About eighteen months ago, a billionaire real estate mogul, television personality, political neophyte and ultimate outsider completed a hostile takeover of the U.S. Republican Party a.k.a. Grand Old Party (GOP), leaving insiders wondering – how did we get here?
Meanwhile, before then, Republican discontent and dissent with its base had reared its heads but no Republican was looking, listening or cared.
After Mormon Church member, Mitt Romney (R) failed to beat Barack Obama in 2012, a chastened GOP arrived pretty quickly at the answer to their electability problem. They discovered or realised that they were the party of old, angry white men, and in a much-heralded Washington DC press conference in March 2013, senior GOP officials released an “autopsy report” concluding that to win back the White House, the GOP needed to appeal to the following demographics:
Viz: young voters (i.e. Millenials) also known as Generation Y, Generation Me and Echo Boomers, the demographic cohort following Generation X; women and minorities, including African Americans, Asians, Hispanics and Latinos – with special emphasis to the Hispanics and the Latinos.
Rise of Trumpism
Three years after the so-called GOP’s “autopsy report” Donald Trump, who is historically unpopular among every one of those demographics, is the frontrunner for the party’s nomination. How did the Republican party get here? That was the question. As Trump was then on the verge of completing a hostile takeover of one of the two major parties in America, top Republican consultant John Brabender said in exasperation: “Everybody may have a small piece of the answer, but I’m not sure if anyone has the answer.”
Photo: Trump Supporters (Trumpets) listen as Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Wisconsin | 5th April, 2016 | Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images.
Republicans in the congressional leadership had also totally ignored the signs of discontent in the party’s base which existed within a stressful economic clime. The tempest whipping up dissent was growing including the not-so-noticed populist unrest which was also growing. But the increase in populist unrest within the Republican base isn’t the only reason for Donald Trump’s rise.
So, in a stressful economic clime, within that time, Trump emerged as “a candidate of grievances” and managed to slip through the many pitfalls and traps laid for outsider candidates in the Republican primary process.
The rules were specifically designed to aid an establishment candidate like Jeb Bush of the Bush political dynasty in 2016, but without the fundraising and political infrastructure normally required for a successful candidate, Trump’s celebrity managed to overcome all obstacles. In fact, some of the changes, like the front-loading of earlier primary contests rebounded to Trump’s benefit in an uncanny way, as the front runner surreptitiously escaped prolonged scrutiny of political gaffes due to the constant churn of election nights.
During Trump’s campaigns, his behavior and rhetoric were equated with racism, Hitlerism, Mussolinism, etc. But if it was a provocative analogy, it was not a lonely one. Trump’s campaign had started to engender impassioned debate about the nature of his appeal and warnings from critics on the left and the right about the potential rise of fascism in the United States. More strident opponents likened Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
To Trump supporters, such comparisons are unfair smear tactics used to tar conservatives and scare voters. For a bipartisan establishment whose foundation had been shaken by Trump’s ascendance, these backers say, it is easier to delegitimize his support than to acknowledge widespread popular anger at the failure of both political parties in the United States to confront America’s many challenges.
Photo: Trump Operational HQ in New York City, where he appeared and made his victory speech to America | November 8, 2016.
When he took a ride on his gold-rimmed elevator in Trump Towers (with his wife Melanie Trump) to go to a hall to declare his intention to run for the White House, Donald Trump said among other things that he will build a wall. President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico criticized Trump’s plans to build a wall on the border and to bar Muslims from entering the United States.
“That’s the way Mussolini arrived and the way Hitler arrived,” he said. The actor George Clooney called Mr. Trump “a xenophobic fascist.” Louis C. K., the comic, said, “The guy is Hitler.” Eva Schloss, the 87-year-old stepsister of Anne Frank, said Trump “is acting like another Hitler by inciting racism.” It got to the point that his wife, Melania Trump, was prompted to say, “He’s not Hitler.”
Photo: L-R: Nazi Germany dictator Adolf Hitler & Fascist Italy dictator Benito Mussolini. Some opponents likened Donald J. Trump to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini; supporters call that a smear tactic | Credit: Associated Press.
The GOP candidate canvassed for votes from the nooks and crannies, suburbs, towns, red and blue states, the sun belt and rust belt of America – asking Americans, Republicans, Democrats and independents to vote for him – telling African Americans or Black America – especially the residents of drug-infested projects, broken and crime-infested black neighborhoods and forbidden inner cities such as those in Chicago to vote for him. Trump told African Americans: “what do you have to lose?” – vote for him, he pleaded. He generated huge crowds, some reaching the 25,000-0,000 highs and berated the ‘liberal and corrupt mainstream media’ for not showing his huge crowds to Americans.
Trump’s populist image, message and personality grew – and grew – and started scaring many Americans. Trump had generated a home-grown populism. America was aghast! Trump’s huge and fiercely loyal supporters were ready to follow him despite his ‘2005 Access Hollywood’ hot mic scandal where he made lewd talk about women: “. . . grab them by the p***y . . .” locker room banter as he claimed. The Clinton machine took advantage of Trump’s sexual innuendos and campaign ads of the ‘2005 Access Hollywood’ hot mic scandal hit the airwaves of America. His poll numbers started dropping and his many foes said he was finished. They did not count on Trump’s supporters, his Trumpets who forgave him and also forgave him after the dozen or so women came out from the wood works to accuse the Apprentice star of groping them and touching their private parts – years ago.
