Few critics ever analyzed why Trump’s appearance and comportment resonated with his base and intrigued neutrals who otherwise might have been repelled by his agenda and personal history. American men in their sixties and seventies often do strange things to retain their youth and vibrancy. They can dye their hair, tan their skin, remove their wrinkles, or substitute loud clothes for a declining physique. Trump did all that and more. He appeared loutish to the Beltway establishment. But unlike aging Hollywood celebrities, he became more rather than less resonant and empathetic to the middle class for the strained effort, as if proof that even aging billionaires were patched together creaky everymen and insecure humans after all. Trump did not put on Beltway politicians’ customary flannel shirts and jeans at state fairs or farm shows, but showed up out of place but nonetheless unadulterated and authentic with his trademark baggy suit and loud, long tie.
Most Americans in 2015–16 also did not quite know, and did not care, where Trump’s odd accent came from. But they grasped that it was certainly not Washingtonian.
Trump’s grammar and diction were also not schizophrenic like those of suburban politicians of the Clinton or Obama sort. Trump never faked a black patois when speaking to minorities or tried on corny homespun drawls when campaigning in bowling alleys or state fairs. Trump sounded lowbrow all the time to all the people. Thereby, he came across as transparent and regular, as if a Georgia farmer would rather hear a Queens accent than Hillary Clinton struggle with ‘y’all.’
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