Donald Trump: the polarizing politician hated and loved in DuPage County

The Brussels terrorist attacks on Tuesday will once again push the war on terror to the top of the presidential campaign agenda and may help candidates such as Donald Trump as they espouse strong anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Trump, one of the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination who is toughest on illegal immigration, reacted promptly and vocally to the Brussel attacks. “I will tell you, I’ve been talking about this a long time, and look at Brussels,” Trump said to Fox News. “Brussels was a beautiful city. And now it’s a disaster. We have to be very careful in the United States; we have to be very vigilant as to who we allow in this country.”
Later, on NBC’s “Today” show, Trump said he would be “fine” waterboarding Salah Abdeslam, one of the lead suspects in the Paris attacks who was captured in Brussels less than two weeks ago. Trump also said that if he could expand torture laws, he would do “a lot more than waterboarding.” Trump explained that if a similar incident happened in the U.S. while he was the president, he would “shut down” the borders immediately.
Trump is a polarizing figure, hated and loved in equal measure, but his chances of becoming the president seem to increase persistently through the presidential primary season.
Trump’s popularity at the grassroots has snowballed after each primary victory. But Trump’s Chicago rally on Friday, March 11 was shut down after fears that protests inside and outside the event could turn violent. Some journalists, including Megyn Kelly of Fox News, reported this incident as a violation of the First Amendment, infringing on Trump’s freedom of speech and his supporters’ right to listen to him. Many thought this would never have happened to another candidate.
One Trump supporter felt betrayed by Chicago police for “letting the opponents take over us.”
Janet (not her real name) says she has great reasons to support Trump. He’s an attractive candidate to many Americans who perceive and fear a rise of black power, an increased Muslim presence in a time of Islamic terrorism and a loss of American jobs due to immigration. Janet explained to The Record that Trump is the only man who will stand by his words because he is not a politician. She believes that the white population has been discriminated against and that in a few years, “strangers” will take over this country. She fears for her safety and feels compelled to take action.
In addition to being a proud American wife and mother of five, Janet is an evangelical Christian who regularly attends her local church. She believes that God has finally answered the prayers of white evangelicals, a group she categorizes as a “minority,” for a strong leader.
In another interview, a man in his mid-twenties suggested that the media “hates” Trump and misrepresents his values in order to ruin the candidate’s reputation. The young interviewee stated that he had seen some of his friends “jumped” by a group of black men and believes “this country has become racist against the white population.”
When asked his opinion about Trump supporters disrupting other candidates’ rallies, he said that it is their right to disagree. Nevertheless, “No other candidate’s rally has been disrupted the way Trump’s has been,” the interviewee told The Record.
Despite the cancellation of Trump’s rally in Chicago, he still won the state of Illinois’s Republican primary on Super Tuesday with 39 percent of the vote. He even won in DuPage County with almost 50,000 votes, 34.52 percent of the Republican votes.
Interestingly, the rise of a leader like Trump was predicted prior to 2009. Researchers who specialize in authoritarianism studies concluded that in times of crisis, individuals develop a fear of outsiders. Authoritarianism is characterized by this fear and by a desire for order. Times of crisis instigate a search for a strong leader who will do whatever it takes to protect the country from the perceived enemies.
Two such researchers, Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler, published a book in which they concluded that the GOP has positioned itself as “the party of traditional values and law and order,” which attracts a demographic with authoritarian tendencies. This means that Trump appeals to members of the population with psychological tendencies towards authoritarianism, appearing to be the perfect candidate because he embodies authoritarian leadership style: simple, punitive and powerful.
In South Carolina, a CBS News exit poll found that 74 percent of Republican voters supported temporarily banning Muslims who are not U.S. citizens from the United States. Public Polling Policy also found that one third of Trump’s supporters believe that gays and lesbians must be banned from the country.
Esther Kao, a sophomore at Wheaton College, strongly opposes Trump’s rhetoric. She believes that conflicts may be solved when there are healthy amounts of debate. “In Trump’s case, however, he doesn’t leave any room for discussion,” Kao told The Record.
Kao agrees with the theory that Trump exploits the insecurity and fears of the American people through “homophobic, sexist and racist language.” The protests against Trump, she believes, were inevitable and there are many more to come. When asked about the actual shutdown, Kao stated her belief that the protesters were also exercising their freedom to speech, “We have the right to speak against what we don’t believe in.

Leave a Reply