Guest Post: A reason behind Donald Trump’s popularity and a lesson to be learned from it

A Guest Post by Michael Terence Worley. Michael shares some personal insights and opinions about Donald Trump's popularity and some lessons to be learned. Please note that I am not personally taking any position on a candidate at this time but only sharing a perspective that I think you will find interesting. ~ Kathryn 

Two questions: Why is Donald Trump so popular? And what lesson can we take from this?

To the first: to the low-to-medium-information voter, Donald Trump is everything President Obama is not.
Trump is white; Obama is black.
Trump is outspoken; Obama is scrupulously politically correct.
Trump portrays himself as a war hawk; Obama has spoken as a dove.
Trump claims to oppose Obamacare; Obama championed it.
Trump is Christian and anti-Muslim; Obama, while Christian, is erroneously considered a Muslim by some.
Trump says illegal immigration is causing rape and murder; Obama has striven to provide amnesty for many illegal immigrants

There are more comparisons, but these suffice.

In this context, Trump's fallacies (disparaging Prisoners of War, making crazy remarks, etc.) make more sense. Trump is striving by appearing, to low-to-medium-information voters, to be everything Obama is not. And when these voters have as a goal to get someone who is not Obama in, they are more likely to tolerate or embrace his rhetoric.

This is why Trump's controversial remarks have succeeded: Trump is succeeding because people hate Obama.

Trump's comments are scary. His rhetoric violates the gospel principle of charity, and he has signaled he is open to policies that violate religious freedom. Worse still, precisely because he is an actor—acting as a “not-Obama”—we can have no clue what he will do in office.

But this post is not designed to convince people not to vote for Trump.  Instead, the rise of Trump in and of itself illustrates an important lesson we all can take from this: follow the LDS prophets and apostles.

Now, you might be asking yourself: This post began by talking about people who hate Obama being a cause of what led to Trump's popularity. Are you suggesting that following the LDS Apostles includes not cultivating a hate of President Obama like the one some Trump supporters have? That is exactly what I am saying. Let me explain.

Jesus taught us to " Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44)

I'm not asserting that President Obama is our enemy, or is persecuting anyone (that is beside the point.) I'm suggesting that an application of this doctrine was taught to us at the end of the last election cycle, and if the nation as a whole had followed this application, Trump would not be a leader in the polls right now.

When President Obama beat Mitt Romney in 2012 (despite 78% of the vote of members of the LDS Faith voting for Mr. Romney), the prophets and apostles released a statement that said:

"We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to pray for the President, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through difficult and turbulent times."

It is hard to hate someone you pray for. Very hard.

If the nation had followed the course the prophets had invited us to do, Republicans in our nation would strongly disagree with-- but not hate-- our president. Trump, thus, would not have been able to tap into this anger as he began his campaign.

If the nation as a whole follows the prophets, yes, even big problems like Trump can go away.

This post is intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine or policy.

Deseret News:  In our opinion: Trump unmatched as a candidate in blatant contempt for basic 1st Amendment freedoms



  1. Kathryn
    I would have to disagree wth you and whoever this author is. To say you ain't taking any political sides is nothing short of being disengenerous at best. You made a conscious chioce to except this author to take over your blog space to write this babble. In my opinion you lowered your bar on this one.
    First he makes what too many assumptions about those who are coming out as supporters for trump. He suggests his interpretation as these people have a 'hate' for Obama. Let me assure your readers that it isn't 'hate' that fuels those fallowing Trump, but better described as a passion for change.
    I have been involved in Oregon politics for several years and I can assure you the message isn't 'hate' for any one person but a complete distrust in politicians as a whole. At this point they are no longer interested in 'your' and others definition of what a politician should or should not be. They want one that looks and acts like they aren't politicians or at the very least will do what the people want of them. This better explains why we see Trump, Carson, Cruz and Fiorina leading ahead of the politicians.
    In addition he suggests it is the uneducated that he is appealing to.....I happen to have a dictortate degree and frankly if it comes a choice between someone in the likes of Bush and Trump, I would take Trump all day long. I may not agree with his antics or his triads, but as a businessman he has the skill set to take care of the needs of this country.
    I have to say your decision to turn your page over to offer this guy the opportunity that is nothing short of a sniper shot at only one of the candidates running for the conservative position of President of our great nation, well was not one of your best choices.
    It's your page and your free agency, but I like your messages about Christ centered messages, this one missed that mark by a long shot.
    Just my humble opinion.
    Bro. Larry G. Martin

    1. Dr. Martin,

      I disagree with your assessment. Donald Trump's virtue of "speaking his mind" has only served to reveal a portion of his disregard for other people (not issues, but individuals) and his narcissism. There is no way Trump would be able to get away with mocking a reporter with a disability, suggesting that Mosques could be shut down or that Muslims could be legally tracked in a database, disparaging a woman reporter for her sex by suggesting that her emotions were about PMSing, and in so many other instances showing contempt for so many people if his supporters hadn't been coming from a place of irrationality--regardless of their level of education. Obama may not be the sole source of the emotions leading to that irrationality, and indeed the author does not suggest that to be the sole role but one of critical importance.

      Even if Trump is an acceptable candidate, attempting to shame the author of this blog and of this post is hurtful and coercive in nature. It is one thing to suggest that a person has been "disengenuous," that you don't agree, and that you believe this post missed the mark of being Christ-centered. It is a different thing to say that the blogger "lowered the bar" or made "not one of your best choices" as a euphemism for a bad choice. The latter examples convey little in the way of constructive criticism and rather are meant to emotionally punish the author of the post and of the blog.


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