For the first two months after Donald Trump announced his bid to run for president of the United States, the Huffington Post carried coverage of his campaign in its entertainment section.
And while most other serious news publications in the United States were not quite as blatant in their snub of the billionaire-cum-reality-television-star-cum-would-be-politician, the general mood among most journalists concerning “the Donald” has been one of condescendence at best, and insolence at worse.
But to their surprise and chagrin (as well as that of many establishment members of the Republican Party) Trump has — despite his foul-mouthed rhetoric, serious bouts of foot-in-mouth-disease, inimitable ability to offend just about everyone from war veterans to ethnic minorities and perhaps the worst haircut in modern coiffure history since Albert Einstein (with the possible exception of North Korean leader Kim Jung-un) — swept practically every primary so far and seems set to become the (God help us) Republican candidate for president of the United States.
So what is it that is making Trump — a distended buffoon who seems to pride himself on his vast plethora of misinformation and offensive racism — so popular with the common U.S. citizen?
It could just be the very fact that the media and establishment politicians don’t take him seriously.
The U.S. public is tired of being dictated to by both the press and the establishment, which traditionally have maintained a sneered attitude of superiority in dealing with voters and Middle America.
The educated elite of journalists and well-heeled politicians are simply not in touch with average working-class Americans, who have a medium education level of between high school and two years of associate training.
In fact, according the U.S. Census Bureau, less than 32 percent of adult U.S. citizens have a college degree, and less than 12 percent have a postgraduate degree.
This academic inequality between the governing (and political posturers) and the common American, coupled with the arrogant contemptuousness of the former toward the latter, has created a sense of distrust among voters for the government status quo and press.
Trump, on the other hand, knows how to make middle-class American voters identify with him, and does not have a holier-than-thou attitude when talking to them.
In other words, he gets off his high horse and down to their level, using their language and playing on the issues that concern them the most.
Simply put, many American voters see Trump as their champion, a “regular guy,” just like themselves (forget the fact that he is filthy rich and lives in a $100 million penthouse in Manhattan).
When the establishment GOP and media belittle Trump (who does a pretty good job of that all by himself) and imply that his supporters are stupid, the supporters only become more adamant in their defense of him.
For Trump supporters, a vote for the Donald is a vote against the stuck-up establishment that never bothered to take their concerns into consideration when promoting or implementing Washington’s failed political policies.
If the GOP establishment and mainstream media want the voting public to take them seriously, it is time for them to stop focusing on the barrage of mud-slinging slurs and personal insults that have become the bread and butter of this year’s campaigns.
Instead of dwelling on the size of the billionaire’s hands, it is time to concentrate on issues of more substance, such as his foreign policy (or lack thereof) and the infeasibility of his economic promises.
Granted, it was Trump (a natural born showman) who first initiated the transformation of the U.S. presidential campaign into a three-ring circus (drawing on his reality TV experience to pump up ratings with inflammatory remarks and actions).
But since then, the other candidates and the media have jumped on the scandal bandwagon, helping to fuel the fire of divisiveness and degradation, and giving Trump the publicity (and, ultimately, voter support) he so desperately craves.
If establishment politicians and the media are, as they seem to believe, intellectually superior to the average voter, then it is high time for them to start acting like it and put themselves above the fray of this slanderous and demeaning mud-wrestling prizefight.
The establishment needs to start taking the voting public seriously, without looking down their noses at the average working-class American.
And if they do, the average American may just stop taking Trump seriously.
Thérèse Margolis can be contacted at [email protected].