While everyone else at the Daily Show thought Donald Trump’s bid for the Republican nomination would be done before you could even say “caucus,” the intrepid host, Trevor Noah, saw things differently. “When he was first running I told people I can see why Donald Trump is popular,” Noah told the audience during the PaleyFest Daily Show with Trevor Noah panel on Thursday evening. Noah didn’t foresee Trump’s rise in the polls because of United States history, however, but from drawing from the political climate he saw frequently growing up in South Africa:
The first thing I noticed in Trump was he, whether you like it or not, possesses charisma. He has the charisma of a car crash, you don’t like it, but you can’t stop looking at it. And he engages with people. He reminds me of a stand-up comedian most of the time, and most dictators — most African dictators — possess that trait. Like if you watch The Last King of Scotland or if you go to real life dictators from Obate all the way through Africa, these men were all very charismatic, and they still are!
Still, Noah did not trust his political instincts, saying that he told himself, “I’m being the stupid person for a third world country.” Noah claimed though that the outsiders perspective allowed him to see beyond the party lines that most Americans are saddled with staying in. He explains that he understood the appeal of Trump in the same way that most dictators gain power:
The people believe in [dictators] and they tap into a fear and desperation that people possess, and they have answers. That’s the biggest thing, they have answers and the answers are absolute. From the first time I saw Trump I thought, ‘This guy has a plan.’ He didn’t waffle. He didn’t say “I think”— because he doesn’t — he came out and said, “this is what we’re going to do, this is where we’re going to go, and I’m done.” There was no nuance. Most politicians have to skirt the line … Trump didn’t do that. He came out, simple words, straight to the point: “Mexicans, rapists, war, Mexicans, bad, wall, boom, thank you folks.” And I was like, “That guy I can see why people would vote for him.” Because half the time politicians forget that they’re talking to the people, instead they’re speaking to the people writing the articles.