It's apparent that one of the biggest aspects - if not the biggest - of this election cycle is the quick, unexpected rise of Donald Trump, his continued popularity, and the extreme enthusiasm that his followers possess. But is the fandom surrounding Donald Trump so different than that of Barack Obama? I don't believe so. In fact, the similarities are striking, and should be problematic to true conservatives in the electorate.
Lack of Credentials
Obama was a community organizer, an academic, member of the Illinois Senate, and then a U.S. Senator. His popularity was based not on actual political accomplishment, but on his potential to become the first black president. He's not particularly adept at informal communication, nor are his remarks substantive.
Trump, on the other hand, has success in the business world and has amassed quite the fortune, but what else can be said about his credentials? Politically speaking, his credentials are even less as a presidential contender than Obama's were. Success in the private sector does not mean one is capable, nor does it mean they should try their hand, at running a country. Futhermore, while Obama has remained a liberal throughout his political career, Trump's flip-flopping gives the impression that he tailors himself for whichever audience he seeks to secure, which is a scary thought indeed.
Obama's 2004 appearance at the Democratic National Convention caused quite a stir because of his youth and ethnicity. Liberals swooned at this fresh face, and quickly, a following grew. Since winning the White House, Obama has become a favorite of Hollywood and hip music moguls, attempting to be the "cool" president.
Trump is a well-known real estate magnate, with a name that is almost synonymous with property domination and excess. From 2004-2015, Trump starred on the reality show "The Apprentice", where his popular phrase "You're fired!" was born. His name, its own brand, lavish lifestyle, extreme wealth, and personality have all contributed to his celebrity appeal. He is an entertainer at heart, which, although obvious to many, is not seen by those who prefer to view him as America's savior. This is again another example of his celebrity. People believe his desires are for America's greatness, but his desires are for himself. Personal ambition, not making America great, is the name of his game.
Yes, Obama is half-white, but what people see, and cling to, is that he is the first black president. History was made when he was elected. Many in black communities nationwide, already being in Democratic strongholds, felt a connection to him in ways they hadn't with white presidents. Race was a huge part of ushering him in to the Oval Office, and unfortunately, criticism of him is too often labeled as racism. This is absurd.
The racial element in Trump's popularity is the white nationalist support he garners. His campaign acknowledges the white nationalism on his obnoxious Twitter account by retweeting thoughts from accounts solely focused on white domination. His immigration stance is clear on being anti-brown people, because, you know, all of them are bad or something. No, there can't be a common sense approach to immigration, because that might take actual work instead of emotion. Personally, I've experienced many social media interactions from pro-Trump white nationalist supporters who display the swastika. Trump fans should question themselves, because racism is dangerous, and it is not a conservative value.
Obama regularly makes remarks about Christianity, belief in God, and how faith guides him in decisions that he is faced with as president. But unfortunately, the decisions he makes and allowances he gives to those attacking Christianity and its elements show his true nature. His vocal support for Planned Parenthood, and glossing over the definition of traditional marriage to appease his audience, are just two examples.
As I mentioned in my piece "Rubio Does Not Come Off as Phony in Matters of Faith Like Trump Does", Trump's attempts to pass himself off as a man of any type of faith (other than in himself) are nauseating. He doesn't believe he needs to ask God for any type of forgiveness (a central tenet of Christian faith), considers his books as second only to the Bible, and holds questionable beliefs on things like the sanctity of life. His cheap attempt to appear as religious to his audience is, I would say, just as bad as Obama's insincerity of faith.