Despite dangerous ideas, candor ‘trumps’ all

Gregory Block

William Jennings Bryan, a loud, active Democratic presidential candidate from the early 1900s, once said, “An orator is a man who says what he thinks and feels what he says.”

When I read this quote, I cannot help but think of Donald Trump. Though he is not my ideal orator, Trump says what he thinks, and that’s not always a bad thing, especially considering the lack of interest in politics among teenagers today.

I am part of an increasingly apolitical generation of teenagers. Half of all millennials are self-identified political independents because of their dissatisfaction with politics, according to a 2014 Pew Research study. To make matters worse, only 50% of eligible youth voters (ages 18-29) voted in the 2012 election, according to analysis from Tufts University.

Part of the reason for low levels of political interest may be that many people do not understand what politicians truly believe or want for America. So while Donald Trump’s views can be derogatory and disrespectful, the candor he displays could help change my generation’s lack of political interest.

Let me be clear: Donald Trump is not the man I want sitting in the Oval Office. His beliefs and values are skewed and his radical ideas are turning the GOP presidential race into an absurdity. But as the debates have begun and public interest has risen, Trump has garnered the admiration of many conservatives. And why? He says exactly how he feels, without a concern for what anyone thinks. Although Trump’s bluntness is offensive––he has degraded women and Latinos––if used to emphasize progressive policies, it could be an effective strategy for any politician hoping to earn the support of young voters.

Trump has strong views on immigration, and believes that all undocumented immigrants should be deported to their country of origin. He has called for an end to the birthright principle, a policy that guarantees citizenship to U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants. Trump disregards “political correctness” and believes that politeness is part of the problem in today’s society. In a country where politicians try so hard to appease the population, many political commentators note that Trump’s bluntness makes him a popular GOP candidate in the presidential race.

There are reasons why Trump speaks so openly. As a multi-billionaire campaigning against millionaires, he has the financial stability that other presidential candidates lack. While other GOP candidates have to make sure they are pleasing their donors, Trump has the freedom not to care at all.

Trump’s speaking style could help change teenagers’ lack of political interest. Although I don’t want teens degrading women, or calling for the deportation of entire peoples, it seems that a more blunt political style could attract more young voters. If many politicians were completely open with their thoughts, our apolitical generation could begin to take interest in the presidential race.

Voters will only trust a presidential candidate who does not hide their beliefs. While this honesty won’t please everybody, at least we’ll know their stance on social problems.

It would be dangerous for the United States if Donald Trump did become president, but the candor he has demonstrated should be modeled by other politicians in the race.

Once the other candidates begin to speak their minds, the political interest of millennials could return, bringing more young voters to the polls and boosting popularity for more moderate candidates. And then maybe Trump will go away for good.