Donald Trump

Opinion: How Donald Trump secured the presidency by fighting against political correctness

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore/ Flickr

Donald J. Trump’s path to victory was paved with shouts of anger and dissent built on the ideal which brought the most controversy and strength to his campaign: Anti-political correctness.

From his announcement speech in June 2015, Trump has been fighting against political correctness in the American government. In this first speech, he first proposed the construction of a massive border wall to stave off illegal Mexican immigration. Trump defended this ambitious idea by discussing the character of said immigrants who reach America.

He stated, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Speaking about Mexican immigrants in such openly broad terms seemed to be quite a risk for a candidate in the first stage of his campaign, but Trump was consistently encouraged by massive support from his followers. By July 2015, Trump’s rallies were filled with thousands of supporters.

Mexicans were not the only minority group targeted by Trump’s rhetoric. In December 2015, Trump proposed a ban on all Muslims attempting to gain entry into the United States, whether it was legally done or not. A Trump campaign press release stated that the ban would stay in place until American politicians can “figure out what is going on.” Despite the controversy surrounding this idea, supporters of Trump continued to defend his words and actions. Some of the supporters who attended the rally in which Trump announced his plan to ban Muslim immigration spoke with CNN after the event.

One Trump supporter said, “I think that we should definitely disallow any Muslims from coming in. Any of them. The reason is simple: We can’t identify what their attitude is.” Another supporter defended Trump by stating, “It’s a violent blood cult. OK? That’s what Islam is … all they know is violence, that’s all they know. It’s not a peace-loving religion.”

In the first Republican presidential debate, just two months after his campaign began, Trump was tasked with debating experienced governors and senators. During the debate, Trump remarked, “The big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either.” He said this in response to Megyn Kelly’s concerns that Trump has made continuously vulgar and disrespectful comments about women. His willingness to disregard the expected language of a political candidate expanded beyond that of race relations. Despite how irresponsible this may seem, Trump’s willingness to say what others would not became the driving force of his general support. Many of his strongest advocates back Trump due to his ability to “speak his mind.”

In a video produced by BBC, a Trump supporter stated her case for the president-elect to a reporter. “I like the fact that he is not afraid to say what we are all thinking,” she said. Another supporter in the video stated, “When you listen to Mr. Trump, he speaks from his heart. It’s never the same. It’s not written out. It’s not on any teleprompter.”

In a video produced by CNN, a representative spoke with a panel of Trump supporters to discuss their allegiance to the republican. “He says what he means. I honestly believe he is telling the truth,” one of the panelists said.

Woman and minorities were not the only targets of Trump’s proud use of the First Amendment. Trump overtook every other republican candidate and continuously insulted and attacked them in the process. Trump used many degrading nicknames for his competitors, such as “Little Marco,” “Lyin’ Ted” or “Low Energy Jeb.” In some of the early primary debates, Trump viciously criticized his fellow candidates. When responding to Ted Cruz in the ninth GOP debate, he said, “You are the single biggest liar. This guy will say anything. He’s a nasty guy. Now I know why he does not have one endorsement from any of his colleagues.” Even targeting the physical appearance of Rand Paul in the second republican debate, Trump said, “I never attacked him on his look. And, believe me, there’s a lot of subject matter there.” Whether these attacks seem juvenile or not, Trump steadily rose in the polls until he was able to cleanly win the nomination.

Even with a real chance to clinch the presidency, Trump stayed on the offensive for the remainder of his campaign. Trump stated at a Florida rally that he believed Barack Obama was the founder of the notorious terrorist group known as ISIS. After these comments, Trump was a guest on Hugh Hewitt’s conservative talk radio show where he was pressed about the connection between Obama and ISIS. Hewitt assumed that Trump was referring to the supposed vacuum that Obama created in the Middle East, but this was not the case.

Trump attacked both Obama and Hillary Clinton, saying, “No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.” This was, of course, another example of Trump speaking his mind, as there seemed to be no clear advantage to framing the current president as a terrorist. Fortunately for the supporters who enjoy his “call it as I see it” attitude, Trump did not simply target democrats. Trump took to Twitter in the last weeks of the election to insult the republican speaker of the house of representatives, Paul Ryan. Trump tweeted, “Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty.”

 In the same day, Trump attacked other republican party members with another angry tweet. He wrote, “They don’t know how to win. I will show them.”

Trump was still able to secure the presidency after all of the mudslinging and controversial statements. Obviously, some citizens of the United States were searching for a voice that represented what they could never say. That voice came in the form of Donald Trump, and his strongest weapon was his casual disinterest in political correctness.

This is an opinion, written from the perspective of the writer and does not reflect the views of Sidelines or MTSU.

