Around this time last year, no one could even fathom the fact that Donald Trump would be running for president. The two front-runners, Hillary Clinton, and Jeb Bush, kept the media speculating, asking will they or won’t they, when it came to running for the highest office in the land. Despite rising poll numbers, the emergence of Bush and Clinton troubled a lot of American’s as they feared that the office of the Presidency was just being used as a tool being passed between two dominant political families families. This speculation was soon overshadowed on June 16, 2015, when Donald Trump shocked the nation as he announced his candidacy for presidency.
However ridiculous his campaign may be, Trump’s success is largely due to the fact that people are fed up with the Washington establishment. Congress and the White House are constantly in a deadlock with no significant legislation being passed. Furthermore, the rise of the Congressional Tea Party has contributed significant in fighting within the Republican Party, taking down anyone who stood in their way, even those within their party.
With all the dysfunction going on in Capitol Hill, Washington outsiders such as Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina made their way to the main stage with rapid public support. They’re right: America is fed up with Washington. Congress’ approval rating is at the lowest it has been in years with no rise in sight. Political polarization has ruined our very fabric of effective government and the impact it has on everyday Americans.
However legitimate these sentiments may be, the rhetoric of these three outsider candidates are particularly troubling. Let’s take Carly Fiorina for example. Carly Fiorina is perhaps best known as the former CEO of HP. As CEO, she laid off thousands of workers and was viciously fired by the board of directors. Fast-forward to the 2015 Republican debate stage, Fiorina has continuously made false claims about an alleged Planned Parenthood video, claiming to see “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.” Even though there is no actual footage of her claims, Fiorina stands by her statement, promoting lies about a company that millions of women depend on. Of course, Politifact rated her statement as “Mostly False.” So why continue to perpetuate lies? Well sadly, she’s not the only one.
Donald Trump has been known to say some ridiculous things on the campaign trail, but lately, his comments have been downright racist, false and unconstitutional. Let’s address some of these claims. First, Trump claims that on 9/11, he peeked outside his Manhattan window to see thousands of people cheering as the World Trade Centers tragically came crashing down. Despite the fact that many New Yorkers and New Jersey residents have called him out, along with the absence of empirical evidence that shows thousands of Arabs in New Jersey cheering as the Twin Towers fell down, he still stands by his allegations. Additionally, Donald Trump recently stated that he’ll ban all Muslims from coming into the country. This statement was so outrageous that it even prompted the White House to call for his disqualification. Added in with the fact that he called Mexicans “rapist and drug dealers,” and tweeted out false statistics of black on black crime (from a white supremacist organization), Trump has been widely popular with racist and xenophobic Americans who shiver at the thought of losing their power in this nation.
So why are these outsiders so popular? Well, for one, they provide ample entertainment for the American people. Candidates like Trump, Carson, and others have continued to make a mockery of American politics and play upon the fears of many of their supporters. Perhaps the biggest causalities are dealt to the legitimate candidates on both sides, as they have been overshadowed by the theatrics of Trump and his widely outrageous colleagues. For example, in 2012, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had major momentum behind him in a bid for the U.S. Presidency. Today, he is lagging behind in the polls, unable to even make it to the main stage in the debates. This just goes to show how Donald Trump and politicians like himself are damaging the brand of the Republicans, politics, and America in general.
In essence, 2015 has been a year of political surprises. While legitimate candidates suffer in the polls, the rise of the Washington outsiders has made it considerably difficult to hear real solutions on how to combat the growing problems of unemployment, income inequality, police brutality, and more. Now, while it may be almost impossible to ignore the shenanigans of these Washington outsiders, Americans should do their part to go out to the polls in the primary elections to ensure that dignity and respect be restored to the American political process. —Mawuena Sedodo