When Donald John Trump announced his candidacy for the 2016 presidential election at the Trump Tower to an audience of about a thousand supporters on a blustery New York morning on June 16, 2015, no one could’ve anticipated the impact that he would have on this election cycle. No one (aside from Ann Coulter) could’ve even envisioned Mr. Trump winning the GOP presidential nomination. Unbeknownst to anyone at the time – even Mr. Trump himself -, there was a leadership void within the Republican Party that was crying out to be filled.
The billionaire’s no-nonsense style, outsider status, business savvy and keen political instincts drew in the support of blocks of politically frustrated middle class conservatives, tea partiers and Ron Paul’s orphaned paleolibertarians, who were all looking for a champion to lead them and give their struggle a voice. In the following months, these disparate groups of voters organically coalesced into a powerful coalition which has propelled Mr. Trump’s candidacy from the fringes of the race to the summit of the Republican nomination leaderboard with surprising, albeit controversial, ease.
And to think, the teetotaler wasn’t even certain about running as late early 2015. There were real fears that similar to the general elections of 1988, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012, Mr. Trump would not make a bid for the nomination despite giving indications that he might.
His giddying ascension in the polls has been met with incredulous wonder by the media and more established candidates who have long fallen to the wayside. His combative performances in the debates left his opponents tongue-tied, much to the delight of his supporters. His controversial off-the-cuff deliveries and political incorrectness are viewed proudly by his legion of followers. His war cry, Make America Great Again, has galvanized even the elderly to attend his lively rallies.
Mr. Trump’s in-your-face style has drawn a lot of flak from all corners, but only a fool would doubt that there is a method behind his apparent madness. As the former reality TV star has demonstrated repeatedly throughout his career, his audacity is always accompanied by a ferocious intelligence.
There is simply no denying that Mr. Trump has changed the face of American politics forever. And the prospect of a businessman being elected to the White House has rekindled century-old memories of the Roaring Twenties when entrepreneurs such as Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover occupied the Oval Office.
Mr. Trump’s nationalist populist brand of politics captured the imagination of the nation, and powered his victory in the Republican primaries. However, will the charismatic real estate tycoon be able to use an identical approach in his White House run, or will he pivot to the center and reign in his explosive personality? Will he be able to unite the party’s fractured base and win over the agitated social conservatives? Will Miley Cyrus move out of the country if Mr. Trump is elected?
Robert Dionisio was born in Naples, Italy, but the fact that his mother was at the US Naval hospital at the time entitles him to birthright US citizenship. He was raised in various American locales, including New York City, Massachusetts, and Maryland. He began a long fascination with business management while still in elementary school, when he earned money collecting discarded recyclables and redeeming them for cash. Later, at the age of 12, he supervised a paper route. He has attended two institutions of higher education, first the University of Maryland to earn a Bachelor of Science degree, and later George Washington University to pursue further studies in business and finance. In his professional career, he has owned a large number of businesses in a wide variety of industries, including oil and transportation, and has bought and sold extensively in the real estate market.
Dionisio is running as an Independent candidate with a right-wing political platform, but he is critical of both Republican and Democratic parties – particularly of their historical Presidents. He is an opponent of the most recent Iraq war, and in fact accuses then-President George W Bush of initiating it for personal reasons, as a means of obtaining vengeance against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein for embarrassments against both Bush and his father, who also did battle with Iraq during the 1990's. Dionisio says the invasion was a mistake, and that Hussein – whom, he makes no argument, was an evil tyrant – should have been assassinated by US special forces following his attack of Kuwait (the reason George HW Bush went to war in the Middle East). But he loses no love on Democratic Presidents either: Dionisio criticizes Bill Clinton's administration of 1993-2001, too, charging that it weakened the nation against terrorism amidst other failings.
Dionisio is an advocate of budget reform, starting with more careful management of foreign aid to other countries. He says recipients of US generosity often squander the majority of the money they receive, or else pour it into what he calls the “financial bottomless pit” of war.
Domestically, Dionisio strongly supports gun ownership rights, calling them a powerful deterrent against violence. To bolster his argument, he cites the European nation of Switzerland, with its prolifically armed citizenry and one of the world's lowest crime rates; and simultaneously, Washington DC, which despite strict gun control laws has been named the “Murder Capital” of the US. He also references statistics estimating that hundreds of thousands of American women annually are able to avoid being raped due to their possession of firearms.
With his criticisms of budget spending and strong support for gun rights, Dionisio is likely to attract conservative voters. However, his opposition to the Iraq war may displease the same audience, while appealing to political leftists.