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To contact Editor-in-Chief Sarah Grace Taylor, email editor@mtsusidelines.com.

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4 Responses

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  1. Plain Talk
    Nov 10, 2016 - 01:23 PM

    America and Tennessee have proven they want “Plain Talk”. Political correctness will not solve our very real problems. Constitutional Conservatism is rising up because of the do nothing tax and spend politicians we continue to elect.

    Today, we elect the best government money can buy. We elect people who continue to sell our state and our county to overseas interests through bad trade deals. 17% of Tennesseans live below the poverty level because they cannot find a job and the jobs they can find are low skill jobs working at or just above minimum wage. But even more of these jobs would be welcome in some of our poorest communities. Honest labor builds dignity and character. Handouts build only discontent and envy.

    We need to bring jobs and employment back to our rural communities and inner cities. Lets rebuild our infrastructure with Tennesseans. Let’s create new opportunities by bringing high speed internet to our rural communities. Broadband is as much a utility these days as electricity or a telephone.

    Lets create rural and inner city opportunity zones to encourage manufacturing back to Tennessee. Lets attract the manufacturing industires of the 21st century and become global leaders. We must not only develop a good plan for our future but we must also execute it well. Poor execution of the best plan still leads to poor results.

    Join us today. Share this message with your friends. We are change.

    Reply
  2. rgefall16
    Nov 10, 2016 - 08:00 PM

    Donald Trump fought against political correctness by letting anything he thought fly out of his mouth. In my opinion, a huge reason he won over so many people like that is because it made him seem more real. The public loves to see someone, a celebrity, be more relatable. It makes the person easier to agree with or be completely against. Personally, I wish someone had coached him a little more or that he had listened to some advice on how to appropriately address topics on any sort of live broadcast. Most of the time went back and had to do some sort of damage control whether it was saying that he meant something else or even denying that he said it at all.
    I understand the appeal of everyone loving how he spoke “what they were all thinking” and how he seems to just not care about any consequences, but I’m scared of what will happen in the future if he doesn’t reign in on those tendencies soon. Free speech seems to work in his favor and did all through out his campaign. Some people see him as a direct link to what they think and others believe his words are weapons that he doesn’t know how to control.

    Reply
  3. MdbFA16
    Nov 11, 2016 - 09:45 PM

    Trump’s campaign went completely against the norm, and he used fear appeal to his advantage throughout his entire campaign. I agree in that he used non-traditional political methods to run his campaign. From his comments about Muslims to his opinions about building a wall, he still managed to be successful. This makes me honestly question the way that Americans think in general, because although many would never come out and blatantly state that they support hate speech or rhetoric, many do because they support Trump. I completely agree with your statement at the end of the article about how Trump supporters were searching for a voice to represent things that they generally would not speak on out loud. It saddens me to know that people strongly support a candidate like this, because it directly reflects exactly how many Americans actually feel.
    Although I personally do not support anything that Trump stands for, I can understand how he got people to think the way they did and show favor towards him. As stated in your article, he associated President Barack Obama with ISIS, and of course attacked Hillary Clinton throughout his entire campaign. In doing this, he struck fear within the American public and used that exact sense of fear to heighten the support of his presidential campaign. When people feel they are in danger or in this case are convinced that the country is not great and that a candidate can make it great again, they feel a sense of trust within the candidate. Trump’s strategic use of non-tradition politics was brilliant, although I am saddened by the fact that Americans fell for it.

    Reply
  4. FSMTSUSP17
    May 02, 2017 - 10:10 PM

    Besides his lack of experience and immature name calling, I agree with Donald Trump’s campaign strategy. Donald Trump decided to play of citizens’ fears and anger to persuade them that he was a fit candidate. Citizens easily fell for these tactics because they were acting off the emotions Donald Trump stirred up at his rallies. Yes, he had good points, but most were unethical, unconstitutional, and stereotypical. Furthermore, his responses to solutions were vague and unrealistic. Donald Trump’s other strategy was to highlight politically correct leaders’ mistakes and put the attention on the fact that they were politically correct and they messed up, so I am going to be politically incorrect and do better than them. At one point, I did agree with his political incorrectness because a lot of helpful policies are shut down because “the system” says it will be politically incorrect. On the other hand, political experience is still needed for an overwhelming job like being the president of the United States. Personally, I feel America picked the worst candidate, but we really didn’t have much to choose from because I would rather Michelle Obama or Beyoncé run for president before Hillary or Donald. Apparently, Donald thinks the same considering he is complaining about how hard being the president is. In conclusion, screw the rigged system and screw the next 3.5 years of Don’s “presidency”.

    Reply

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