To Trump, his supporters: presidency not a reality show

Editorial Staff

Despite all the criticisms of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, detractors can’t deny one thing – Trump knows how to rile up his supporters.

When Trump walks out in front of the crowds at one of his rallies or town hall meetings, the ovation he receives resembles that of a rock star.

But with such passion can come anger, and in some cases, violence. Trump supporters at rallies have become notoriously confrontational, as hecklers and protesters often meet verbal and sometimes physical hostility. 

The Kentucky Kernel sent three reporters to the Trump rally in Louisville on March 3. They witnessed first-hand Trump’s nature of handling hecklers, as well as the people in the audience. 

Several protesters, including Bernie Sanders supporters, Hillary Clinton supporters and members of the Black Lives Matter movement, were removed from the area. Several crowd members pushed around a black woman, and a man sporting a Bernie Sanders sign had it taken from his hands and torn apart.

Trump cancelled a planned rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago earlier in March because of security concerns after numerous scuffles involving his supporters and protesters outside of the event.

While Trump does not outright endorse the behavior of his supporters, he does not do enough to condemn it.

To get a better understanding of the nature of Trump and his supporters, the Kernel spoke with philosophy assistant professor Stefan Bird-Pollan, who wrote an academic paper on the rise of right-wing extremism in Europe.

Bird-Pollan said the campaigns of both Trump and Sanders have elements of anger. The difference is that the Sanders campaign draws from anger toward income inequality and the power of money in American politics, whereas Trump’s campaign feeds off anger toward perceived “out-groups,” such as immigrants and Muslims.

Trump’s policies, while controversial, can at least be debated, and many Trump supporters have, in their minds, legitimate reasons for choosing him over Clinton or Sanders, according to Bird-Pollan.

But Bird-Pollan said some Trump voters don’t base their support in Trump’s policies, but rather his image as a political outsider.

“There are people that are just fed up, and want someone to just tear it all down,” Bird-Pollan said regarding Trump supporters and their disdain for the American political system.

Regardless of their reasons,  the behavior of Trump and his supporters at rallies degrades the position of the president, and it makes America look buffoonish to the rest of the progressive world.

“Get out! Get the hell out,” Trump yelled at hecklers during the Louisville rally. Americans need to seriously consider whether they want this man representing the U.S. when dealing with other world leaders. 

The U.S. presidency is not a reality show, and Trump and his supporters need to stop treating it that way.

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