Donald J. Trump is, if anything, a provocateur. You either love him or you hate him. There doesn’t seem to be a middle. Plenty of my friends vehemently despise him. Some, I imagine, like him very much. Or at least agree strongly with his positions—on immigration, trade, foreign policy, for example—although they would not readily admit so. It is a shame because they have to hide that for fear of what others (i.e. their liberal associates) think. Free speech should extend both ways, right and left.
Personally, Trump the man does not bother me. I certainly do not agree with many things he has said. That is the key for me: the things he says. Not many people would agree with what he has said, not even people who agree with him now. You see, Trump has not changed in decades. The things that he has said have. He used to be a Democrat. Now he is a Republican. He used to support Hillary Clinton. Now he is trashing her every chance he gets. He used to be pro-choice. Now he is pro-life. He is against foreign labor even though he has gotten rich from it. He laments about Chinese goods, yet his own campaign hats with the “Make America Great Again” phrase are made in China.
His track record when put against what he has said on record makes him untrustworthy. He has burned liberals (when he was one) and he will disappoint conservatives (which he proclaims to be now). If we can’t trust that he would do what he has said in the past, then we can’t trust what he says he would do now.
However, the thing with human nature is we want to believe people who agree with us. His is a loud voice and if he is screaming the things that we want to hear, then we will want to support him. At the moment, Trump has chosen a position that will likely get him the Republican nomination for President of the United States. He’s a gamer and he will do and say what it takes to win. There was an interview after a FOX-sponsored debate where Bill O’Reilly asked Trump if he would run as an Independent if there was a brokered convention. His response was telling. He said that running as a Republican gives him the best chance to win. That was one of the most truthful things he has said throughout this campaign.
Of course, this is not to say that the things Trump is promoting are not dangerous. They are indeed. Inciting violence, hate and anger is not what a good leader is about. The base that he is appealing to thrives on the anger and hate. Advocating violence, as Trump has done at his recent rallies, intensifies those emotions and further endears himself to his supporters. But like the scorpion that stings the frog who carries him across the river, Trump will inevitably turn on his current supporters.