"Who is even supporting Donald Trump?" This is a question that many people have been asking in recent months, and I think most are still puzzled. Since he announced his presidential bid in June of 2015, Donald Trump has been a surprising leader in the Republican polls. He has maintained his lead for months now, and he's not going anywhere. Trump is viewed as an outsider to the political bureaucracy of Washington who says whatever he wants without worrying about political correctness, and that is a major appeal for his supporters.
After hearing about him in the news far too often over the past months, I had the chance to see Donald Trump speak at a rally in Concord, NH. Although I don't believe I've ever (knowingly) met a Trump supporter, today I was surrounded by over 700 of them. Because of some of the questionable comments Trump has made over the last few months, I have not been able to figure out why people support him. Looking out over the crowd, people were extremely excited and engaged throughout his speech. I was surrounded by Trump's "silent majority," a theme used by Trump in his campaign to describe his supporters. These supporters were, of course, normal, everyday people. They absorbed and supported every word that Trump uttered in his blunt, yet somehow inspirational manner. He talked mostly about how he will "make America great again." His supporters seem to yearn for change in the politics of this country, and they hope for a change in the country as a whole. During a short pause in his speech, a few people began chanting Trump's name, and within seconds the entire crowd was roaring on its feet.
From my perspective, Trump talked about big ideas that sound good to voters, like "fixing trade" and "making America safe." However, other than "building a wall," he didn't offer specifics as to how policies would be implemented or even what exact changes would be made. But his supporters don't seem to care. They hear his ideas, they listen, and they support him no matter what. They follow him on whatever path he might take, no matter whom he may offend.
At this point, Donald Trump may get the Republican nomination to run for President of the United States, despite members of the party condemning many of his ideas, actions, and words. As I write this post, I see on the news that the British Parliament is debating a ban on Donald Trump in the UK. Of course, his supporters will likely be unaffected by this news. His political incorrectness continues to encourage them that he would shake up the current system in the United States.
How far can Trump go?
---Levi Wick is a St. Olaf freshman from New Ulm, MN., majoring in Political Science. He is in New Hampshire as part of a St. Olaf political science class studying the presidential election.