May 3, 2016
A PhD Student on Trump
To his detractors, Donald Trump appeals to undereducated, heartland voters in mostly red states. That is no doubt the case, but his appeal may not end there and it could grow in the months to come in ways many would not expect. It is true that educated, thoughtful, successful conservative Republicans find him anathema. It is also true that Washington’s political elite class is appalled at the prospect of this ill-informed, volcanic, and possibly dangerous political neophyte seated in the Oval Office controlling our stockpile of thermonuclear weapons.
But, Trump’s appeal could be significantly wider than these stereotypes would suggest, despite reasonable concerns that the real Trump – the man behind the mask of bluntness and incivility — is not yet known. What is emerging is a battle between continuity, represented by the familiar Hillary Clinton, and disruption, represented by Donald Trump. It is increasingly apparent that disruption is a goal more widely supported than any of us would have believed six months ago. Indiana University PhD student Pete Calautti’s fascinating piece in Vox is an indication of that wider appeal.