“What Will Happen When The Great White Hope (AKA Donald Trump) Loses The Presidential Election?”
Carol Apt, Ph.D.
As I explained in my last article on Donald Trump, his fan base (oops, I mean his supporters) is composed of people who are probably not college-educated or highly skilled, but who have worked hard all their lives in pursuit of the American Dream, which for them means a better life – a life with little or no financial debt, a steady job, and enough money to afford a house, a car, and the occasional electronic gadget or vacation not far from home. Trump’s supporters were hit hard in the economic downturn of 8 or 9 years ago and are probably still behind on their mortgage payments and credit card bills, as some may have had to use their cards to pay for everyday necessities.
The supporters of Donald Trump don’t usually make a lot of noise or march in the streets carrying signs with the names of their chosen candidates, but this time,they do. They support him because in a loud, unrestrained voice he expresses their anger and frustration with what they see as a political system that cares only about the rich. Even though Mr. Trump, by his own admission, is wealthy, his supporters agree with his attacks on people of different religions, ethnicities, and genders because he identifies specific targets. His constitutionally illegal idea to ban all Muslims from entering this country taps into paranoid notions that all members of that faith are terrorists; his absurd plan to build a wall between the United States and Mexico (uh, Donald, there already is one), coupled with his statements that Mexicans who come to this country are rapists and murderers, feed into irrationalfears that foreigners are taking jobs away from Americans.
Encouraged by Donald Trump’s verbal assaults, his supporters show up at rallies and conventions ready and willing to resort to fisticuffs to express their support. Fights have broken out and arrests have been made at venues where their candidate was speaking, contributing to what must surely be one of the most bizarre political seasons in recent history. His supporters remain steadfast in their hope that Donald Trump will make everything better for them, but recent poll numbers show Trump slipping farther and farther behind Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House. His own Republican party seems loathe to endorse him and high-level officials from past and present administrations have volunteered the nearly unanimous view that Donald Trump is unsuited to be the President of the United States.
In an attempt to undo the damage to his own image Trump’s latest speeches have been less vitriolic and more in line with the traditional Republican party platform, but it’s probably too little too late. All indications are that Donald Trump will not be our next president. So where does that leave his supporters?
The notion that if you work hard and believe in the guy in charge everything will be all right is part of the American Dream, but in this case Trump’s supporters have placed too much faith in the wrong person. Most of his plans are illegal, unconstitutional, or just plain ridiculous, but since his supporters are not likely to fact check, they don’t realize it. They’ve pinned all their hopes on one person and when he doesn’t win the election they could claim, as Trump has done, that the election will be rigged. Even if that absurd claim is given expression, it won’t change the fact that their hope for their futures was defeated. The agony of defeat, coupled with the anger and frustration his supporters already feel will likely have no appropriate outlet, as these are not the kinds of folks who engage in vigorous aerobic exercise in order to feel the benefits of mood-elevating endorphins. They are going to be even more angry than they are now; I certainly hope I will be proven wrong, but it’s possible that Trump’s defeat will result in more accusations, name-calling, and even violence. Whatever the outcome, it won’t be pretty.