A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Commentary: Why Trump? The simplest answer: Primarily because he’s not Hillary


By Marcus Carey
Special to KyForward

There is a simple question being asked by many people, republicans and democrats alike, with an attitude of nearly fainting incredulity: Why Trump?

I’d like to offer an equally simple answer: Because he’s not Hillary.

This simple answer is all that will be necessary for millions of voters who will go to the polls and vote for The Donald or against Hillary. But for many others, particularly many of my fellow republicans who are approaching their choices in this election like a steak lover entering a vegan restaurant, the appeal of this simplicity is lost on them.

So, for my fellow republicans discerning democrat friends and those who may have already dismissed my opinion as bat guano crazy, bear with me for just a bit, let me explain why my simple answer says a lot more than at first you may think.

Donald J. Trump

Donald J. Trump

First I think the evidence is clear that we are no longer a nation united. “E Pluribus Unum”, out of many one, doesn’t seem to apply anymore. In fact, I think the division is so complete there are scant few people who are planning to vote this November who are truly still “undecided”. This year, unlike any other I’ve seen, the negatives for both candidates are so high that I believe traditional voting concepts are out the window, party loyalty has crumbled and this has become an election between personalities.

I also think what divides us as a nation is not our ethnicity, or our heritage, our religion or our geographic location despite what the pundits might say. We have always celebrated our lifestyle and cultural differences. Hockey is understandably more popular in Minnesota than Florida. Sucking the head of a crawdad in Louisiana is part of life there, but not so much in Indiana hog country. Italian Americans always celebrated their heritage and the rest of us did too, as we celebrated the Irish traditions, Chinese culture, African art and the holidays, drink, food and architecture of Latino and Hispanic people.

As a nation these things never threatened the core of who we are. At our core we were once a melting pot of people united by common principles. We’ve always felt free to move among, live among and organize ourselves with like-minded people. In fact we codified the right to do these things free from a centralized government dictator with adoption of the tenth amendment.

But it seems the fabric of America is being divided into individual threads, we are no longer people of the same mind when it comes to our interpretation of what it means to be an American. I’d say that definition is now no more certain to most Americans than Bill Clinton pondering what the definition of is, is.

Being an American once meant pride in the fact that we were the brave people who created, defended and evangelized freedom. We held dear to the concept that freedom and liberty meant individual freedom to do as you please, become what you want and to worship, think, speak and act as you saw fit. Anyone calling for something different was speaking fighting words.

Did we always agree who was entitled to the full measure of those individual freedoms? No. We are flawed human beings and our American experiment had many trials, and many errors, but the spirit of our nation as expressed in our founding documents has always triumphed.

Erosion of founding principles

I do not have time in this article to detail the many causes of the erosion of our commitment to our founding principles, but the results of that erosion are obvious. We now live in a time where our nation is not only divided into many ideological factions, but the common bond of our social contract, patience and trust in the due process of the law has broken down. This impatience has given rise to a sort of mob mentality that has infected, and affected our once united nation.

Some of the most impatient are motivated by their ignorance. They are ignorant of the value a process that encourages dissent, but through respectful debate. They are ignorant of the value of accepting the outcome of patient debate in the arena of ideas as necessary for an orderly society. Responsibility for this level of ignorance lies at the feet of parents, educators, the upwardly mobile of the sixties and seventies, and, if you are inclined to see such things, perhaps even anti-American subversives who executed a plan to dumb down our voters. And blame also lies also at the feet of the main stream media including the entertainment industry which for decades placed far more emphasis on profits than social responsibility. In the end we are shouting at each other, we anger easily and we have forgotten who we are, what we stand for and how it was supposed to work. Impatience plus ignorance is a volatile combination.

We are also divided by the power of those holding ideologies grounded in pure greed. Many huge corporations now operate almost as if they are sovereign nations acting in competition with the best interests of the American people.

Some among us are trying to divide us on the basis of skin color, white and non-white, competing to advance their own interests regardless the harm it may cause to the common interest of strengthening our determination to remain a nation of laws, and due process of the law.

