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?
Chris Keniston was born in Washington DC, but as a military child, he moved with his family a total of three times before finally settling in a small town north of Pittsburgh following his father's honorable discharge from the military. After graduating from high school, he immediately began working at a variety of jobs (sometimes several at a time), lacking the resources to continue his education. He joined the US Air Force in 1996, following in his father's (and grandfather's) footsteps, and worked successfully in various aircraft maintenance roles that won him many decorations. This improved his financial situation, and during his service he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. His military career ended when, like his father, he was honorably discharged, after which he completed post-graduate work and earned certification as a Maintenance and Reliability professional.
Keniston is strongly focused on job creation, believing it to be essential to American economic recovery. He calls for the stimulation of businesses to hire more through extensive tax reform. Specifically, Keniston calls for the outright abolition of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, which introduced the income tax, and replacing that Amendment with a National Consumption Tax on non-essential items to be imposed only following the income tax's repeal. He contends that this will address unfairness in the existing tax code by increasing the spending power of lower-income earners and ensuring that all people pay a fair percentage of taxes on the goods they buy.
Though he is running as the nominee of the Veterans party (an avowed centrist organization), Keniston is sharply critical of Democratic President Obama's budget plans, which he believes call for unsustainable levels of spending. He is also displeased with Democratic plans to pay for these excesses, specifically rejecting any notion of an increase in the gasoline tax which has been suggested as tactically advisable in the midst of currently low gas prices.
Most of Keniston's positions carry mild right-wing tendencies, particularly as they relate to tax reform and the avoidance of any tax increases. However, his positions are far from extreme, and true to the principles of his party, are mostly centrist in nature. Those who consider both Republican and Democratic platforms to be excessive are most likely to be attracted to his platform.