By Christopher Harper
At a lecture at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece, I sketched out why Donald Trump won in 2016 and was likely to do so again in 2020.
The group—mostly students and professors—get much of their information from the American and Greek media. Therefore, much of what they read and hear is wrong.
At the outset, I explained that I came from flyover country, the backbone of Trump’s support. The West and East coasts may dominate the entertainment and media industries, but the places in between determine who becomes president.
Second, I pointed out how poorly the American media had performed in 2016, failing to recognize that Trump’s support was stronger than they thought, and Clinton’s following was much weaker. As a result, the media are likely to get the 2020 campaign wrong, too, and should not be a significant source of information for those who want to know what’s happening in the election. Also, I examined how bad Clinton was as a candidate and how out of touch the Democrat candidates were this year.
Third, I outlined what I believe is central to Trump’s foreign policy. To Trump, economics is central to his policies. For example, he sees illegal immigration as creating economic issues from employment to government costs, including health care and schools.
Immigration is a topic that hits home for Greeks, who have faced a growing problem of their own. In fact, the government has instituted a crackdown on immigration over the past few weeks because of the growing cost of illegal immigrants.
One Greek journalist asked me about Trump’s tweets, arguing that they undermined his credibility. Not so, I replied. His tweets send his opponents reeling while his supporters find them funny. His constant social media presence allows Trump to go over the heads of the media and his detractors—much the same way Ronald Reagan used television.
I don’t know how many of the 40 or so people I convinced that Trump would be reelected. But at least I had the opportunity to provide them with an unfiltered view of what I saw as the importance of Trump’s election.
At another stop during my Greek trip, I encountered two sisters—both in their seventies—from Houston. Both supported Trump without hesitation. It was a refreshing conversation—one I almost never have in Philadelphia, a bastion of Trump haters. It’s rather sad to have to travel 5,000 miles to find fellow travelers.