What Is The Secret Behind Donald Trump’s Popularity?
An Interview with Bob Newman: CEO of a major marketing firm, and radio personality

How is the U.S. Presidential election shaping up? We asked radio personality and CEO of a major marketing consultancy firm, Bob Newman, about Donald Trump’s popularity, where the election is headed, and how U.S. foreign policy will change in the coming years.


Q. We often hear that the American electorate is angry at the state of politics in their country. Why do you think that is?

A. Despite 71 months of Job growth, 14 million new jobs, gasoline prices that are cheap and Health Care inflation down, American’s are launching their own epocal political revolution. I can liken it to the Arab Spring. In America, insurgencies like “Occupy Wall Street” and others failed as did early revolutions in the Mid East like the Iranian Green Movement. Now, this election has brought the angry dialogue to a new level — driven by personalities — like Businessman Donald Trump and self-avowed Democrat Socialist Bernie Sanders leading their parties. Party bosses like the Clintons, the Bushes and Hedge Fund managers have controlled the political narrative until 2016. The Bottom and Middle Classes are pushing their influence to the top.

The first reason for the anger is that election after election, American’s have exercised their dissatisfaction into a mentality that came to be known as “throw the bums out” as parties switched majorities in Congress and the Presidency. Up until now, they have gone from election to election, choosing different professional politicians driven by an atmosphere of campaign fundraising and not looking after the needs of the voters. Voters have dismissed politicians often because they are frustrated by the ineffectiveness and divisiveness in Washington that cannibalizes all three branches of government — the Executive Branch/Presidency, the two houses of Congress, and to a lesser extent, the Supreme Court — that do not accomplish anything in terms of bettering their lives. At this point they are no longer looking for new professional politicians but instead rejecting the Establishment and looking for outsiders who will shake up or create a new process friendly to the Lower and Middle Class and not the elite, sometimes known as the “Donor Class” for how they have controlled the process with their financial contributions to campaigns. Trump, on the other hand, is self-funding, and is looked upon as anti-establishment despite his vast wealth. Senator Sanders gets small contributions through the Internet (similar to the first Obama campaign) and Senator Cruz’s appeal is connected to the Republican Evangelical issues.


Q. What do you think is Donald Trump’s appeal?

A. The first thing that gives him appeal is that he has tapped into the anti-establishment anger. Trump isn’t beholden to special interests as he is running his campaign with his own money.

The second reason is that, as a candidate, he has put himself out there as an American exceptionalist, a nationalist. Candidate Trump says, “I will make America great again”. This is different from President Obama’s vision of creating a “greater world”. While President Obama abdicated America’s responsibility as the world’s policemen, his interests have always been international. Because Americans sense that President Obama’s internationalist policies have resulted in China beating American in trade, Mexico taking advantage of America over immigration and the drug trade and ISIS and other terrorist groups controlling the Middle East, Middle Class Americans do not feel comfortable. They are looking for a President now who will make them feel safe — economically and militarily. Trump has tapped into these issues by using the slogan “making America great again” versus internationalism.

The third area that he excels in is his delivery, his public relations. This year American politics resembles that I call “upgraded Professional Wrestling.” Within the campaign and political observers and scholars throughout the world, Donald Trump is seen as a bully, as a circus act. But his actual message has great focus and simplicity. For example, he discusses in very aggressive terms about Mexican’s being murderers and Moslem immigrants in Europe being rapists. He is a master of creating fear in his audiences. And the effectiveness of this approach was shown through the popularity of his “Apprentice” TV show. Rule with power which is quite similar in nature to other autocratic world leaders. Trump views Russian strongman Putin as a role model. But he mixes the bravado and fighting spirit with folksiness. Many analysts have described how, instead of giving a traditional speech, he’s having a conversation with America. And the conversations do not require accuracy or knowledge. Substance is secondary in a world where perception is reality. If you read his bestseller “Art of the Deal”, Donald Trump says in the book that’s hyperbole, exaggeration, is a very effective tool in business, and he’s using that same tool in politics to get to the American people. He may not believe all he is saying as he tests his messages but if they have appeal he continues. His message focus is extraordinary honing in on America losing to Mexico, China and Japan on trade, to Sunni Islamic Fundamentalists including ISIS and Al Queda in the War on Terror and to Shia Iran back extremists on the Nuclear Deal and in Syria but never explaining what he will do to solve these problems, except “win.” He is driving his campaign with few advisors and political consultants by tapping into his own experience and skills as a developer, marketer and reality TV host.

