“Benefitting” Americans via trickle-down economics
He has made money, lost money, negotiated deals and built tall skyscrapers.
As well as being the outsider, jump-starting his campaign with his own money and representing the opposite of “political correctness”, millions of Americans perceive his business “success” as power that will ultimately benefit them.
“One element going on here is a projection of power that a lot of Americans, who might be thinking about voting for him, feel anxiety about, and they have felt that way for decades,” said Sean Gailmard, a political science professor at Berkeley.
“It’s about job growth and job loss and income growth, and what the economy will do for people whose middle class fathers had jobs in manufacturing.
“Yet it is odd beyond belief that the billionaire who would sell his own mother to make a dollar would be their champion.”
Many voters’ belief in trickle-down economics is also expressed via Mr Trump’s current refusal to release his tax returns and his admission that he takes advantage of tax loopholes.
“Americans see success as business success, even if he’s going screw them over, people respect that,” said Mr Gailmard. “Politicians have one million ways to screw you before the sun rises every day. We may as well have someone who is honest and upfront about it.”
Embracing Republican values
Even though he used to be a Democrat, Mr Trump has managed to adopt classic Republican stances during this campaign on tax, guns, abortion and immigration. He has also been endorsed by the likes of the Family Research Council and the National Rifle Association.
Geoffrey Skelley, associate editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the centre for politics at Virgina University, said the nominee could do as well with evangelical voters as Mitt Romney or George W Bush did, as most of these voters would want him to appoint a conservative supreme court justice who was pro-life and against gay marriage.
“His voters have a level of discomfort with change, both economic and demographic, as well as changing social norms,” he said. “They are who people don’t like to have to ‘press one for English’ when they call a phone line, and they are displeased that gay marriage is legal nationally.”
Peddling an anti-immigration and refugee stance
“We’ve got to build that wall, folks,” Mr Trump often tells the crowd. He repeats it often, encouraging voters to chant back: “Build that wall! Build that wall!“
“Building a wall and being anti-immigrant is also appealing for his supporters,” said Mr Skelley.
“There is a long history in the US of anti-immigration rhetoric, or going after ‘the other’. We were going after the Asian immigrants in the 20th century and the Irish in the 19th century. Being anti-immigrant now against Muslims is just another example of this.”
Mr Trump has pledged to tighten border security, carry out “extreme vetting” on Muslim and Syrian refugees, and also stop illegal immigration – without offering many concrete specifics.
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