As a lifelong Republican and a Berry Goldwater conservative when I was nine years old, I have always been politically frustrated. I grew up watching the Vietnam fiasco unfold on the evening news and knew it was a humanitarian travesty that utterly rejected life value. No American politician has sought forgiveness for throwing away 50,000 American lives for a war with no clear objective except lame attempts to reason with Communists. Even at my young age, I knew Communism couldn’t be reasoned with.
I watched Jimmy Carter get elected. I couldn’t believe it. I remember a week before an election a good friend sensing my angst put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Paul, Paul, Paul, relax, the American people may be a little stupid, but they aren’t stupid enough to elect Bill Clinton.” I didn’t believe him one bit; I knew better. Then came Barak Obama; twice. I am still amazed at how the framers of the American Constitution had it all figured out; despite Obama’s overt attempt to destroy our Republic, we were spared due to the system the framers put in place.
Now we have Donald Trump, and an election coming in about ten months, but this time, my gut tells me this will be different. Would the American people, regardless of the economic statistics etc., elect an Elizabeth Warren over Donald Trump? In the past, before Trump, I wouldn’t hesitate to say, “Absolutely, yes.” Not this time, again, my gut tells me this will be different, but why?
Looking back, if you think about it, at least in my lifetime, no Democrat has beat a Republican in a landslide. Whenever a Democrat wins, it is either by a slim or moderate victory. This, along with what Trump has exposed, has me pondering.
Trump, regardless of whether or not you would like to have a beer with him, knew something a lot of Americans knew deep down but didn’t want to admit: nether party has been representing the American people for a long time. As an international business person, he knew politicians, for the most part, are elitists who believe they are entitled to unlimited wealth coming from the labor of the little people. When he saw crony capitalism on the precipice of destroying America he intervened.
Different healthcare systems for politicians and the little people; a two-tier justice system; and guns for protecting politicians, but not for the little people. The list goes on and on. And both parties are guilty and have been guilty for a long time; the Republicans are only a little less guilty where complicit.
Two things, primarily, have made the Trump phenomenon possible: the information age and Trump’s genius. The information age has made it possible for Trump to take his message directly to the American people. Elitism’s control of information has been totally decimated. Trump is also smart enough to play politics by a totally different set of rules.
In considering all of this, I am not so sure Americans are totally stupid, but rather stayed home at election time because they sensed no real difference between Republicans and Democrats. In other words, they lost hope in the American political system. Trump, though genius, has a funny way of stating things: he said the political system is rigged; that means Republicans and Democrats have had the same basic status qua agenda for a long time, but the people understood what he was saying. At his inaugural speech, with the brunt of all American political representation sitting behind him, Trump accused all of forgetting the American people in exchange for their own interests and promised to be different. And he kept those promises.
American politicians don’t keep promises. That’s why, until now, election turnout was people wanting free stuff being led by idealists who have never worked for anything in their lives on one side, and eternal optimists on the other, and inactive political pessimism in-between.
Trump is the political savior that no one thought would ever come. The politically disenfranchised initially popped corn and watched the Republican debates purely for entertainment. At least we could watch the politicians get a few pies in their faces for all the misery they have caused us. At least we had someone we could vote for to flip the other politicians the bird. Trump was catharsis—little more. No one really thought a political messiah would come.
Then, as we all know, strange things started happening and hope temtped us. Taking back the Republican party rather then running as a third party candidate was part of Trump’s strategy. Everything was against him, yet, he has prevailed. Indeed, he is a strange character, but it is a ridiculous notion to think any normal person could pull this off.
So, are Americans basically stupid, or basically smart enough to know when voting is a waste of time? In the process of catharsis, was political hope accidently discovered? Are we dumbfounded to discover the process actually still works if we have someone crazy enough to make it work?
This time around, my gut tells me it’s the latter. Trump has exposed the whole rotten bastardizing of the intended system. I believe a vast number of people who previously lost hope and interest in the system are energized. Hope in the American political system has returned.
They were never stupid, but rather smart enough to know that voting was a waste of time. I think that is what Trump has taught me; at least I hope so.