How Trump appeals to Americans who see themselves as victims

Kaddie Abdul wore her hijab at a Trump rally in Reno, Nevada, and writes: I attended Sunday’s rally with the intention to educate myself and, hopefully, to educate others. I didn’t go to shout at Trump’s supporters, no matter how passionately I feel about some of their claims. And it was interesting to hear Trump and his supporters’ viewpoints for more than just the few seconds offered by most soundbites.

His supporters are people, not caricatures. They feel marginalized economically, politically, and socially; they see a world different from the one they think should exist. Many non-Trump supporters are also concerned about the current economic and political state of our planet and its implications for a stabile future for our children.

What differentiates me from many of the Trump supporters I met this weekend is that their concerns for our future have led to an overwhelming need to see all of our problems as someone else’s fault.

To Trump and his supporters, Asian countries have “dumped” their goods in America and almost bankrupted our country by causing our trade deficit; Mexico won’t keep “illegals” (who are the “source” for Americans’ drugs) on their side of the border; and, of course, Muslims have “always” been fighting us, and come from countries populated by ingrates who are unwilling to pay for the wars that we started on “their” behalf.

But solving our trade deficit isn’t as simple as ending the supply of cheap Asian goods that Americans so happily consume. Mexico is not going to pay us to build us a wall. The rest of the world will not stand by and let the US seize Iraq’s oilfields (and thus control a significant supply of the world’s oil).

Trump’s supporters, though, love him for his outrageous suggestions; it provides them with a sense of empowerment and control. And his lack of specificity allows each person to hear what they want to hear. [Continue reading…]

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