The fourth reason why he’s effective is, he’s a marketer. For example, after the Iowa Caucuses, he tested the message that there was fraud. Then he looks at the public’s reaction, and if it works he goes with it. If the voters start to put their hands up and disagree as they did in that case, he backs off and choses a new message. His message that “we Americans” are losing and “I will win for you,” on the other hand, works. This was effective and he won the New Hampshire primary with his next opponent (Ohio Governor John Kasich) double digits away and he is leading in the polls in South Carolina, the next primary, and expected to do very well in the upcoming Nevada caucuses.

The fifth reason for his popularity is issues. For example, despite the economy doing well, the average wages of middle class Americans, those making $20K to $75K have been stagnant. This has become a major issues of the day on the domestic side for all candidates — the great disparity in how Americans have done financially in the last 20 years. And Donald Trump, went back to these very simple themes, and says “I will make America great again,” “I will raise wages for you,” “I will provide health care,” “I will make you safe.” Being a Billionaire, he is an unlikely advocate for the little man but through his Casino empire, TV show, and past businesses in American Football and the Airlines his name has marquis value. Immigration has been an effective issues from the start of his campaign and despite not putting forth in-depth proposals, he remains effective saying, “I will build a Wall and get Mexico to pay for it.” Mainstream Republicans criticize Trump as having supported Democrats in the past and not being able to financially support his domestic programs and being an opportunist. But the polls indicate his support is strong (not soft as in political terms). Race will become a critical issue in the South as will be the litmus test on conservatism on how he as President would replace Supreme Court Justice Antonio Scalia, a brilliant conservative legal scholar, who unexpectedly died last weekend.


Q. How do you think U.S. foreign policy will change?

A. The only candidate that I see acting in a manner, like President Obama did in his first term and a half, in a lead from behind philosophy, might be Senator Sanders. He has refused to state who his foreign policy advisors are and battled with Secretary Clinton who has stated that she consults with listens to Henry Kissinger. Senator Sanders served as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont before becoming a Representative and then a Senator, and was moderate and practical. Once again, his far left Progressive leanings may simply be for the campaign.

If the next President of the United States is a Republican, no matter if they are a far right wing extremist (Cruz), or if they are a mainstream Republican (Bussh, Rubio or Kasich), or even if it’s Democrat Secretary Clinton, you will see dramatic differences in our foreign policy as well as our military policy in the Middle East (executing wars), Asia (trade and protection against China) and Europe (protecting against Putin). We will likely become far more involved in not only the pivot to Asia, but also in trying to end, with massive United States power, the multiple wars on multiple fronts that extremist groups have brought to the Middle East (Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya). Secretary Clinton, who is a professional politician and will bring with her experienced Foreign Policy staff, will likely approach Foreign Policy by building international coalitions. On the other hand, candidate Trump has spoken out against TPP, trade issues and associated Japan with those taking advantage of the United States. Just as Americans need to see if Trump has a softer heart than he is displaying in the battle of a campaign, Japan needs to see if he will remain a strong ally. To date, he has not shown any indication of supporting Japan against China and North Korea. Only time will tell here as he continues to educate himself on the American economy, military issues and historical realities.


Q. Where do you think the election is headed?

A. Are Americans looking for pragmatists like Clinton, Bush, Rubio or Kasich or Idealists like Trump, Cruz or Sanders? Do they view Secretary Clinton as an opportunist and not trust her because of her email scandal and concerns of her stewardship of the Department of State during the attack on Benghazi? Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump speak often about what they will do for Americans and the revolutions that they will create. Secretary Clinton and the Republican establishment candidates — Bush, Rubio and Kasich — speak about their own experience for the Presidency and what was once known as the Leader of the Free World. For Americans looking at these Debate stages, they have a massive case of Attention Deficit Disorder and instead yield to the candidates who are making them feel good — Republican Trump and Democrat Sanders. There is a possibility that none of the Republican candidates will be able to muster a majority in their party. Trump and Cruz may split the anti-establishment vote, and Rubio could get much of the mainstream Republican votes. But if the electorate gets tired of Donald Trump’s message, or are turned off by Senator Cruz’ lack of experience and inability to work effectively with others, then Senator Rubio may find an opening to get the majority vote. The American delegate system is not a fair system either. Secretary Clinton, who had wrapped her campaign around supporting the policies of President Obama, left New Hampshire with a huge loss — 62 percent to 38 percent. But based on Super Delegates (party bosses, politicians and others active in politics) she earned the same delegates as Senator Sanders. This unfairness in the American political system (if it persists up to the Party conventions this summer) could clearly alienate the voters once again and send them further into revolution.

What Is The Secret Behind Donald Trump’s Popularity?
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