by Right Wing Fighter
Trump is popular because he is a nationalist. According to Trump, our policies on immigration, trade, and foreign affairs should be guided by the national interest. This is why he runs afoul of a large section of the commentariat.
First, they are globalists and he is not. Many political commenters think of the world as being “one humanity.” Basically they’ve been influenced by the New Age Humanism of the 60s and 70s which blindly states that we’re all one, we just need to learn to get along. The problem with this hippie worldview is that there are predatory people, and thus predatory nations, in the world. Extend the hand of peace, and they’ll cut it off and sell it on the black market.
Second, there are moneyed interests that don’t want to see nationalistic regulations put on business. There is a lot of money flowing from businesses into libertarian and other low regulation think tanks. The reason for this is that business wants as little restriction as possible on business. They want to be able to function as freely as possible, despite what is in the national interest. This is why there is so much money available for libertarian think tanks: libertarianism, with it’s hatred of regulations, even good ones, lines up perfectly with the interests of these businessmen. And since the libertarians really believe their ideology, it gives an appearance of honesty to the selfish designs of these businessmen.
Back to Trump. His popularity with half of the GOP base comes from the fact that he is campaigning for the national interest. He isn’t campaigning for the interests of the wealthy, like, say, Paul Ryan or John Boehner. By campaigning for the national interest, the GOP is getting a taste of something they haven’t had since Reagan: nationalism. The American people, but the GOP base particularly, are sick of being led around by businessmen that don’t actually care about the national interest. They see the nation slowly disintegrating and they want it stopped. They see our debt sky high, our borders a laughingstock, our schools pathetic, our military weakened, and they want it stopped. They want a strong right arm (military); a strong and healthy heart (education, prosperity, tranquility); and unclouded skies for the future (healthy optimism). Trump is campaigning on all these things, and that is why he is so popular.