#StopTrump is the easy, liberal consensus. And it's not good enough

It is neither intelligent nor helpful to say "we must stop Trump". Instead lets ask why so many support him.Reuters

President Trump. It is happening. Or rather, it may happen. And that is bad.

That seems to summarise the majority of some recent rather banal political commentary surrounding the Republican frontrunner. A host of publications have run pieces which essentially explain Donald Trump is doing surprisingly well in the polls and what a dangerous thing that is.

The problem is, for anyone who even vaguely follows politics or American current affairs, we knew that more than six months ago.

This week's Economist ran the revolutionary leader, "Donald Trump is unfit to lead a great political party". Similarly The Washington Post published an article with the headline 'Donald Trump isn't funny any more, and we all have to stop him.' Again The Telegraph has a piece, 'Can anyone stop Donald Trump?' and over 8,000 have liked the 'Stop Donald Trump' Facebook page. 

In essence these arguments draw out some of the absurd comments made by the billionaire New Yorker and says how bad they are. That is not hard to do. A quick Google search highlights some of the Trump-classics that have become familiar: Mexicans are rapists, torture is brilliant, water-boarding is too soft, Muslims should be banned from America and walls are the future.

It is not novel to say this man is totally incapable of becoming the leader of the free world. But surely we can think of something more interesting to say than that.

A far more poignant discussion is why so many people are voting for him. A RealClear Politics average across the polls has Trump 13 points clear of Ted Cruz and 17 points clear of Marco Rubio. All this goes to show that a lot of people support Donald J Trump. As in a lot. Thousands and thousands have turned out to support his campaign to "make America great again".

From the cosy liberal consensus of the UK it is easy to dismiss these supporters as red-neck loons not to be taken seriously. But the figures bely a different, rather more uncomfortable reality. 

Sheer numbers demonstrate that a majority of Trump supporters will be compassionate, honourable, thoughtful people. The scale of his support means among them will be people who if you met them in the street you would consider perfectly pleasant. They will be teachers, doctors, preachers and (largely) upstanding members of American society.

So what makes these respectable people vote for an abhorrent man like Trump?

The answer to that lies in the strength of non-political feeling that runs throughout the US. The same thing can be seen to a lesser extent on the other end of the political spectrum in Bernie Sanders. An atheist and a socialist, he is defying all the "rules" of American politics to put up a reasonable, if not spectacular, challenge to the establishment choice of Hillary Clinton.

Such is the fear and dissatisfaction among Americans that perfectly pleasant people feel their only option is to vote for a populist such as Trump. People are not stupid, they are frustrated.

He alone offers assurance and comfort. He alone gives thoroughly disillusioned people hope. He alone manages to offer solutions to base concerns such as security and prosperity.

Some real soul-searching among American politicians needs to be done to understand how we have arrived at this stage. Why do people feel so disillusioned? Why are people so fearful? What are the mistakes of the past that have landed us at this point?

The uncomfortable reality of democracy is that people don't vote as they are "supposed to". They vote how they want to. It is not that people are conned into voting for Trump. They want to. So we can't just say Donald Trump must be stopped. We need to go further and look at why the mainstream political debate has failed and be honest about mistakes.

What drives good, normal people to do this?

We would do well to begin answering this questions and in that lies the answer to stopping Donald J Trump, or any future reincarnation, from ever getting close to the American presidency.