On the Surface
Donald Trump is perhaps the most divisive candidate in the crowded GOP field, and is subject to attack and scrutiny from politicians and the media alike. Despite this, Trump is the leading candidate in Republican polls. Interestingly, Trump keeps his lead not by espousing Conservative rhetoric; rather, Trump has shifted moderate.
A new poll conducted by the Des Moines Register has shown dissatisfaction among both parties’ voters with politicians entrenched with Big Business: while the percent of Democrats expressing disgust at Super PAC lobbying was 94 percent, more pro-business Republican voters came in around 91 percent.
Though Trump often speaks of his wealth, he nonetheless woos Republican voters by attacking the financial industry, something made possible by the fact that he does not rely on campaign financiers like so many of his opponents: he told Iowa voters that “Jeb Bush is a puppet to his donors.” In addition, Trump has come out in support of the middle class, telling Bloomberg that, “…the middle class built this country, not the hedge fund guys… I know people in hedge funds that pay almost nothing and it’s ridiculous, OK?” He’s also promised to keep Social Security intact, unlike rivals Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio (according to a Reuters poll from April, almost 80 percent of Republicans are against cutting those benefits). This ideology is well-suited to an election that is seeing widespread disgust with large donors’ involvement in the political process and perceived advantages those large donors have as a result.
So while Trump himself may be rich, his popularity is the direct result of more pragmatic rhetoric stemming from his lack of need for wealthy donors.