Rolling Out

The rise of Donald Trump

Photo credit: Andrew Cline/
Photo credit: Andrew Cline/

A new America was born the evening of Nov. 4, 2008, when Senator Barack Obama won the presidential election. That evening changed the American political narrative to the degree that history books should use B.O. and A.O. to designate all presidential elections as being before or after Obama. His election was celebrated by many and mourned by others. The mourners viewed that evening as the death of their America. They cast themselves as the oppressed in the land of their forefathers. From the nooks and crannies of right-wing radio, television news and websites, the unrelenting message went forth that being White, Christian and traditional was under siege in America. The goal of those wearing sackcloth and ashes is to resurrect their America by any means necessary. They have placed their hope for a resurrected America in the hands of Donald Trump.

The mainstream media has not grasped why conservative America has selected Trump as their champion. In the eyes of conservative America, he represents a complete rejection of President Obama. This rejection has nothing to do with Mr. Trump’s differing policy positions; it is who they perceive candidate Trump to be in comparison to President Obama. They see Trump as the take no prisoners, brash cowboy who gets things done through the power of his will. For those who truly believe their America is dead, Trump embodies everything necessary to repair the supposed damage done by President Obama and those of his ilk.

While conservative America has rallied around Trump, the Republican establishment has not. The Republican establishment believes that Mr. Trump is an unelectable loose cannon. They are at a loss to understand why conservative America has chosen Trump instead of one of their fair-haired sons. There is a simple answer. During President Obama’s six and a half years in office, the Republicans have obstructed him at every turn while pandering to the worst fears of the far right. And despite the best efforts of Republican opposition, marriage equality and the Affordable Care Act became laws of the land under President Obama. Conservative America’s disillusionment with the Republican establishment’s ineffective governing nearly equals their distrust and hatred for President Obama. In other words, the Republican establishment tilled the soil that allowed the campaign of Mr. Trump to be as successful as it has been thus far.

There are Americans who believe that Nov. 4, 2008, was the culmination of atheists, Blacks, women and gays’ effort to take over America. They believe that America is in need of a savior — preferably one who is White, Christian, heterosexual and male — to resurrect their America. This type of mentality creates an American political atmosphere conducive for demagoguery, but the demagogue they seek does not exist. Even though Mr. Trump is brash and bombastic, he is also a very well-educated, well-traveled, socially aware billionaire businessman. Neither Trump nor any other Republican presidential candidate will be able to return America to Nov. 3, 2008. All those mourning the death of America because of President Obama’s election will have to continue to express their anger and grief though social media because no president will do their bidding.

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