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?
John Fitzgerald Johnson was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He shares little in the way of his academic history, but he speaks briefly of previous jobs he has held. He is a veteran (of which branch of the armed services is not known), an ordained minister, and an IT Architect. He is also a recording artist, and as founder of the GMJ International Entertainment multimedia company, has produced music for a variety of companies large and small under the stage name “The Real Grandmaster Jay”. He campaigns under the slogan “Only we can fix us”.
Johnson is an ardent civil rights activist who is extremely concerned with racial inequality. He is particularly focused on the issue of police brutality, and is a member of the Black Lives Matter movement. He calls for a mandate that all law enforcement officers be required to wear a body camera capturing footage that cannot be altered or deleted. He also wishes to establish a Federal Special Prosecutor division specifically for the review of all incidents of deadly force used by police, with officers found to have behaved improperly having their cases automatically escalated to federal crimes. Mandatory annual training of law enforcement in deescalation of force, as well as civilian review boards with oversight power over police, are other ideas he champions.
Beyond civil rights, Johnson has permissive views on immigration. While he supports tightening border security to prevent illegal crossings, he emphatically declares that he will not build a wall. He rejects any notion of deporting illegal immigrants currently present in the country (with the exception of criminals wanted in their original nation, whom he says could be welcomed back after being sent home), instead seeking to grant them legal status so that they could work for taxable income. He is an advocate of guest workers' rights, supporting legal representation for such people who may have been abused by their employers, as well as requiring those employers to provide reimbursement for housing, transportation expenses, and workers' compensation.
Johnson supports woman's rights, as well. He wishes to expand funding for Planned Parenthood, provide guaranteed childcare for all Americans, and require employers to provide at least one week of paid leave for mothers whose children fall ill. On the issue of labor generally, he supports twelve weeks of paid family and medical leave for all workers, two weeks of paid vacation, and a minimum wage increase to $18 per hour.
With his decidedly left-of-center political bent, Johnson is likely to find supporters among social liberals, especially those concerned with racial issues. Fiscal liberals would also find little to object to in his platform. Political conservatives are not likely to agree with most of his positions.
Johnson is nothing if not optimistic. On his campaign website, he makes a veiled reference to the accomplishment of President Barack Obama, the first black man to achieve the Oval Office. Johnson displays a picture of himself – also an African-American man – on which he has written the phrase, “Who says lightning doesn't strike twice?”