In fact, Trump’s rise to prominence is rooted in a legacy of political outsiders promising to break up the concentration of political power in the capital and destroy the corrupt stranglehold of political insiders. Trump’s ascendance, for all its showy in-your-face appeal, is actually less surprising in the context of our post-Watergate, post-Vietnam political culture than Republicans, Democrats and much of the media have acknowledged.Jack Torry writes at The Columbus Dispatch:
You have a Trump and Sanders, both appealing to people who are angry and frustrated, although in different ways,” said Merle Black, a professor of political science at Emory University in Atlanta.
The tough-talking, egotistical, anti-establishment candidate is a staple not only of American politics but literature and films.
“It’s an interesting story in American movies, which means it’s an interesting story in American politics in that we like the dark-horse candidate,” said Jeanine Basinger, a film historian at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. “And if the dark-horse candidate is a bit of an outlaw and says what nobody else wants to say and dares to say ... we figure this guy must be honest with us.”
Trump seems a comfortable fit for the dark-horse candidate role. He complained to CNN that “we have people that are incompetent” in public office, adding: “our country's going to hell. We have a problem. I want to make America great again.”
Americans tend to flirt with such candidates, but as the election draws closer voters have second thoughts. President Harry Truman seemed doom to lose to Republican Thomas E. Dewey in 1948 because of the presence of two anti-establishment candidates:— South Carolina Gov. Strom Thurmond and former Vice President Henry Wallace.