A good proportion of people who take some interest in national and international politics have probably been watching the rise of Donald Trump, with a mixture of horror, disbelief and amusement. Trump. who currently has the support of 24% of Republican voters, is running for nomination as the Republican candidate for the American Presidential election
Many of us think he is so awful that no one could possibly take him seriously. Yet. he is now established as a clear leader in the race for the Republican nomination for president.
The first observation about his success should be that his popularity is amongst Republicans who probably constitute roughly 50% of the population (give or take a bit). As a general rule, 50% of the eligible population votes in the presidential election. So Donald Trump has got 24% of 50% of 50%: roughly 6% of the population. However, this 6% is likely to increase as candidates drop out of the race.
But this 6% is enough to make the front-runner for the nomination.
Why are people supporting someone whose most famous and offensive utterances are:
“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
“I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me —and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
“Laziness is a trait in the blacks. … Black guys counting my money! I hate it.”
“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
“If you can’t get rich dealing with politicians, there’s something wrong with you.”
“He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK, I hate to tell you.”
The first reason is that Trump portrays himself as a man who “speaks his mind” and “says it how it is”. Much of what he says strikes a chord, simple though it is.
His decision to fund his own political campaign is a move of absolute political genius, Carving himself out from the field as his own man and portraying himself as not beholden to political donors.
He clearly has some very clever and talented people advising him and he is running a very shrewd campaign. And he has very deep pockets.
The other reason for Trump’s success is the rise of the Fuck You Voter, a phenomenon seen in Australia as well as in America.
The FU Voter is deeply disillusioned in a political system they believe has failed them and their response is: “Fuck You I’m going to vote for Trump. I know he’s hopeless and will make a terrible president, but I don’t care.”
It’s a form of political anarchy, an unconscious desire to make things so bad that the system collapses and something better emerges.
This phenomenon will be seen most strongly if Trump does not win nomination but decided to run as an independent Republican. A protest vote for Trump will split the Conservative vote and ensure that a Democrat is elected. So Trump voters are essentially giving the system the finger and saying “I don’t care.”
FU voting was first manifest in the election of Arnie Schwarzenegger as Governor of California. In Australia.FU voting been seen in the election of small minority parties, particularly in the Senate and in the upper houses of the states.
The people elected for these parties have no reasonable hope of forming a government and their primary political function is to pursue single interests and prove a constant irritant to the people have to form a functioning government.
Geoff Shaw was a primordial FU politician, determined to do nothing other than make the system unworkable while still harbouring delusions of the support he had in the electorate.
Palmer United Party and Clive Palmer also attract a similar voting demographic to that of the Trump. Voters know that PUP will never make a contribution to the running of government but they will certainly make government difficult and that is what the FU voter wants.