired” and with some Americans likely gravitating to him Tuesday because they liked his show.
Controversial Comments
When a new controversy would come up, Trump would double down on it in a way that made his base appreciate his “no-apologies approach” to campaigning. He also effectively deflected any controversy by stirring up other controversies.
When polls showed he was losing, he suggested the voting system is “rigged” and would only accept the election results if he won.
One of his conspiracy theories was that the father of Sen. Ted Cruz was in a photograph with Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Another was that climate change was a hoax perpetrated by China.
Black Lives Matter
Taking a page from Richard Nixon, “law and order” became a running theme for Trump amid a string of police shootings against unarmed African-Americans. His strong support from whites may have stemmed from their appreciation of his stance, as the BLM movement was receiving heightened attention.
Eight Years Of One Administration
Presidential trends point to when one party is in control, the other takes over after eight years. Democrats had the White House from 1993-2001, followed by Republicans 2001-2009 and then Democrats from 2009-2017.
Anti-Immigration Sentiment
With more than 11 million unauthorized immigrants, calls for tighter U.S. borders have mounted. Trump used rhetoric similar to that of Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Republican who ran for President in 2008. Trump’s talk of building a wall and having Mexico pay for it made him sound like the toughest Republican on immigration and built enthusiasm among those who identify with the Tea Party movement.
Hard Stance On Radical Islam
In March, Trump said he thinks “Islam hates us,” without drawing any distinction between the faith and radical Islamic terrorism. Similar broad comments about Muslims likely resonated with voters who feel the approach to fighting terrorism has been too soft.
The Confidence Effect
Winning was Trump’s main slogan, along with “Make America Great Again.” Many voters gravitate to a candidate who speaks with bold general comments. Perhaps taking a page from actor Charlie Sheen, Trump said, “We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning.”
Clinton Attacks
Clinton probably would have achieved more by discussing herself and not acknowledging Trump. She and her surrogates kept saying Trump’s name.
Donald Trump gain more support from some of the Christian community as he promised to bring back the one and only true God who is behind the success of America and who their founded fathers based their trust on.