On May 20, 2016, Politico’s Steven Shepard explored Why Donald Trump’s poll numbers are surging: “The main reason for Trump’s surge over the past few weeks? He is earning increasingly larger shares of the Republican vote….”
Shepard provides a meticulous analysis of the polling data as to the what, but curiously absent is the why. Here, in part, is mine: Donald Trump’s striking resemblance to Peter Pan.
Not the Peter Pan of “The Peter Pan Syndrome.” That’s a phrase coined in 1983 by the pop psychologist Dan Kiley in his eponymous best seller subtitled “Men Who Have Never Grown Up.”
Rather I allude to the novel Peter Pan by James M. Barrie who endows his iconic hero with a more nuanced, more complex, and frankly more endearing set of attributes many of which are shared by Donald Trump.
And lest it go unnoticed, Peter Pan is a hero — a strange, unexpected, inexplicable, fantastic hero. So too, perhaps, is Donald Trump.
Above all, Peter Pan is elemental, as is Donald Trump. Both possess the “primitive and inescapable character of a force of nature.” Elementals can be positively confounding to grownups like Bill Kristol and Erick Erickson who often find their behavior scandalous.
The electorate seems charmed. Donald Trump is casting an enchantment over the voters very like the enchantment Peter Pan cast over the Darling children.
What power has the Elemental?
Might we learn something from Peter Pan?
Ralph Benko, internationally published weekly columnist, co-author of The 21st Century Gold Standard, lead co-editor of the Gerald Malsbary translation from Latin to English of Copernicus’s Essay on Money, is American Principles Project’s Senior Advisor, Economics.