Donald Rumsfeld appeared on The Today Show and spoke about 2016, specifically how Donald Trump has “touched a nerve” with the American public. Rumsfeld is not wrong, either (go check out the RedState Facebook page and read the comments on any anti-Trump post if you doubt this). Here’s the video of Rumsfeld on Trump, and here’s the relevant transcript:
Matt Lauer: I’ve known you for more than twenty years. If I told you twenty years ago that in 2016 Donald Trump was going to be the frontrunner on the Republican side of a presidential campaign, what would you have thought?
Donald Rumsfeld: It was out of the question. It’s just amazing. This election year is so different from most of if not all of the earlier ones I’ve experienced.
Lauer: So, as you watch what’s unfolding as a conservative Republican, do you see Donald Trump as someone who can unite and broaden the party? Or do you see someone who is going to divide the party?
Rumsfeld: Well, it seems to me I’ve seen someone who’s touched a nerve in our country, and he’s caused people to respond in a way that most politicians have not been able to do. The fact that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are able to draw ten, fifteen, 30,000 people to hear them speak says there’s something going on in our country that they’re appealing to in a very interesting, unusual way.
Lauer: [snip] Would you be comfortable with Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders as commander in chief?
Rumsfeld: (chuckling) Goodness. That’s the kind of thing you’d want to get used to, you’d have to think through.
It is amazing, and it speaks to the utter failure of Washington D.C. that two candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, who have no business whatsoever in the White House, are even being considered, let alone leading in polls around the nation. The absence of viable alternatives over the past eight years has led to this moment.
Sure, there are alternatives to Donald Trump, but his popularity is largely due to the fact that he is not of Washington, nor is he a politician with scripted speeches and regurgitated party lines. He is, for better or worse, an off-the-cuff speaker who is speaking to a deep-seeded paranoia among the human race. We naturally fear the “other” and things that are not like us. Some of it is justified, some of it isn’t, but all of it is a base instinct that he has tapped into. Just like Bernie Sanders, who has tapped into the ideological notion of “fairness” in a world where that type of fairness is not only impossible, but highly destructive.