Donald Trump’s appeal is simple, writes Peggy Noonan in the WSJ. Trump supporters, after listening and watching him, believe that Trump is on America’s side.
And that comes as a great relief to them, because they believe that for 16 years Presidents Bush and Obama were largely about ideologies. They seemed not so much on America’s side as on the side of abstract notions about justice and the needs of the world. Mr. Obama’s ideological notions are leftist, and indeed he is a hero of the international left. He is about international climate-change agreements, and leftist views of gender, race and income equality. Mr. Bush’s White House was driven by a different ideology—neoconservatism, democratizing, nation building, defeating evil in the world, privatizing Social Security.
But it was all ideology.
Then Mr. Trump comes and in his statements radiate the idea that he’s not at all interested in ideology, only in making America great again—through border security and tough trade policy, etc. He’s saying he’s on America’s side, period.
In Trump’s recent foreign policy speech, which was an attack on the foreign policy elite of both parties, he positioned himself to the left of Hillary Clinton—to the left of her hawkishness, her eagerness to assert U.S. military power, her bad judgment.
“This will be the first time in modern history a Republican presidential candidate is to the left of the Democrat, and that will make things interesting,” notes Ms. Noonan. And it could get even more interesting. Bobby Knight introduced Trump at a rally in Evansville, IN as neither a Democrat nor a Republican. “The crowd seemed to like it a lot.” With his insisting that he will not cut or add new limits to entitlement spending, will Mr. Trump swagger to the left of Mrs. Clinton on key domestic questions, too?
Voters are willing to overlook that Trump lacks experience in elective office, that he is a casino developer who became famous on reality TV. “They forgive it all,” writes Ms. Noonan. “Not only because they’re tired of bad policy but because they’re tired of ideology.” Read more explanation of Trump’s foreign policy from former CIA bin Laden chief Michael Scheuer here.
More from Peggy Noonan on Donald Trump in this video: