And we thought the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series was historic.
In a massive FU to the ruling class that bailed out Wall Street then sold out Main Street, the American people elected boorish billionaire and reality TV star Donald J. Trump as its 45th president yesterday. It was a stunning rebuke not only to his Democratic challenger and status quo candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, but to the current President Barack Obama, and the Republican Party hierarchy as well.
Not since Old Hickory, Andy Jackson, rode into Washington from Nashville in 1829 has such a pure populist insurgent been handed the reins of power by the American electorate. But even Jackson had a record of military and political service. Trump is the first man elected to the nation’s highest office as a complete novice, with no military or political experience of any kind in his CV.
Never once ahead in the polls in the election run up, Trump’s shocking victory and Clinton’s perilous fall announced to the world that a powerful anti-establishment, anti-elite, anti-immigrant movement had arrayed itself behind the Trump banner. And while this movement is coming FROM the people, it is also true that it is not really OF the people, as Trump is no more one of the people than Mitt Romney was. Never has been, never will be.
But in the absence of an acceptable choice from the Dems, Trump wielded his “Make America Great Again” slogan like a conjurer’s stone until even true blue states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin succumbed to the fever dream offered by the New York real estate tycoon.
And it didn’t matter that Trump has never once experienced the kind of difficulties that led millions of people to throw in with him. He was no American Lech Walesa, the electrician who co-founded Poland’s Solidarity Movement and led a workers’ strike in the shipyards of Gdansk in 1981 that began the dismantling of Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.
But in the absence of a person who comes directly from the ranks of the disenfranchised, Donald Trump’s populist message and bombastic braggadocio was seized upon as the imperfect vessel to hold the frustrations and hopes of this country’s under-served, and non-represented.
A pillage and burn message and Trump’s bare knuckles style were enough to KO the 16 other candidates he faced in the Republican King-of-the-Ring primary, and then to coalesce much more than the far-right WWE ‘merican (sic) base in the general election.
As the campaign extended no insult or error, no lack of couth, knowledge, or accusation of sexual predation could derail him. Truly, Trump had become the Teflon Don. The voter’s message was crystal clear: It was too late for that kind of truth. Being unqualified was no longer a disqualifier. The break between the ruling class and the ruled had turned as toxic as the water in Flint, Michigan. This was a Braveheart moment; faces had been painted and voting handles seized.
With the American middle class hollowed out, and jobs racing offshore like a rip tide, a “pox on both their houses, I don’t care what the cost is” mentality was reached. “I’ll take the ride with Captain Don,” they said, “even knowing it will be wild, and not all will come through it unscathed. But we’ll do it just the same just to get away from this old rotted mooring of business-as-usual.”
You could hear a reflexive “So what” attitude being mounted in response to the 2005 Access Hollywood video of Trump crudely objectifying women. And it’s not because his supporters dismiss that kind of behavior or approve of it. They have wives and mothers, daughters and sisters. They know he’s an a-hole. But they had come too far, and after finally hearing in his voice an echo of their own, he was THIS close to being in a position to attempt what they have been saying needs to be done for years, which is throw the bums out.
They were not going to back away from him even if a 100 women came forward with allegations of inappropriate behavior. And they were determined to stand even more firmly, because the political insiders and mainstream media pulled out all the stops trying to protect their own candidate who, in her own way, was severely compromised as well, and promised nothing but more of the same. The Wikileaks speech notes from her paid talks to the Wall Street bankers showed as much.
So if not Trump to lead this expedition now – when they were so close to the summit – when would their next political Sherpa come around? In that sense, the movement had come too far, and they couldn’t, wouldn’t stop regardless of the gutter-mouth traits of their champion.
Yes, he is someone to attend closely. Yes, he will require minding and even create some held-nose moments. But they had made up their minds. There was no four years ahead, and there is no bottom. Only now, and now we push. Trump Today! Hillary never! He of the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan, if you can wrap your head around that.
But remember what Trump supporter Newt Gingrich said of his main man: “there’s a big Donald Trump and a little Donald Trump, and the little Donald Trump is pathetic and makes no sense.”
Well, today there’s a third Donald Trump. Just call him Mr. President-elect, and caveat emptor to us all. Forward into the unknown.