After writing about and working in politics for 25 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that everything I’ve learned can be summed up in one sentence: People vote with their hearts, not their minds.
For two years now, I’ve been reading convoluted explanations about how the United States elected Donald Trump as its President. I’ve read about the alleged rise of the uneducated and angry white working class, about cultural and economic anxiety, about loathing of immigrants and on and on. To me, that’s all a bunch of hokum.
You want to know how Donald Trump became President? He ran against Hillary Clinton, the one presidential candidate in all America people liked even less than him, at least in enough states for Trump to win 304 electoral votes and the presidency.
I mention this because we passed the halfway point in the Trump presidency last week, and I just got done reading his poll numbers.
According to Gallup, 59 percent of America currently disapproves of the job Trump is doing, while 37 percent approve. As for the other four percent, I assume they’re far smarter than the rest of us, because they stopped paying attention a few months ago.
I’ll be honest: Trump’s poll numbers shock me. I can’t believe they’re actually that high. Which brings me to the point of this column, which is less a point and more like a question:
Does anybody in America with the exception of blood relatives and maybe a small percentage of paid employees actually like Donald Trump?
I’m not talking about what the pollsters ask: Do you approve of the job he’s doing as President? I mean like him. As in, “You know, he seems like a pretty cool guy. I’d love to have a beer with Trump. Or play a round of golf. Heck, I wouldn’t even call him out on all his mulligans and the cheating. He’s simply that charming.”
Trump is the 10th president during my lifetime and he’s the one I’ve liked the least on a personal level, though I’ve never found any president to be someone I’d want to hang out with on a Sunday.
George W. Bush appeared the most likeable to me, because he seemed like a fellow you could talk baseball with and maybe not feel overwhelmed by his intellect.
I know a lot of folks liked Barack Obama when he was in office, but I was never a fan. He seemed to me like an aloof, too cool cat pretending to be a not aloof, regular guy.
Richard Nixon ruined my ABC after-school specials with his Watergate hearings. And Bill Clinton always reminded me of that college buddy who you’d find coming out of the bathroom with someone else’s girlfriend at every Saturday night party.
Basically, we’ve done a lot of striking out with presidents over the last 50 years. For the most part, they’ve managed to become President not through masterful political calculation, but by running against people who are somehow even less likeable than they are.
Then there’s Trump.
Two years into his presidency, I find myself burning with curiosity. I want to meet the human being who reads the tweets, sees the arrogance, hears the constant boasting and nastiness, and thinks, yes, I cannot get enough of this guy. What a shining example of humanity. If only my kids would grow up to be the spitting image.
Do I understand voting for Trump over Hillary Clinton? I do. Do I understand approving of the push for border security or lessening regulation on business? Absolutely. But like the guy?
Explain it to me. My email is email@example.com. I’m all eyes.