By Mark BolewskiIn a year marked by rising populism and an increasingly authoritarian style in Washington, Donald Trump has cemented his position as the most important presidential candidate since the 1930s.
And he’s also tapped the kind of savvy soft power that helps to shore up a country that is increasingly divided between the haves and have-nots.
His hard-edged talk, his willingness to embrace a hardline approach to foreign policy, his insistence on the need for American troops on the ground in Syria and Iraq, and his embrace of a muscular, isolationist foreign policy have all helped him secure a majority of Republican support and the presidency.
And they have given Trump a boost in his bid for the White House.
“I’ve always believed that the hard-liners, the people who are in favor of isolationism, the ones who are opposed to our allies, the one thing they don’t like about us is that we are the most powerful country in the world,” Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Monday.
“And they’re not very happy about that.”
Trump, who has a reputation for pushing the envelope on issues of race and policy, was able to rally the conservative base, a key constituency for Republicans in the 2016 election.
In the primaries, Trump led Cruz, a former Texas congressman and son of Mexican immigrants, in several states with primary voting that included Florida, where Trump was in second place.
In some states, he even won.
Trump also won the support of the Tea Party, a movement that was born after the Supreme Court ruling that opened the door to same-sex marriage in 2015 and has grown into an influential voice in the Republican Party.
In a rare moment of unity, Trump spoke about his own personal struggle with mental illness, and he made a rare concession to Democrats.
In response to criticism that he was trying to appease his supporters by taking a more soft-line approach on immigration, Trump said that his policy views are a combination of hard and soft.
“Look, I’m not anti-immigration,” Trump told the Journal.
“But I’m also not for amnesty.
I’m for the tough, tough approach.”
In his interview with The Wall Street News, Trump also said he has no plans to change his approach to fighting Islamic State.
“I’m not going to change my mind on ISIS, I have no change of mind on that.
I don’t have to change it,” he said.
“It’s not going away.”
The president’s soft power is key in a country in which most people do not like the idea of an outsider, who might not be popular with them.
Trump has been a popular figure with the party’s voters, but the president has yet to be able to convince many Republicans that he has their interests at heart.
The president has not been shy about attacking his critics and his opponents, often calling them names such as “crooked Hillary” and “Crooked Joe.”
Trump has been more careful than other Republican candidates in his use of Twitter, where he often makes jokes about himself and other people, including members of his own party.
The president has also been criticized for retweeting a picture of himself wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat that had the words “Praise be to President Donald J. Trump.”
“I will be the greatest jobs president the United States of America has ever known,” he wrote on the tweet.
The picture has since been taken down.
“The President is not afraid to speak his mind, he is not scared to disagree with the people of this country, he has the guts to fight back, and I applaud his courage,” the Journal said.