Donald Trump has one thing in common with Regan and its style. His unnatural confidence is his talent. He appears absolutely sure of himself all the time. People attracted to authority like Donald Trump because he’s ‘always right.’ The constant evocation of “Nobody Knows” works with the less educated because of fears they’re viewed as stupid or inferior – when Trump says “Nobody Knows” he means facts can be disregarded, the media is lying, science isn’t reliable, the government is deceiving us. He affirms their suspicions. The ‘birther’ campaign played into ‘I’m never wrong’ + “Nobody Knows.” When Obama released his birth certificate, Donald Trump just declared it a fraud. There’s nothing he can’t disregard.
Personally, I would never vote for Trump and don’t want him within a mile of the Oval Office, but I do understand why he appeals to people, especially those who remember the America of 30, 40, 50 years ago (or at least the mythology of it). The U.S.A. used to be the envy of the world, an up-and-coming superpower with safe streets and economic security for many. Now, thanks to globalization, immigration, crime, income inequality, and terrorism we feel so much less safe than we did. Obviously Trump is not the answer to this, as his billionaire friends are largely responsible for the wrong of extreme income inequality, but he does seem strong and concerned and even compassionate to those who have seen the country they knew change drastically, and in many ways for the worse.
On the flip side, the Democrats of the party, business, and university elites who support Hillary Clinton, always struck me as incredibly demeaning to average Americans. It treats us basically like dumb peasants who exist to pay taxes, tuition, and premiums for foreign wars and social programs to help the poor or minorities even as real wages and the middle class eroded. In many ways Bernie Sanders is to liberals what Trump is to conservatives: an anti-establishment candidate who sees and promises to remedy the problems of the middle class and restore greatness.