Since he announced his candidacy for president last year, Donald Trump’s rise to the top of the Republican presidential contest has baffled the political pundits, so-called experts and career politicians.

While Trump routinely fills rooms with 10,000 people waiting in long lines to hear him speak, the political analysts and reporters continue to ridicule his campaign and his supporters, and pontificate about the eventual demise of his quest for the White House.

What these so-called experts don’t seem to understand is that, despite his bombastic delivery, Trump’s message has given a voice to millions of Americans who are fed up with Washington and disgusted with the continued failures of career politicians running this country.

His speeches and campaign themes are not poll-tested messages and carefully scripted words; instead, Trump speaks to everyday Americans in a way we all understand. With many voters rightfully believing they’ve been lied to by both political parties over the years, Americans are seeing Trump’s message as authentic.

I hope we can recognize that many hard-working Americans who support Trump see the American dream slipping away and a federal government that thinks it knows better than the people it represents. They see a Washington where they believe career politicians do nothing to solve the nation’s problems and only use their office to get ahead or run for the next office. For many of these Americans, Trump has given them a microphone and an opportunity to have their voices and frustrations be heard.

I share that frustration. Like Trump, I am not a career politician, but instead I spent my career growing my family business and raising my kids in southeast Michigan. Prior to coming to Congress, I had never held elected office, but I was so irritated with what has been happening in Washington that I decided to get in the mix. And after one year in office, it’s clear to me that Washington and the federal government are just as dysfunctional and just as paralyzed as I feared.

I believe we can all agree that the American people want change. Many voters thought they had found that in 2008 when they elected Barack Obama to the White House. But now, it’s painfully evident that very little has changed — the national debt continues to grow, American factories and shops continue to close, our borders are not secure, and the same partisan, special-interest mindset controls Washington. Many voters believe that if they elect another career politician or Washington insider, they will get nothing but more of the same.

One of the cornerstones of Trump’s campaign message is a simple notion that many, many people believe: “Our politicians are stupid.” And whether you are Democrat, Republican, or independent, I believe you might just agree with that statement.

So instead of lambasting Trump’s campaign and his supporters, I hope we as Americans can listen to fellow citizens who see a nation in need of a dramatically new direction and recognize his unorthodox campaign is good for democracy. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Trump, and no matter what anyone thinks of his policies, I believe he loves this country.

In the next few weeks, we will see if new voters and new energy will turn into electoral success for Trump. Whether he wins or loses early states or the nomination itself, Trump has brought the voices of many Americans back into the political process and our nation will be better off because of it.

Rep. Dave Trott is a Republican from Birmingham.

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