Daniel Thwaites | The tangerine tornado
A funny-looking, foul-mouthed, reality-TV star, multibillionaire New York liberal democrat has single-handedly upended the political system in the United States. He is an 800-pound alpha-male gorilla who announced at the outset that he would win, impressed enough of the troupe with outlandish demonstrations of dominance, bullied and dismantled his competitors with devastating nicknames, then won!
It's as if King Kong, instead of swatting planes from atop the Empire State Building, was sitting safely in the midtown Manhattan Trump Tower penthouse, but then decided the last thing on his bucket list was the presidency. And he has seized it.
Born into multiple millions, he now has multiple billions. He started at the top, then went higher. His stardom allows him to grab women by the front-bottom. He says and does what he wants. His wife, naturally, is an Eastern European slinky fox who barely speaks English. What's not to hate?
Originally the butt of jokes about his presidential ambitions, last Thursday he was chilling with Obama having a civil discussion, while Melania was wondering what colour drapes she wants in the White House.
The Tangerine Tornado is taking over. World, get used to the combover! Actually, this guy's hair is a perfect metaphor for his campaign (and America, for that matter): brash, colourfully loud, more than slightly uncouth, sloppy, and bigly unforgettable. So put that beside the economic message and is it so surprising that he is now the chosen one?
How? Well, before the stunning electoral outcome, liberal democrat Michael Moore praised Trump as "the human Molotov cocktail" voters would hurl at the political Establishment. Trump told Ford executives that if they moved car production to Mexico, he would charge them a 35 per cent import tax. The executives hated him; the workers were ecstatic.
Part reason for his victory was extraordinary lucky, mainly because of the arrogance of his opponents in the media, Hollywood, academia, pollsters, and the Republican and Democratic parties.
The Clinton collapse was extraordinary. While initial electoral results were rolling in, the venerable New York Times was giving Hillary more than an 85 per cent chance of victory. But voters in Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin stayed home or switched over to Trump, putting the Electoral College out of her reach.
While I don't discount a racial component to people's decision-making, it is an undeserved calumny to simply dismiss these souls as mere rednecks. After all, they voted Obama into office. Everything shows that very many of these people disliked Trump, but disliked Hillary even more. And what of the blacks and Latinos who, again, conventional wisdom predicted would be energetically opposed to Trump, but instead gave him improved percentages over Romney or McCain?
Trump is an equal-opportunity insulter, and the tone of his campaign has alarmed a lot of people, including, unfortunately, a sizable group that delight in being alarmed. But when you strip away the hysteria, his criterion for social inclusion seems to be "citizenship". If you're a citizen, you count; if you're not, you don't. That approach violates some sacred tenets of Democratic liberal internationalism and Republican free-market veneration, and it has earned him the enmity of those who cling to those creeds. Being Catholic, I don't think of it as an ideal way of classifying people, but you can imagine its intuitive appeal to those who feel their government has consistently sold them out.
The key to what has unfolded, I think, is in the Democratic Party's confusion on bread-and-butter economics and its obsession with identity politics grievances. The secular ideology of social engineering that is now the preferred religion of the coastal elite is alien to the average voter. The liberal elite struggling to explain the Trump phenomenon need to take a hard look in the mirror.
Among the most incisive analyses of the election results appeared in the Washington Post, under the pen of Fordham University's Charles Camosy:
"The most important divide in this election was not between whites and non-whites. It was between those who are often referred to as 'educated' voters and those who are described as 'working class' voters."
He points to the monolithic and insular culture perpetuated by the universities, teaching their students to see the working class as uninformed and stupid. While obsessively non-judgemental about surface-level 'diversity', they're actually clueless and themselves dangerously ignorant about people who really hold alternative values and norms.
In short, Democrats have abandoned the concerns of working families to purse the phantasms and windmills of cultural Marxism, which is why their indoctrinated students are staging cry-ins while their moronic professors cancel classes to mourn.
Democratic self-superiority and hubris peaked with the Democratic National Committee's decision that it was Hillary's turn to be foisted on to the public despite her deep unpopularity. As WikiLeaks revealed, the DNC corruptly locked out Bernie Sanders, even to the point of acquiring and sharing primary debate questions with Hillary beforehand. And remember, Hillary had never before faced the polls, except in the Democratic garrison of New York, when everyone knows that to win the presidency you have to capture swing voters in swing states.
Which genius, then, decided it was wise to run the wife of the man most closely identified with the devastation of NAFTA when you had to win the rust-belt states? Are we to blame the voters there because they didn't simply forget their demotion from the middle class? Or ought we to look to the party that abandoned them?
The silver lining to this cloud is that Trump overturned the Republicans as well. In the beginning, they laughed at his candidacy. It was common knowledge that it would go for a while, increase his television ratings, then evaporate from whence it came. As he systematically destroyed each opponent and roared ahead in the polls, derision turned to anger, and anger soon evolved into panic. Along the way there were resounding and unforgettable denunciations that, depending on the Republican jeremiah, he wasn't really a social conservative or, actually, even an economic one.
The hope now is that they were right, and that he turns out to be pragmatist. The conciliatory tone of his first few public appearances as president-elect points in that direction. But who knows? The "human Molotov cocktail" could explode.
- Daniel Thwaites is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.