Faculty Advisor

Jacobson, Robin

Area of Study

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

Summer 2016


The rise of Donald J. Trump in the 2016 presidential election cycle has astounded the media, the Washington political establishment, and the general public. A former reality TV star, tabloid subject, and creator of a global luxury brand, Trump is by no means what many would have expected from the Republican Party, with its establishment ready for a complete repudiation of Democratic control of the executive branch. This project sought to understand what accounts for mobilization behind Trump, to recognize the political identity of the Trump voter, and to challenge the notion that Trump supporters are “crazy,” racist, uneducated, or without reason. These interviews were recorded and transcribed, and touch upon many topics, including personal and family history, personal political views, and thoughts on the candidate and his Democratic opponent. The project spans supporters of many types, including reluctant moderates, those on the fringe right, people involved with the campaign and deeply proud of it, and some who simply see a shake-up in our government as vital to the success of our nation. In addition to conducting these interviews, this paper consists of the explication of numerous works on American politics, Republican Party history, populist politics, and non-scholarly publications from journalists and observers of this moment in political time. If anything, this election should show every American that our conventional notions of our political system are irrelevant in the Age of Trump. Do not be fooled by the latest poll or controversy. Trump is formidable; he is not going away any time soon. The Trump moment will stay with the American political consciousness for generations to come.


University of Puget Sound