It’s been quite interesting to travel the US as the presidential primaries unfold, and with the race focusing in on a few remaining candidates, it’s worth noting some observations. First, during our trip, we have seen far more Sanders stickers and signs than all the other presidential candidates combined. While certainly a reflection of popularity, this is likely also a reflection of the passion and the pride that people take in embracing a campaign about strong, principled positions. But, aside from a group gathering to canvass for a local candidate in Santa Fe, we have yet to see any campaign in action on the ground.
While there has been a great deal of discussion about the dynamics and differences between Clinton and Sanders, much of that now revolves around which will be best positioned to defeat the surging Donald Trump. It’s hard to believe that Trump has continued to dominate the Republican race, but for those who followed Rob Ford’s victorious election in Toronto, or even George W. Bush’s two wins, Trump’s success should not be totally shocking.
There has been a lot of interesting analysis written about why Trump has been so successful. While much of the mainstream discussion concerns his hate-filled racist politics, there is a lot more to his success than that. It’s important to realize that he spends a lot of his time talking about issues that resonate with the public, including jobs, bad trade deals, and the incredible damage caused by money in politics. His touted independence from the large corporate donors most campaigns depend on, and his unwillingness to tow the Republican party line makes many of these statements possible. And he’s very successful at getting these messages across, as he’s spent years mastering and manipulating the media. To better understand his appeal to people and the media, here is a selection of some of the most thoughtful pieces of analysis: