By Kristopher Seals OP/ED
The world changed on November 8, 2016. Now, the United States will have a leader that very few people could have ever imagined in the Oval Office.
For some people, it is a tragedy of epic proportions. For others, it is a sign of change. Among the millions up at 3 am the morning after, I too was stunned by how someone who made the comments that Trump said and performed the actions that Trump did could win a U.S. Presidential Election. I vented on Twitter, and eventually turned to humor to help with the shock, using some basic photo manipulation and fusing Trump with Negan from “The Walking Dead.” One tweet was, “The GOP has gone from Ronald Reagan to Donald Negan. #MakeAmericaTakeItLikeAChamp.
Once the feelings of “What are we gonna do now?” were gone, I focused on the election from a journalistic perspective. The one thing that I personally tell people is, this election was not about Donald Trump, it was about the people willing to vote for him. This is not an indictment against those who voted for him, but rather a recognition of their power via the ballot.
In this piece, I am not going to take a position against Trump, like most people in my community are doing. Rather, I want to analyze WHY it happened, not just react to it.
Again, this is NOT an endorsement of or rally against the President-Elect, but rather an analysis of how Donald Trump was elected to arguably the most powerful post in the world. So, in no particular order, here now are several reasons as to WHY Trump pulled off the biggest upset in political history.
Fear The feeling of danger is one of humanity’s great motivators. Among the current factors of unrest in the world are refugees and terrorism. However, the biggest fear is “losing what is yours.” Here is how that works: Trump was absolutely against illegal immigration. The surface idea was that refugees were painted as possible covert terrorists. Also, legal immigrants of an Islamic background were painted with the same brush. Covert terrorism is equal to “immigrating illegally to harm Americans.” The “losing what is yours” is one’s own life in this instance. Then there is the matter of Mexican immigrants, who are coming over and committing crimes, per Trump’s campaign. The threat of life aspect again comes into play in this sense. The other issue is that Mexicans are “taking jobs” from Americans. The “losing what is yours” becomes one’s own livelihood in this instance. The mode of a Trump supporter is, “Well, if they stay where they are, you don’t have to worry about the chance of them taking a job.”
Anger The anger is a consequence of the aforementioned fear not being addressed. “We want someone who will do something!” Trump spoke to that anger, and his supporters spoke back. This lack of someone doing something was a reflection on BOTH the Democratic and Republican parties. Trump’s voters absolutely wanted no parts of a Barack Obama aligned candidate in Hillary Clinton, or the failures of the Republican Party, such as the constant votes against Obamacare that everyone knew were not going to produce anything.
Arrogance Barack Obama is one of the most important leaders in the history of the world. As the first Black President, he inspired billions. As the one who gave the “Go” to eliminate Osama Bin Laden, he claimed justice for society. However, he did have flaws. One of which was arrogance. He aligned himself with elitist groups, like Goldman Sachs. He associated with people a President should not hang with, such as Jay-Z, a drug dealer who has no remorse over the lives he ruined to get to the top. Last but certainly not least, at one of the White House Correspondents Dinners, Obama took shots at Trump, egging him on to run for President. It worked, and now Obama may be thinking, “I should have kept my mouth shut.” At times, it appeared that Obama wanted to be a celebrity. Unfortunately, there are consequences in trying to be the most popular guy in the room. This holds true for Hillary as well. She was so caught up in being the first Female President, she did not accept just how fractured her own party was. There was no recognition of the new Progressive side of the party, nor did she reach out to Main Street, like Bernie Sanders implored. She went for big business and big media, ignoring those who weren’t “big time.” The devastation experienced by Dems on Election Day was similar to that of those who supported Bernie Sanders. Her reaction was like, “Bernie gave his support to me, so get in line.” While she amassed more votes than anyone in history, this number could have easily been 65 million in the popular vote. Unfortunately for her campaign, she did not heal the rift.
Humility Like many others, when I heard the audio leak of Trump’s comments on women, I thought he was done. Trump released a video apologizing for the comments, and at the next debate, he once again said he was wrong. Scores of people, including other Republicans and even Trump’s own wife, VP running mate Mike Pence, and other members on his team denounced what he did. Naturally, the Clinton campaign and other Democrats raked Trump over the coals. However, what should have been the death knell for Trump turned into a show of the Republican candidate being humble. Sure, he tried to push the comments away with attacks on Clinton in that debate, but the display of being vulnerable presented an image of humility. This is NOT a justification of what he said, but an image sometimes makes people forget about words. Of course, the humility thing goes both ways. Hillary Clinton never gave a real apology as to what happened with Bernie Sanders being effectively disenfranchised in the election.
Locker Room (and Real) Talk Trump took a ton of flak for calling his audio leak comments, “locker room talk.” When someone asks a politically correct person, “Is what Trump said really ‘locker room talk’ among guys?” he or she will immediately say no. However, I am going to be brutally honest. Firstly, I have been in a locker room, and I have heard it. Again, I am NOT endorsing it, but I have heard it. Also, “locker room” can be taken figuratively. Have you heard most rap songs? I have heard things that make what Trump said look pedestrian at best. “But Kris. He’s running for President! He can’t say that!” 1. He wasn’t running in 2005, when that audio was taped. 2. So, if you’re not running for President, then it’s okay to say that about women? The misogyny in this country and the rest of the world goes beyond this one man. If you bash Trump, then bash your friends if they say these things as well. Trump did not create a culture of “grabbing women by the (expletive deleted).” Men, and women, have to hold respect for the opposite sex.
Trust and Distrust Short and simple, people do not trust politicians. Yes, Trump ran with the Republican Party, but he is not a traditional GOP candidate. He is more liberal than the others, and will not do what he is told. He is rebellious, and that is his true nature. Some say, “He contradicted himself many times on the campaign.” Here’s the thing, Trump has ALWAYS contradicted himself, well before he became a presidential nominee. So, when his supporters see it, then it is actually, well, not lying. Once again, I am NOT endorsing it. I am just conveying what I have seen. On the other hand, Hillary and the Republicans have a record of not being trustworthy. The laundry list of infractions from both parties is so long, there is no way you can list them in one publication.
Taken for Granted There is no doubt that the Democratic Party took this election for granted. For instance, Hillary Clinton did not even bother with a good campaign in Wisconsin, which she ultimately lost.
The System APPEARED to be Rigged With this election, the truth about the “system being rigged” is up for debate. However, the appearance of it being rigged is absolutely there. The Republicans had well over a dozen people running for President. In fact, there were so many people, only ten were allowed on stage at a time. Regardless of whomever the GOP establishment favored, there was an incredible opportunity for someone to earn the Party’s nomination. However, this was not the case for the Democrats. Only Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley got any real screen time. Then came the release of information that DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz clearly favored Clinton - whom she once campaigned for back in 2008 - and actively tried to sabotage Bernie. This made people on the fence as to voting for either party think that the Dems had already made up their minds about Hillary being the candidate, and that the Party Primary was an illusion at best to make things look legit. Therefore, it appeared to be rigged.
The Electoral College This is basically a statement of fact. When a candidate gets 270 Electoral Votes, he or she wins. However, the reason for the existence of the EC is quite alarming. Yale University Professor Akhil Reed Amar gave an analysis to Sean Illing on Vox.com, and the reason suggested was that years ago, in a popular vote, the southern states would lose out every time because slaves could not be counted. Therefore, the EC was a compromise. Yikes.
E-Mails vs. Taxes Obviously, Hillary’s emails were a huge part of this campaign, as well as Donald’s taxes. Here is the breakdown: One worst case scenario - A billionaire might have or might not have did something unethical in amassing his fortune. Money may or may not be hidden in the islands and a Swiss bank account. He did something with over $900 million in depreciation to avoid paying taxes. He wasn’t arrested because the law said that he could do that. It’s lame, but hey, life isn’t fair. Otherwise, we would all be billionaires. I won’t “lose my life” because of it. Another worst case scenario - A Secretary of State had thousands of unsecured emails. Is she making backroom deals off the record and under the table? Wait, what if some bad people got their hands on those e-mails? They could execute a terror attack! Oh no! I could die! The general perception is that a billionaire being shady with money is business as usual. However, a public official being shady with e-mails preys more on fear than the other scenario. So, there you go.
America and “Greatness” Throughout his campaign, Trump said he was going to “Make America Great Again.” Clinton, and President Obama, outright said, “America is already the greatest country in the world.” That might have been the biggest reason why Hillary lost. You see, the statement “Make America Great Again” is a slogan, and a goal. However, what Clinton and Obama said was made to stand out as fact. Here is the truth, and think of me in any way you want. America is NOT “great.” Here’s an example: The New York Jets are great…compared to the Cleveland Browns. Politicians like to compare us to lesser nations to make us appear great. The Jets do not have the worst record in the NFL like the Browns, but they darn sure don’t have the best record. You want to see “great?” I nominate the United Kingdom. They are so powerful that they told the European Union, “Get lost.” and broke away, commonly referred to as “Brexit.” Let’s call the New England Patriots the UK of the NFL. They don’t have a flawed healthcare system (regardless of how you view Obamacare, it ain’t universal healthcare. The UK, and even Cuba, have that.) They don’t have a deficit of over $19 trillion…and RISING. They don’t have over 10,000 (and that’s conservative) gun murders a year. Sure, the population is less, but compare it to the percentage of the populace. Yeah, that. So, America is not great. I am not saying this to say that’s the be-all and end-all. I am saying this so that people will see the truth, and act to fix the country. For the Jets, that would be to get a new GM, QB, and draft better. For us, that means work with each other. That way, it can be great again.
The Media This is a subset of the “rigged” system. It was absolutely overt as to the bias of the media. Based on typical perception, everyone already knew that FOX would be pro-Trump. While we may not agree with it, we know that to be “truth” as FOX always leans toward the GOP. However, the other outlets were supposed to be impartial. NBC was clearly for Hillary. This could have been exacerbated by the fight Trump had with the network over “The Apprentice” and other things. That said, the corporate NBC should NOT have slanted the media NBC in this matter. CNN was also leaning toward Clinton, as well as other networks, newspapers, and online media around the nation, and globe for that matter. People don’t like that, and it gives credence to the “Underdog” piece.
The Chicago Cubs With the Cubs winning the World Series for the first time since 1908, Satan delivered on his Faustian deal with the team and their fans. (Just kidding, but still, isn’t it ironic?)
The Underdog It is human nature to root for an underdog, and without question, Donald Trump was the biggest underdog in political history. He had the Democratic Party, much of his own Republican Party, much of the media, liberals, hard conservatives, most women, most minorities, millennials, other world leaders, and countless A-list celebrities - heck, even “The Avengers” - against him. He never backed down. The image of that was fascinating. Anyone on the fence was certainly allured by all of the previous factors I listed, especially the media one. People see the news every day, and when they get annoyed with it, they take a stance against whatever is being conveyed, which was “Don’t vote for Trump.” Therefore, when it came to people undecided, he crushed Clinton, getting the mass of that vote. That is how he took the majority of swing states, their electoral votes, and ultimately, the Presidency.
There you have it. One more thing. Give Trump some credit. He was smart enough to design a “Goldilocks” template. He was not overly conservative, which many suggested as the biggest weakness of the GOP. However, he did pick Mike Pence as his Vice President, which did cater to hardcore conservatives. Not too hot, not too cold, but just right. Hillary was one thing and one thing only, liberal, with no chance of being anything else. That “chance of being anything else” is the requisite for change, and Trump, whether you like him or not, is the poster boy for it.
Finally, some have suggested racism, bigotry, and misogyny as to why Trump won. If you want a logical reason for the inner demons of mankind, I cannot help you, for there is no logic there. I can give you advice; whatever happens with Trump’s Presidency, from the protests around the nation right now to whatever he does and beyond all of that, ask yourself this…What would Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. do?