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Saturday, February 25, 2017
Trump's Rise Was Rooted in These Three Things
Now that the dust has settled, protests have largely come to an end, and Donald Trump has added the title of "president" to his name, it's worthwhile to take a breath and look back at what transpired over the past 18 months.
How did the man that millions laughed at for so many months become President Donald Trump?
It's actually fairly simple when you study it.
The Three Factors Fueling Trump's Improbable Rise
To say that Trump's rise to president was as simple as a three-pronged approach would be doing a disservice to all the people who spent many sleepless nights concocting intricate strategies, quelling dangerous lies from the left, and traveling to every corner of the country for the better part of a year and a half.
But with that said, it's easy for us to look back on the Trump campaign -- and the movement that swept the nation -- and tie his success to three significant factors.
In this article, we're going to take a look at each of these factors and what they meant to the businessman's success.
1. A Frustrated Middle-Class
Perhaps the most telling factor in Trump's success has been the massive collection of frustrated middle-class families. While the lower-class and upper-class overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton, Trump cleaned up with the middle class. But before we touch on how he was able to do that, let's take a look at why the middle-class feels so disenfranchised.
For starters, American families still earn roughly the same amount as they did in 1995 -- right around $53,000. With all the talk from the Obama administration regarding an improved economy and lower unemployment rates, the middle class simply shrugged and said, "Where's the proof?" For families that struggle with debt, it's nearly impossible to gain financial leverage when household income has been stagnant for more than two decades.
Another issue is the fact that white males have been falling out of the job market pretty consistently over the last few decades. In 1950, 90 percent of white men were employed or looking for work. Presently, just 72.1 percent of white menfall into this category. This is the result of increased competition from minority groups, manufacturing automation, and other factors.
Next, you have the fact that the rich are getting richer. In 2015, the "99 percent" enjoyed the fastest inflation-adjusted growth in their income since the late 20th century.
Ultimately, these issues -- and dozens of others -- have been brewing for years. When Trump arrived on the scene, frustrated members of the middle class saw him as a way to rebuild the once strong middle class and restore some of what made America so great in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
2. An Unscripted Personality
Impromptu and brash -- those are two words that accurately describe Trump's personality. And it's this unscripted personality that was the second leading factor in his campaign success.
Think about a musician. There are millions of talented musicians in the world, but only a few thousand are able to be successful. Renowned music instructor Tom Hess believes one of the key factors that separates successful musicians from those who fail is polished "live performing skills."
Well, the same is true of politicians. Anyone can run for public office, but the ones who are most successful are able to connect with voters in person. Think about some recent presidents and you'll see this trend. Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and John F. Kennedy -- they were all magnetic personalities on the campaign trail.
But what separated Trump during this campaign was his unscripted personality and lively rhetoric that sharply contrasted Clinton's stoic and lethargic approach. While Clinton was lying low and waiting for Trump to mess up, the businessman was holding energetic rallies with tens of thousands of attendees.
When you couple the frustrated middle class with the unscripted personality of Trump, you get a feel for what really happened. Middle-class America was sick of politicians who spoke from politically correct scripts, flashed fake smiles, and told them that everything would be okay.
Trump came in and spoke like them, rarely used a teleprompter, and told them, "No, everything is not going to be okay." He explained, with confidence, the problems in America and offered practical solutions with no strings attached. This was enticing to millions of Americans.
3. Ability to Control the Media Narrative
The third key factor in Trump's rise was the real estate mogul's ability to control the media. It's something he's been good at for decades and he gave every PR executive in America an 18-month crash course in what this looks like.
Trump absolutely dominated television, radio, and internet from the moment he announced he would be running until the moment he was elected. (And he's still doing it today.) If you talk to those who are close to him, they'll tell you that every last detail was carefully planned. In fact, just ask one longtime New York political consultant who sat down with Trump in his Trump Tower conference room back in 2013.
"He said, 'I'm going to walk away with it and win it outright,'" the consultant recalls. "Trump told us, 'I'm going to get in and all the polls are going to go crazy. I'm going to suck all the oxygen out of the room. I know how to work the media in a way that they will never take the lights off of me.'"
Another attendee at that meeting told Trump, "You can't run for president on earned media," to which he responded, "I think you're wrong."
Not only did Trump run on earned media, he excelled and won on earned media. While Clinton's camp spent more than $450.6 million during the campaign, Trump spent just $238.9. That equals roughly $859,538 per Trump electoral vote, versus $1.97 million per Clinton electoral vote.
While Trump certainly said some controversial things, very few of what the media called "mistakes" were actually unplanned. As the media was calling out Trump and going on and on about how he was ruining his campaign, you have to imagine Trump was sitting in some boardroom laughing to himself.
They were playing his game and he was pulling the puppet strings.
Nobody's Laughing Now
There was laughter when Trump announced he would run for president. There was laughter when he polled well in the primaries. There was laughter when he won the nomination for the Republican Party. There was laughter when Clinton surged in the polls. There was even laughter when he took an early lead on election night. Trumps' supporters are the ones laughing now.
Trump came into a race that has historically been run by career politicians and exposed them for being out of touch with reality. He recognized a middle class that was frustrated and used his magnetic personality to control the media narrative and win the election.
Millions of people are still scratching their heads, trying to figure out how it happened, but it's pretty easy to see how Donald Trump "trumped" the vote.