Trump’s loyal supporters or “Trumpets” were unperturbed by all the ‘distractions’ and attended his massive political rallies in unending lines and huge crowds to hear their leader speak, heckle, harangue, threaten and lambaste his political foes and any obstacle to his journey to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC., so close to his newly opened Trump International Hotel a few blocks away from the White House.
Draining the swamp
The rest is history as Donald J. Trump and Hilary Rodham Clinton clashed on the political stage in God’s Own Country. Trump said in his very well-attended rallies that he was going to Washington DC, to “drain the swamp”. American voters repudiated their country’s ruling elites – in Washington, both major parties, the economic and foreign policy establishments, the media and on Wall Street – as they chose Donald Trump to be the 45th president of the United States in one of the biggest political upsets in U.S. history.
Claiming victory, Trump told a rally in New York early Wednesday morning that it’s now time to “bind the wounds of division” and promised an era of “national renewal.” He said defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton had phoned him to concede and congratulate him, and praised her because she “fought very hard.”
He added: “We owe her a major debt of gratitude” for her many years of public service. As of early Wednesday, Trump, the Republican nominee, had won 48 percent of the popular vote to Clinton’s 47 percent, according to CNN. He had won at least 289 electoral votes to Clinton’s 218, with 270 needed for victory and some contests yet to be decided.
Trump, 70, a billionaire real estate developer from New York who has never held elected office, defied expectations and won the traditional battlegrounds of Florida, North Carolina and Ohio. He also took Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – states that had been expected to go Democratic or blue, not Republican or red. Trump held Republican regions such as the South and rural areas across America. He rolled up huge majorities among white voters, while the big liberal cities and major states of New York and California went to Clinton. She also did well among minority voters and women, but not well enough to overcome Trump’s leads elsewhere.
The vote confounded pollsters, experts, pundits and conventional politicians who had predicted Clinton would win a solid victory. Trump’s triumph seemed based on an overwhelming sense in Middle America, the white working class and rural America that the nation’s leaders had abandoned them, failed to understand their economic plight, neglected their problems and disrespected their lifestyles and their values.
As Donald Trump inched closer to the White House on Tuesday night, Democratic commentator and former Obama administration staffer Van Jones offered an emotional analysis of what a potential Trump victory would mean for many parents in America.
Trump white-lashed America
Referring to Trump’s campaign Jones said it was “a rebellion against the elites” as well as “a complete reinvention of politics and polls.” But, he insisted, it’s impossible to talk about this election without acknowledging the role race played in it. “This was a white-lash,” he said. “This was a white-lash against a changing country. It was a white-lash against a black president in part, and that’s the part where the pain comes.”
I agreed with Jones that it was a white-lash – but not against a black president but, in part, against a growing population demographics skewed against the whites – occasioned by wide-open borders unchecked as illegal immigrants, especially from Mexico and other places streamed across America’s borders with alacrity.
Trump’s American Brexit
“A Donald Trump presidency is not the liberals’ biggest nightmare . . . It’s a successful Trump presidency,” Niall Ferguson, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, said Monday. In his travels, he has found the Chinese to be supportive of a Trump presidency, saying they believe his campaign rhetoric promising to crack down on China is mostly a bluff. His “bromance” with Russian President Vladimir Putin is another X factor, which could possibly give him some credibility with voters here in the states if he is, in fact, able to strike a deal with Russia on Syria , he said.
Ferguson said this election brings back vivid memories of Brexit, where there were huge differentials in voter turnout. Trump’s base of older, white, male and “less well-educated” voters single-handedly changed the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, he said. The whole American political establishment – Republican or Democratic, Liberal or Independent – were against Donald Trump. Even world leaders, then British Prime Minister, the French President and even the Pope berated and sometimes insulted him. Nonetheless, Trump always fired back. You’re fired he used to bellow on the Apprentice during its more than eight-year run in the United States.
Republican (GOP) candidate Donald J. Trump has been elected as the 45th President of the United States of America after defeating Democratic (DEM) candidate Hilary Clintoni and nobody can do anything about it. Mrs. Melanie Trump is the new American First Lady, Donald Trump Jr. is the new First Son and Ivanka Trump is the new First Daughter. U.S. President Barack Obama invited U.S. President-elect Donald J. Trump on Thursday Nov 10, 2016 to come to the White House so they can both fast-track the transition from one U.S. Presidency to another – effortlessly.
Electoral Map: GOP states are red & DEM states are blue | Donald Trump (GOP) defeated Hilary Clinton (DEM) | 2016 U.S. Presidential Election of Donald J. Trump.
As for me, I saw Donald J. Trump’s rise to the Presidency of the United States of America as a given – considering the globalism or globalization of Americanism, Americana gone wild, carelessly open borders, especially on the controversial U.S.-Mexican border, proliferation of illegal immigrants, mindless migrations inward, jobs going overseas to Mexico, China etc, and the decades of neglect and the accompanying discontent in the countryside, neighborhoods, localities, the sun belt and rust belt of America. I saw Trumpism coming!
This is Trump’s America.
By Nnamdi Ebo | Political scientist | Author | U.S. Politics analyst