“First they ignore you
Then they laugh at you
Then they fight you
And then you win”
That’s what happened to Donald Trump. When he first said he would run, they more or less went from ignoring him to laughing at the thought. When he faced 16 or so other contestants, we were told he was going nowhere. In fact even when it was clear he was going somewhere they said he wouldn’t reach the magic number of delegates required. They even suggested taking victory off him by force through a brokered convention if he won. Then he won. He became the Republican nominee. That’s when they started to fight him; in fact to “dirty-fight” him.
The sheer desperation of his opponents said something. Suddenly even normally balanced mainstream media, lost its balance. This time though, giving the dog a bad name was not enough to hang it. The “infamous polls” were referred to daily. Madam President to be was ahead and on track to blazing a trail. They confused what was happening with what they wished for. They could see nothing but a Hilary Clinton win.
The truth though was more complex. It was time for change; not just any ordinary old change. Ordinary old change comes when a party has served 2 terms. Usually, that is considered enough. To go beyond two terms, you must be doing something spectacular that betters people’s lives in a significant way. Yes President Obama had brought the US economy back from the brink. Now how inspiring is that? Don’t get me wrong. It must have taken some doing but is that really a strong enough argument to give the Democrats a further mandate after he had served two terms? Obama’s achievements are too often confined to the fact that he brought the US back from the brink. It is a soft case. It’s like choosing the slogan, STRONGER TOGETHER. It is bland. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. Yes, that’s more like it. The electorate was in search of fundamental change. Something different from the usual candidates that both parties offer.
The American electorate is very interesting. They chose a 40 something year old young black senator in 2008 (in fact that was when Hilary should have run for President. Barack Obama got in her way) and eight years later they chose a 70 year old public figure and real estate tycoon with no experience in politics. If that’s not evidence of looking for change, I don’t know what is.
Before I proceed any further I must emphasize that none of my views here should be construed as being in support of the behavior and comments of Mr. Trump and the bigotry he put on display.
Now let me tell you what I love about the Trump fairytale: it’s the outsider status. This is a President who has never held elective office. He has no experience in politics. I like that. The country is too important to be left to politicians. The idea that the only way to serve is to have come through the party apparatus and have served in some capacity or the other in government before is unnecessarily exclusive. Parties have no monopoly over good people who can make a country better. Outsiders may hold the trump card (no pun intended) and should not be discounted.
We must be willing to try out new things. Just like the Americans have done. They have voted for Donald Trump, the outsider. They are tired of the Washington political establishment and business as usual. Hilary Clinton didn’t help. Nobody better represents the Washington political establishment – People who have made a life long career in government and who hold power and authority in a nation.
The political elite in the Republican Party must themselves be trying to adjust to this change. President Trump may not be the best person to bring it about, but the fact is that they have blazed a trail, by giving the country it’s first President who is not a politician and party animal. In many ways, he is an independent candidate.
I hope our political parties will also look outside their parties for good candidates who can not only win them an election, but than can also win them a third term because of the progress they would have made possible.
Something tells me, Americans will be rewarded. I have watched Trumps initial appointments. They are sound. Vice President Pence is your traditional Governor politician who espouses conservative values that are true to Republican dogma. And he’s cool. Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, is just a sweet man with an air of modesty and competence. The type who will get along with everyone including the Presidents opponents. And there are many within the party itself. Remember, Trump is an outsider. I suspect President elect Trump is one of those men of many parts. As a candidate, much of his negative traits have been on display. However I have a sneaky feeling that as President, we will see much more of the positive. When the anti Trump media bias was at its worst, it almost bordered on scare mongering. We were made to think the markets would collapse and things would take a turn for the worse. In reality the markets have hit an all time high, suggesting confidence in the businessman turned President. His trillion dollar plan to revamp old and build new infrastructure is transformational as is his friendship with Russia. His more nasty plans that scare people are likely to be toned down. I think he knows that. If he doesn’t, he will pay the price. For now though he’s proved that when it is time for change, even character assassination does not work because people recognize that there is something more fundamental at hand.
President Obama scoffed at the chances of Donald Trump ever becoming President. In a manner not unlike that of the political elite, he even said rather sneeringly that the business of government was not like running a television show. Well, the Apprentice is now the President. In the end, President Barack Obama will have to explain how he managed to get succeeded by President Trump. I suspect he will take part of the blame because his victory in 2008 raised many expectations that were left unmet big time.
This article is also available online at davidampofo.com
The writer is an award winning journalist and former Host of the TV Show Time with David.