But there is one group of Americans which has grown in number and increased its power to the point that it threatens to destroy the very principles upon which our nation was founded. That group is made up of government officials who once elected to office abandoned their oath, threw the constitution aside, refused to act as servants of the public, who pervert the use government power into their own closed system manipulated to provide them a source of personal income, a way to line their own pockets, do favors for their benefactors (the divisive groups mentioned above) strengthen their positions of power, who arrogantly ignore the higher calling of their oath and are obscenely devoted to keeping their own jobs.

But out here in the heartland, far from Washington, far from Wall Street and far from the fortresses of power there are millions of Americans who see what has been happening, who have not lost hope, despite the many times “hope” has become a broken political promise. There are millions of Americans who have not lost sight of those things that once united us and made America great. There are millions of Americans who still believe deeply that we were conceived in liberty, and flourished because we proudly proclaimed that our lives and everything we have are gifts from God, not the beneficence of any ruler, whether a King or a Congress.

There are millions of people in America who want desperately to believe that it is not too late for America to regain its place of honor in the world, who still think we have a chance and a responsibility to educate a new generation of people to be self-reliant, to learn what made America great, to learn from what we got right and to learn from our mistakes as well.

And these millions of Americans are republicans and democrats alike, of every color, religion, national origin and creed who have witnessed hundreds upon hundreds of practiced, polished, scripted, lying, untrustworthy politicians pander to our most ignominious dispositions for years but who once in office have accomplished nothing more than furthering the erosion of our American exceptionalism and are guilty themselves of fostering the kind of divisions which threaten to weaken us if not destroy us.

These sane Americans accept as fact what Hillary Clinton tells us in her own words.

By her own acts and by citation to her own record she tells us that she is the more experienced candidate, which to us means she is schooled and rooted in the politics of the past. She tells us that she is qualified by her experience in serving in a government that millions of American’s believe has failed them. She brags about her service over the last eight years which tells us she will bring more of the same, that she represents nothing new, that she is the secretary of the status quo.

Frustrated Americans

She is campaigning against Donald Trump on the bias she knows is inherent in our culture where many Americans are so conditioned by their experience with political campaigns that they expect candidates to look a certain way, to strike a familiar pose, to say things with a certain vagueness, to be “politically correct” and to remind the voters of those things they came to like in nearly every candidate before. And so when these biased, preconditioned voters look at Donald Trump and listen to how he speaks, they don’t see the sameness they are accustomed to seeing, they don’t hear the same platitudes they’ve come to expect and Hillary knows that this makes them uncomfortable and anxious. That’s the foundation of her campaign in a nutshell.

But there is a movement sweeping across the country this year with millions upon millions of frustrated Americans committed to the proposition that unless and until we try something new we may miss our last opportunity to break from the past and make a new future for our nation. To them, and to me, Hillary represents the past.

Millions of voters who are part of this movement want a break from the past. Many of them thought Barack Obama represented that break as far back as 2008. To some, Bernie Sanders represented that break earlier this year. By these examples alone it should be obvious that millions of Americans have been yearning for a fresh start for more than eight years now. And it should also be obvious by these same two examples that Hillary was rejected by these millions of Americans as representing that break from the past and will likely be again. This is all the evidence you need in order to realize that the Empress wears no clothes.

For those considering Donald Trump, this anecdote might be illuminating. Mike Huckabee recently quoted a commenter on Yahoo news who said Trump reminded him of a doctor with no bedside manner. He tells you that you need to lose 100 pounds and stop smoking. You’re offended, you’re angry, you come up with 10 reasons why he’s crazy…and then you finally realize that he’s the only one telling you the truth.

By Election Day I believe millions more Americans will come to the same conclusion as I have, as those who rejected Hillary twice before have and as millions of Americans already have, they want a clean break from the past have and when confronted with the question “Why Trump” will see the wisdom implicit in the simple answer I gave at the beginning of this editorial:

Why Trump? Because Hillary represents the past, and because he’s not Hillary.

It really is just that simple.

marcuscarey_102

Marcus Carey is a Northern Kentucky lawyer with 32 years experience. He is also a farmer, talk radio host and public speaker who loves history and politics. As a commentator, he is “dedicated to honest and respectful comment on the political and cultural issues of our time.”


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