Donald Trump won big in Tuesday night’s Nevada Republican caucus. Following his wins in both New Hampshire and South Carolina, his Nevada victory came as no surprise to voters on either side of the party line. With Trump’s win a foregone conclusion, the other candidates’ supporters had already braced themselves for the likelihood of such an outcome. However, no one expected Trump’s verbal confirmation of what many have long suspected: he owes much of his success to “the poorly educated.”
Speaking before a large crowd at Las Vegas’ Treasure Island, Trump began by thanking individual supporters, ranging from Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. to fellow hotelier Steve Wynn. Trump then went on show his appreciation for support from groups of voters, including the statement that rings so true with those who are not in the Trump camp.
“We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.”
During last week’s Pope Francis versus Donald Trump media battle, educated Americans were shocked repeatedly by the comments that flooded social media. Trump supporters issued thousands, perhaps millions, of requests for the pope to tear down the wall around the Vatican in response to the pope’s reported attack on Trump. One notable, and incorrect, tweet from Trump’s senior adviser and director of social media helped feed the frenzy.
Amazing comments from the Pope- considering Vatican City is 100% surrounded by massive walls. pic.twitter.com/g3iVLDVGe5
— Dan Scavino (@DanScavino) February 18, 2016
This tweet, and others like it from Trump supporters, resulted in anger and frustration being felt by many Americans. Educated members of society saw them not only as misleading but also as a continuation of the carefully constructed public relations strategy aimed at pushing poorly educated voters to support Trump. Even The New York Times made an effort to clarify the misinformation about the Vatican wall, but its story fell on millions of deaf ears belonging to Trump supporters.
Information issued by the Trump campaign about the Vatican wall was not the first time Trump supporters were intentionally misled about a wall, with Trump’s first ridiculous promise concerning the U.S. border with Mexico. During a Vermont campaign rally in January, Trump asked supporters, “Who’s going to pay for the wall?” Three times the answer from the crowd was “Mexico!” Educated Americans were left shaking their heads, wondering how voters could believe Trump could force a sovereign nation to spend money it does not have to build a wall it does not want. Only a month later, in an interview with CNBC, former Mexican President Felipe Calderon made his country’s position on Trump’s claim extremely clear.
“Mexican people, we are not going to pay any single cent for such a stupid wall!”
Unfortunately, Trump’s plan to win the votes of the uneducated is not limited to misinformation about walls. The Trump campaign seems based entirely on grandstanding, on making promises that can never be delivered, on yelling louder than all the opponents, something Trump perfected during his WWE days. Much of the frustration felt by the anti-Trump camp lies in the fact that so many Americans are not questioning Trump’s statements or examining the viability of his suggested policies; instead they are using social media to spread incorrect information far and wide.
For those who are not surprised at how thankful Trump is for “the poorly educated,” the next five months, possibly the next nine months, are looked upon with dread. Educated Americans are simply waiting for Trump’s next ridiculous statement or false promise and hoping that, prior to election day, the American public will wise up and see the Trump campaign for what it is. Meanwhile, as Trump supporters are waiting to see what else this anti-establishment candidate will guarantee, they are likely to continue to believe everything Trump tells them, without question.
Regardless of the outcome of the Republican nomination or the presidential election, Americans will have learned one thing from Trump’s candidacy: America’s education system needs help. The country has gone from a nation founded by some of the greatest minds in history to a land inhabited by millions of sheep who believe everything posted on social media.
For those educated Americans who feel helpless in Trump’s wake, it is time to ask two uncomfortable questions: How did so many Americans become so gullible and so uninformed? Is a look at Trump’s supporters a look at the future of the American people?
Those who are uncomfortable with the answers to the above questions need to reach across party lines and band together to combat the spread of misleading and, frequently, dangerous information being spread to and by Trump’s millions of supporters. If there ever was a time for a bipartisan effort, the time is now, before Trump’s hold on America gets any stronger.
[Photo by Jae C. Hong/AP Images]