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Trump and the 'wussification' of America

Sure, there will be 11 candidates on stage in the main GOP debate. But millions of people around the country will be tuned in specifically to see one man: Donald Trump.

Donald Trump
Lucas Jackson | Reuters
Donald Trump

Much like Ronald Reagan's success was ultimately ignited by the abysmal term of Jimmy Carter, The Donald's momentum is as much a product of timing as it is of him himself. Had he entered the race in 2008 or 2012, he would likely not have had the same impact.

Tune in to CNBC's "Closing Bell" at 4pm ET Wednesday, Sept. 16. Carol Roth will be a guest for the hour.

However, in 2015, Americans have fully tired of the political establishment, an overly politically correct culture and the overall "wussification" of America in the international landscape. They are rejecting the government establishment where politicians and their cronies get rich, while the average American just gets by. They are rejecting career politicians trotted out by two parties that give but a mere illusion of choice and democracy. And Donald Trump is the face of this quiet, new American Revolution.

The political pundits will try to break down the debate and hone in on everything Trump says to point out what phrase or behavior will stop the Trump popularity train. And whatever they will say will be wrong because they, just like the political establishment, don't get it. They are part of the problem — not understanding that Americans are entirely fed up with politics as usual and that Donald Trump is the face of what they want America to be.

Let's be clear: There is next to nothing that Trump can say at this point that will stop his momentum. The specifics of his policies matter little. He can insult just about anyone — perhaps even their own mothers — and his supporters will remain committed. This is because Trump has become a symbol of something bigger than just himself. Moreover, what he stands for is more important than any potential negative that he may be associated with — even ones that would normally hurt another candidate.

Anyone who doesn't understand this and tries to use it as a political tactic will only bolster Trump's popularity. Club for Growth's misstep this week in announcing that they're launching attack ads perfectly illustrates how the political elite in their bubble, and with a limited sphere of interaction, really are quite far removed from the average American and what he or she wants. Trying to attack Trump using traditional political establishment tactics will only serve to make Trump more appealing — and Club for Growth less so — not to mention, as some Twitter folks pointed out, give Trump more free air time.

There are many people who will vote for Trump because he is willing to say unpopular things forcefully. There are others who will vote for him because of his business successes. There are some that will be swayed by his stance that he "can't be bought" like a traditional politician, his dedication to veterans or his hardline on immigration. And there are many more that will vote for him as a vote against the status quo, believing that the only way to "Make America Great Again" is to shake up Washington with someone who stands for everything that the current political establishment is not.


Americans may not be at a point of picking up arms to overthrow the government, but they are at a point of voting for a candidate that can at least shake it up. And for them, the only candidate that can do that is Donald Trump.


Commentary by Carol Roth, a "recovering" investment banker (corporate finance), entrepreneur/small-business owner, investor and author of "The Entrepreneur Equation." Follow her on Twitter @CarolJSRoth.