1) So Trump is a business man or a “great businessman” or some such internal reference. Is he really? Are you speaking of his scripted TV show he was on (yeah, none of that was real or had any consequences. He was paid as an actor on a fake show and the ‘internships’ were paid by the studios which was a year-long position of doing nothing. Trump has no offices for people to go to to do activities – he has a few people who answer the phones and arrange his appearances but he doesn’t build anything or sell anything or manage anything which needs a real staff of people with assigned tasks and he hasn’t had anything like this for 30 years. He has failed at every venture he ever tried and his ’empire’ has long been taken away by others in bankruptcies, loss of market share, and settlements). Or are you speaking of his failing construction ’empire’ which took the holding of his father and slowly shrunk them to satisfy Trump’s many debts? Are you speaking of his myriad ventures in selling vodka, steaks, suits, and other cheaply-produced overseas garbage products? Maybe you are speaking of his discredited Trump University (of real estate) which neither was a ‘university’ nor did it even include Trump. His buildings which have long since stopped being owned or even controlled by him and only have his name (a compromise he traded for in his negotiations as he lost every bit of a role in the ownership – many of these buildings have slowly removed his name) or his golf and country clubs which pay him to use his name but long ago were taken over by more competent management companies. His name is a cheap advertising gimmick which appeals to the low-class people who see the Trump name like any other minor celebrity, their vain hope is that he panache will rub off on them for a moment like the thin layer of gold on plated jewelry.
Trump still receives some revenue from some of these places but the ‘millions’ that he and his family receive are nowhere near the many billions that these places earn. It is nice to earn a passive income of millions but what once existed under Fred Trump would have been equivalent to perhaps a trillion dollars by 2020 dollars but the son lost it all in bankruptcies and lawsuits. The only role Trump has is to drive or induce people to go to the places, much like the hostess at a restaurant or the greeter at Walmart.
The question really is, why do people who know Trump’s history still find him appealing? I think that it is the very known criminal side of Trump that rather than repel people is what they find appealing! You ever wonder why some people find reptiles personable or people on death row to be the object of their love? Yes, it is the same group that like Trump.
Underneath it all, people want what Trump has and they want to do what Trump has done: people want to cheat the system and create the buzz about themselves that Trump has and would like nothing more than to cheat on their taxes (like Trump) and run scams (like Trump) and make the bits of money (like Trump) so that they can also get “something for nothing” and keep the money (like Trump).
If you ask most people if they want to be considered a criminal they would say ‘no’ – it is part of our moral fabric for the people who live within the community to deny a desire to steal or cheat the other people in the community. It is not honorable to state that you have a desire to take money away from people less able than you. Even among criminals preying on weaker people is pretty much a death sentence. Stealing from people (moreso if they are considered ‘innocent’). It is more ‘honorable to go after people that you do not know or from people who are your criminal equals – that is, basically, OK.
But, the clean-hands shyster image that Trump has – the 6’4″ physique, blonde hair and rakish charm that he has cultivated with the added background of being a groping sexual predator is appealing to many people, both men and women.
So, in a word, PEOPLE WANT TO BE LIKE TRUMP! They do not like anything about him or his politics but many people want to be him! His demand for loyalty (that he readily receives) from everyone he meets [which includes his family] (or he will cast you away), his complicated illegible taxes which is known to hide years of business failures, greed, and ‘creative’ accounting approaches to deny paying any taxes to any government entity, his demand that people use his named facilities to curry favor for his minimal skill sets – this is every person’s dream! To demand control and have others create a path for you so that life will be easier; life will make less demands, that life will be more smooth only for you.
Who wants to look like Jeff Bezos – small, bald, and the 100% creator of Amazon and a trillionaire who earned every cent he has and not like Trump who looks like what every person in a foreign country envisions as “American” and has never done a decent, normal, honest thing in his whole life? If Trump has ever done anything close to legal or legitimate it was an accident but is quickly trumpeted by his sycophants as what makes him a “regular guy” (soon to be overshadowed by his next act of public rudeness or show of uneducated tweeting at 3 AM).
It is every small person’s dream that they can be themselves with their families and friends but instead of receiving an abrupt and unwanted response they find that everyone wants to hear your words, ask your opinion, follow your suggestions, and fear the loss of your attention all while you are receiving unearned income, go to parties where you are expected and desired, and gain access to sexual partners in any way you want while they succumb to your brutish approaches and pursue additional liaisons with you. You can be your own Caligula right down to a cheap gold-colored apartment (yes, this is really where Trump lives in Trump Tower in NYC) with your carefully contracted wife with the negotiated prenuptial agreement (what says love more than a contract with negotiated terms?). Melania quickly renegotiated her pre-nup just after the election when she knew she was in a position, briefly, of power to get more for herself and her son (technically, Barron is also Trump’s son but you wouldn’t know it from how little that boy gets his ancient father’s attention. Yes, the joy of being 14 and having a 73 year old father. Melania is his only parent and her parents are his only real family).
When Trump makes it clear that he is the ‘everyman’ that is not a compliment – it is the bitter recognition that he stands for what many people feel daily: beat down by life and wishing that if they could go back to the beginning that they would demand that things would be done on their terms – their family, their spouse, their friends, and their employment: less work and more pleasure; less demands on them that they know anything (Trump doesn’t read by either design or lack of suitable skills) and more appeal for what they do offer (height? deep-pocket money? Greed?, an easy to pronounce name? This part evades my sensibilities so I am open to suggestions).
Trump’s popularity is a bold statement that many people will not admit: they admire avarice and they desire a royalty that they can point to as their real or intended goal in life. People want more and they do not want to have to earn it in any way; they want to be like Trump and get it by birth and a lack of morality and fair play.
One thing for certain, he will be remembered long after he leaves our consciousness and this earth in the same way as the Black Plague, The Great Depression, World War 2, COVID-19, and 9/11 – not for what they did but how we can look at each other as survivors.