Having secured the Republican
Presidential nomination over a vast field of experienced politicians
and vanquishing Hillary Clinton, a former Secretary of State, U.S.
Senator and First Lady in the general election, how could Mr. Trump
possibly have more success than this? Soon he will be considered the
most powerful person on the planet (if he isn’t already). While the
election is often compared to a horse race, it is in fact much
different as the goal of a horse race is to win, whereas the goal of
an election is not only to win, but to unite the country and govern
in the best interest of all the people. President-elect Trump will
be orders of magnitude more successful if he can expeditiously heal
the divide in the U.S.; as President Abraham Lincoln famously mused
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” For
ultimate success, to heal the divide and unite the country,
President-elect Trump must now work to demonstrate to his opponents
that his policies will benefit all Americans.
Before the election, many pundits wondered what we
would talk about afterwards, but as there now seems to be no paucity
of topics, this article will focus on severalinsights which I have
gained from listening to both Secret Trump Supporters and Vocal
Trump Supporters. In the event you haven’t heard of Secret Trump
Supporters, it is a term given to people who are reticent to voice
their support for Mr. Trump based on concerns of being ridiculed or
labeled such things as racist. Interestingly, as voting results now
show, many of those who voted for Barack Obama subsequently voted
for Donald Trump. Knowing that Barack Obama, of both African and
American descent, also has the Arabic middle name of Hussein, it is
clear at the very least that those who voted for both President
Obama and President-elect Trump cannot be considered racists.
From listening to Trump supporters, it is clear that they
understand nuance, and that it has been many of the politicians who
seek to create simplistic narratives, such as referring to many of
Trump supporters as not being college educated. While listening to
one Secret Trump Supporter, a gentleman who has been running his own
business in the same location for nearly forty years, he happened to
mention that he both dropped out of high school and has dyslexia.
Successfully running a small business for nearly forty years is a
stunning accomplishment in and of itself, but adding the factors of
having dropped out of high school and suffering from dyslexia makes
it all the more remarkable. I wondered whether some polls might
classify him as a businessman whereas others might merely try to
characterize him as a high school drop out supporting Trump. This
businessman’s location also adds to the story, as it is in the well
known liberal city of Cleveland Heights, itself located in the
mostly Democrat county of Cuyahoga. Not a party line voter, this
businessman recounted the struggles his business has faced in the
recent years and the fact that he would only speak to me on the
condition of anonymity.
While surely journalists have always cited anonymous sources, if
this happens too frequently, the public might wonder whether the
stories are true or taken out of context. This in part may account
for the reason that the Trump vote had been under reported. I began
to wonder how many journalists refrained from reporting due to
anonymity requests and how many perhaps did not actively listen to
Trump supporters and their many, genuine and reasonable concerns.
For example, a job to support themselves and their families is a
reasonable concern, and many Trump supporters are well aware that
jobs have been sent overseas, not only due to lower wages, but also
the fact that the U.S. tax code specifically benefits companies
which send jobs and hold funds overseas. Listening to these Trump
supporters, I heard people who are not jealous of the success of
others, but believe that those choosing to live more simple lives
should not be crushed under foot by the more ambitious, and that Mr.
Trump seemed unique in understanding this.
Pastor Darrell Scott
A more Vocal Trump Supporter, Pastor Darrell Scott,
also of Cleveland Heights, Ohio who had met personally with Mr.
Trump, offered his own insight stating that in his estimation, Mr.
Trump’s motives for running for president were the most pure. This
might seem to be a supreme irony, as Mr. Trump built his brand on
his larger than life persona, yet Pastor Scott stated that he saw in
Mr. Trump a person who did not need to leave of comforts of his
extraordinary life and was doing so only out of sincere concern for
the people of the U.S.
While it is clear that in this election seasonpolls did not tell
the whole story, it may not be the fault of “numbers” per se, but
rather in part that germane questions were left unasked.
Success is now surely a two-way street and the electorate does not
wish to see more gridlock in Washington. While it may not be
possible to turn every opponent into a friend, President-elect
Trump’s greatest success will be in unifying the nation, creating a
feedback loop of success.
As a side note, I can’t help but mention that at a
Trump/Pence rally in Cleveland, music included not only modern
selections but the glorious aria Nessun Dorma from the Puccini opera
Turandot. This can be interpreted in a variety of ways, such as
reaching out to many levels of society, or indicating that his much
maligned supporters also enjoy classic opera, or perhaps it was Mr.
Trump’s realization that in taking on such a momentous
responsibility, he expects that in his administration, None shall