The appeal of Donald Trump, his supporters say, is that he understands the problems of the common man, such as blue-collar workers, military men, and small business owners, unlike Barack Obama and other intellectuals on both sides of the political spectrum, who many on the right consider “elitists.”
The definition of “elitist” is as follows:
One could make an argument about Obama having believed himself to be intellectually talented and therefore seen as an elitist. However, this argument would be pure speculation and vulnerable to subjectivity. Obama did not come into office toting vast amounts of wealth and prestige. Sure, he had advanced to the level of the Senate, which is not a position for chumps. But he was no John Kerry of Heinz fortune.
In contrast, it cannot be denied by any measure that Donald Trump not only has enjoyed superior power, wealth, and membership into the upper echelons of society for his entire life, but also is quite happy to PROFESS what he believes to be superior intellectual talent (ahem), as well as power, wealth, and membership into the upper echelons of society.
“But wait,” you might say. “He cares about the problems we are facing!”
Does he, though? The better question is, does he genuinely understand them?
We have all been privy to the president’s speeches which evoke “carnage” and “third world conditions” and “mothers and children in poverty” and “students deprived of knowledge” as examples. But, do these characterizations align with the facts?
As with most assertions by this president, the answer is: not really. Do we have poverty in this country? Yes. The fact is that poverty rates have continually declined in the US and are lower now than they were in 1984. During the 2007 recession, poverty rates did jump up. However, they’ve been generally trending in the right direction for decades.
What about “carnage”? If, by “carnage”, he means mass shootings, yes, we have a problem with an increase in mass shootings in this country. If by “carnage”, he means murder in general, it is safer to venture into public now than at any other time in history. Our murder rates have generally declined, just as the poverty rate has.
What about those claims of “students deprived of knowledge” and “our airports looking like those in third world countries”? Think about the point-of-view Trump is coming from when making these claims. If you entered an airport directly from your luxury, top-of-the-line, gold-embossed, private jet, I’m sure your perception of the condition of the airport would not be the same as someone who stepped into the airport from the comfort and reliability of his/her 2012 Toyota Corolla.
Similarly, if you had been reared only in exclusive, elite, top-of-the-line private boarding schools, you, too, would view a public school as being inferior, both in appearance and educational potential. The irony of this is that all the private schools in the world could not upload the intellect into Donald Trump that has been instilled into so many who have attended public schools. This is not to say we do not have improvement to do in our schools, that the curriculum couldn’t be optimized, and that the system isn’t failing certain students. But those of us who are not gold-plated would not agree that our schools are abject failures. That’s an awfully strong word, which when used in this context, should be meant and not spewed.
And military service?! Please. Any respectable person of influence would get themselves out of that kind of hand-dirtying, backpack-lugging, hot weather, danger-inducing type of activity. In Trump’s world, people of his stature are necessary. Americans know that last name. It’s not forgettable, as the others are. Sure, he respects that kind of grit, he says. But much about his other words and actions are not convincing in that regard.
There are many theories that have been put forth to explain the doom and gloom that is a Trump world view. Some are more complicated and sinister, but the arguments are made well, and there may be something to be believed there. But, that is assuming Donald Trump has a depth to him that we have not observed yet.
A more simple explanation is that he simply views the lifestyle of most Americans as inferior; as tragic; as pathetic. We must be sad, discouraged people, yearning for someone who has had much more success and privilege to swoop in and fix our lame airports, chauffeurless vehicles, dumpy wives, and suitless, under-educated children; to bestow on us the lifestyle he enjoys. Because anything less is just plain unbecoming.
The viewpoint of a true elitist.