Seeking to understand the enduring appeal of billionaire businessman Donald Trump’s front-running presidential campaign, Trump supporters and volunteers pointed to his simple — yet vague — campaign promise to “make America great again.”
According to the Washington Post, the slogan, emblazoned on hats sold and given away by the candidate, has a powerful appeal for voters who believe the country has lost its way despite improvements during the Obama administration.
Holly Martin, a 57-year-old freelance technology writer who is doing volunteer work for the Trump campaign in Winchester, Virginia, admits her favorite candidate has his faults, but that hasn’t stopped her from supporting him.
“The way he talks is just silly sometimes — he sounds like a fourth-grader,” she said before adding that Trump, “… talks like a regular guy, and he actually loves this country. He’s not afraid to say that we’ve lost our good character.”
Martin’s comment about Trump’s choice of words when describing complex issues echoes linguistic analysis conducted on the texts of his speeches, with another placing him in the third grade.
According to long time Republican Martin, she recently grew disenchanted with the GOP and –surprisingly — compared Trump’s style to President Obama.
“They [the GOP] did nothing on Obamacare, nothing on cutting spending, nothing on restoring honesty. They hate us, so now I’m done with Republicans,” she explained. “Trump is not one of them. He doesn’t hate us. He really believes we can make America great again, and I’m not an optimistic person, but I think he can, because he’s got a built-in ability to use the media, just like Obama.”
Saying he first began “laughing at this Trump guy like everyone else,” Joe McCoy said he has come around to appreciating Trump, going so far as to describe him as a “moderate,” despite the candidate’s anti-immigrant views.
“I’m not a rigid tea partier,” the 31-year-old explained. “I’m in favor of government paying for roads and the fire department. Social Security is a great thing. But I don’t think Trump is really much of a conservative; he’s definitely more moderate than the others.”
What makes a candidate “moderate” may be in the eyes of the beholder, with McCoy complaining about undocumented immigrants and “letting kids go into whichever bathroom they want to in school.”
For 70-year-old Steve Trivett, Trump’s promise to “make America great again” warrants a “‘Hallelujah!”
“When America was great, our economy was strong. Our economy’s been shipped off to other countries. Can Donald Trump solve that? Hell, I don’t know. Somebody not as flamboyant or egomaniacal might be more effective, but I’m not sure anybody can bring us back. At least Trump gets things done,” Trivett rationalized. “The last Democrat I voted for was Jimmy Carter. He was a good, honest man, and the system ate him up. So maybe we need a guy like Trump.”