How crazy was 2015 in U.S.? Let's ask an Obama Democrat who supports Trump

WASHINGTON -- It's been such an unusual year in American politics that the first word here goes to an African-American Democrat explaining his decision to support Donald Trump.

See Full Article

"I'm 100 per cent sure I'm going to vote for him," Eric Butler says. "A lot of us are living vicariously through him -- he's saying and doing the things we wish we could say and do."

Butler's view is clearly offside from most Democrats. It's also a minority amongst Americans overall, given that polls don't give the braggadocious billionaire much chance of winning the 2016 election, should he emerge through the primaries.

But it offers insight into this year's most stunning political phenomenon.

Butler lists four reasons why he's making a dramatic electoral switch -- from voting twice for Barack Obama, to supporting a candidate celebrated on white-nationalist websites for blasting foreign governments, Mexican migrants and Muslim visitors.

One, Trump's tough. He doesn't apologize for controversy, Butler says. Two, he's spontaneous -- he says whatever's on his mind, instead of reading boring, predictable speeches off a teleprompter.

Three, he can't be controlled by the big-business lobby. He scoffs at their agenda of free trade and immigration. And, fourth, he wants to crack down on illegal migrants.

Butler works in construction. He blames undocumented foreigners for driving down the labour market, and his pay. He drives an Uber cab around Washington to supplement his wages.

Middle-class struggles make a combustible electorate. Add into the mix swift demographic change, the country's first black president and -- poof! -- the explosive recipe for a reality-TV star with a back-to-the-past slogan, "Make America Great Again," and an angry rallying cry for a theme song, "We're Not Gonna Take It."

That crankiness ripples throughout the political spectrum.

A historic-level 85 per cent of Americans are angry or frustrated with their government, according to Pew Research. It's especially acute among Republicans.

"I'm mad as hell," Blair Owens said during a summer rally on Capitol Hill. The retired mechanic likes Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, who are popular with the angriest voters, as are Ben Carson and Sen. Marco Rubio.

Who are Trump supporters? According to a CNN survey this month, they're likelier to earn less than $50,000. More are men than women. They self-identify as moderates, rather than staunch conservatives.

But there's one demographic group he's especially dominating: those without a college degree. He led that group by 34 percentage points. Among degree-holders, he was in fourth place.

The anti-establishment, anti-centrist phenomenon exists on the Democratic side too -- to a lesser extent.

Hillary Clinton faces a surprisingly strong challenge from the left, by Sen. Bernie Sanders. She's shifted toward his positions against the Keystone XL pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty.

She's weathering scandals over her secretive use of emails, her family's business ties, and an ongoing congressional probe into the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. compound at Benghazi.

But she's surviving. While she could lose New Hampshire, according to an average of surveys, she's well ahead in Iowa and leads Sanders by almost 50 percentage points in South Carolina.

Clinton also beats most Republicans, in most polls, with one glaring exception: Rubio.

The rookie senator is emerging as the great centre-right hope -- a favourite among the pro-trade, big-military, immigration-friendly traditional party establishment.

One problem for them: he's not leading polls in any primary state.

The biggest threat to Trump on the anti-establishment side is Cruz. He's rising in the polls, and leading in Iowa. The Calgary-born, Texas-raised conservative firebrand senator has so assiduously courted the insurrectionist vote that he's refused to say a negative thing about either Trump or Carson.

"Bear-hug both of them and smother them with love," is how Cruz described his game plan, in a leaked audio recording of a strategy session.

The party brass is reportedly so aghast over the idea of a Trump win, in particular, that it's considering holding its first brokered convention in 40 years.

Such a move could provoke an even wilder move: Trump bolting the party, and running as an independent. He's threatened to do it. Carson has also threatened to leave the party, if he feels cheated by its backroom operators.

An independent Trump run would badly split the Republican vote, polls say. But many voters love the idea of a third party -- 60 per cent, according to Gallup.

"The parties now are not saying what needs to be said," Butler agreed.

"Maybe (Trump's) starting a future independent party."


Latest Canada & World News

  • Another explosion injures 2 in Austin

    World News CTV News
    AUSTIN, Texas -- At least two people were injured in another explosion in Texas' capital Sunday night, after three package bombs detonated earlier this month in other parts of the city and killed two people and injured two others. Source
  • Boy shoots sister in video game controller dispute: police

    World News CTV News
    Authorities in Mississippi say a 9-year-old boy has shot his 13-year-old sister in the head and wounded her after an argument over a video game controller. Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell told local news outlets that the girl wouldn't give up the video game controller when her brother wanted it on Saturday. Source
  • Volunteers won't give up search for boy, 3, swept away in Ontario river

    Canada News CTV News
    Nearly one month after a little boy was swept away in an Ontario river, dozens of volunteers continue to search for him. Kaden Young, 3, was ripped from his mother’s arms after her minivan ended up in the swollen Grand River, near Orangeville, Ont. Source
  • Lawyer charges grieving family thousands for time spent responding to complaint against him

    Canada News CBC News
    A grieving daughter was blindsided when the lawyer hired to settle her father's estate charged thousands of dollars for time he spent responding to a complaint the family filed against him. But lawyers are not allowed to bill for hours spent responding to complaints, according to the Law Society of Ontario. Source
  • 2018 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremonies

    Canada News CBC News
    2018 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremonies LIVE0:00 Nearly 2,000 athletes from the circumpolar north have gathered in Hay River, Northwest Territories, for the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Arctic Winter Games Source
  • B.C. teachers' union to ask for higher salaries to help with shortages

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- The union representing British Columbia teachers will look to boost salaries, when their contract negotiations open later this year. B.C. Teachers' Federation president Glen Hansman told a crowd at the union's annual general meeting Saturday night that the province's low starting salaries mean that B.C. Source
  • Trump to unveil opioid plan that includes death penalty for drug dealers: White House

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump will unveil a plan Monday to combat the opioid addiction crisis that includes seeking the death penalty for drug dealers and urging Congress to toughen sentencing laws for drug traffickers, White House officials say. Source
  • Baby dies from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in Barrie, Ont.

    Canada News CTV News
    Police in Barrie, Ont., say a baby has died and his mother and sister are in hospital after a suspected carbon monoxide leak. Const. Sarah Bamford said that police responded to a 911 call from a frantic father at around 8:30 a.m. Source
  • Calgary siblings devastated after Arizona crash leaves their triplet sister dead

    Canada News CBC News
    A Canadian woman is among three people killed in a March 13 crash in Arizona that also left her husband in a coma. Patti Lou Doornbos — who goes by Lou — and Ron Doornbos, both 60, were on a sidewalk on their way to go hiking in Fountain Hills, about 50 kilometres northeast of Phoenix, when they were hit from behind by a Ford Explorer. Source
  • Florida bridge collapse: Out on errands, killed in an instant

    World News CTV News
    MIAMI -- They had just finished up lunch, and set off to run a humdrum errand: a drive to the travel agency to pick up airline tickets for their annual visit to their beloved homeland, Cuba. Source