Donald J. Trump pulls the Hat Trick


trump-hat-trickCongratulations to Donald J. Trump for garnering the most electoral votes on November 8, 2016.  The feat makes him President-Elect and his inauguration is set for Friday, January 20, 2017.   Trump was able to defeat 19 candidates in the GOP primary, although it must be noted two dropped out before the official campaign started, so for the sake of argument some will say it was 17.  What many assumed was a fluke proved an interesting recipe for Trump as he dismantled his opposition and in doing so disrupted the GOP establishment.  Left as the last candidate standing in the GOP field, Trump pulled the HAT TRICK defeating his politically seasoned Democratic opponent; Hillary Clinton.  Although she did prevail with the most popular votes, Trump was able to nab the more important majority in the Electoral College votes.

Another important tenent of Donald Trump, his supporters and most of all his surrogates who represented him on various media outlets was taking a “blood oath” they make their own facts.   Time after time he and his crew would make up information and portend it to be fact, just like the Birther incident?   Despite fact checking organizations communicating that most of their information was not based on facts, supporters would not be dismayed as their commitment was to accept what was presented by Trump as the ONLY FACT.

Will Trump make it across the finish line?

Trump’s swearing in appears imminent, however there are a few hurdles he must cross before being sworn in as the 45th President.  First, he must secure the electors affirmation (a technical process).  Their final vote may be clouded by the public disruption in the form of protest which has spawned nationwide after it was obvious he had won the most electoral college votes.   To the surprise of some they have continued even five days after the election results.  Additionally, he must deal with several public lawsuits and other civil matters which is rare for a President-elect to have prior to the official swearing-in.  But then again, that is the world Trump is comfortable in.  How else could you explain his harsh attitudes, manipulative comments, lack of compassion or down-right bullying?

How did Trump pull off the improbable?

On June 16, 2015 Trump declared to the world his run for presidency.  His theme was quite simple – “Make America Great Again.”  As the campaign proceeded, couched inside his message was a potent bombastic cocktail spewed with Sexism, Racism, Xenophobia and other negatively tinged characterizations.  This “in your face” rhetoric was successful in throwing his primary opponents off track and paralyzed them until they quietly succumbed.  Trump swears he only says those things to garner support from those who wish they could say the very things?

donald-trump-mexicans-rapist-drugs

  • They’re murderers and rapist!
  • You can’t trust anyone with Mexican heritage!
  • The African-American is mired in poverty and crime while they are infested in the Inner-Cities!
  • We will take our Country Back!
  • We will build a wall along the Mexican/United States border and it will be Mexico who foots the bill!!!
  • Muslims will not be wanted in the US!

Trump was slick to realize with these types of sentiments it was he who might be able to awaken all those who felt America had left them behind.  Many have attributed Trump’s victory to Whites who flooded out of trailer homes, or out of the backwoods?  But, in reality that is only part of his support.  His base is defined White of all ages and social-class.  In fairness a good many Whites saw through Trumps charade and did not support him.  But then again, he did not need ALL, he only needed “most.”  Even in a “browning America” the challenge was could he marshal enough support to win?  There are many, not just White’s who are enamored by Trump’s business acumen and “in your face” communication who view him as highly successful and iconic.    He banked on his status as a celebrity that many would be drawn to his message.  He implored them it was imperative they get involved in the system and vote for him.  He proudly proclaimed it was only he “who could save them!!”  The numbers weren’t record breaking but they proved enough in the primaries and barely enough in the general to get him across the finish line.

Despite all of the hatred and viciousness spewed from Donald Trump to most everyone’s surprise those who supported him remained loyal.  They boldly proclaimed “he is talking about them…….not us!!!!!”

 

In addition to creating a message his supporters could rally behind he was banking on a strategy used by the GOP for some time but re-tooled once Obama shock up the status-quo by winning the Presidency in 2008.  That strategy was voter suppression with the goal to limit the number of voters Clinton might receive.  Through purging voter rolls, creating long lines, limiting early voting, creating voter I.D. laws, communicating confusing Robo-calls and other measures could easily take millions out of the voting participation.  Trump was banking on a razor-thin victory but given the subtlety of voter suppression he figured his odds of success were pretty good.    He knew the alternative would mean defeat.

The contradiction

One point worth mentioning is no doubt Barack Obama was able to communicate a theme which motivated many to elect him into the presidency.  Remember the 49% who didn’t vote for him did like those who still proudly proclaim the Confederate flag as their battle cry?  They let everybody know their voice would never die.  Also worth mentioning is the historic reality America was built with a racial paradigm.  In 2008, just like today in 2016 some cannot shake their cultural conditioning that people like Barack Obama could be their leader.

Hence the Tea Party and other extreme groups with the specific mandate to obstruct as much as they could.  Likewise, as Obama’s second term was coming into focus and the candidacy of Donald Trump landed in their zone, they were given new motivation to accept something was wrong with the United States.  Their jobs were gone, immigrants were flooding into their neighborhoods, money wasn’t properly spent, on and on.  They needed a villain and Trump was there to show them who was responsible for all of their ills.  He was able to get some of them to jump into his camp and whatever Obama had done was the fuel they needed to spew negative thoughts of anything accomplished during his tenure.  The problem with their attitude or feelings was there was a very specific contradiction to the sentiment they had adopted.  Despite whatever real hardships many citizens experienced there was plenty who could present a different perspective.  Unemployment was at an all-time low, the stock market was booming, the real estate market was humming and yes, GDP was down under 2% but surely there was great progress given it was minus zero when Obama took the reins?

Yet, Trump’s rally cry was loud and vociferous and just what was needed by those who had the desire to resort back to their old ways.  After all it was Trump who promised them he would lead them in “taking their country back!!”  Quietly, many acquiesced to Trump’s promise and felt despite supporting him, there was no way they could be viewed as Sexist, Racist, Xenophobia as they were true-blue Americans.  Of course, that is most everybody expect the pure-bred racist such as the Klu Klux Klan who gleefully piggy-backed on Trump’s campaign as his message was their message.  Surprisingly very few from GOP leadership admonished this type of sanctioned support.

you start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.”  the late Lee Atwater, GOP Strategist

For all the vitriol of “taking the country back,” ditching Obamacare or anything he did, the irony is President Barack Obama will leave office with one of the highest approval ratings as a departing president.  He will leave office at 53% favorability rating which contradicts the alleged 70% who say the country is headed in the wrong direction?  That is to the angst of Hillary Clinton and important fodder for Trump supporters who claim Obama “is terrible.”

Gallup Historical Presidential Job Approval Statistics

Overall Averages

President

Dates in office

Average approval rating

%

Harry Truman

April 1945-January 1953

45.4

Dwight Eisenhower

January 1953-January 1961

65.0

John Kennedy

January 1961-November 1963

70.1

Lyndon Johnson

November 1963-January 1969

55.1

Richard Nixon

January 1969-August 1974

49.0

Gerald Ford

August 1974-January 1977

47.2

Jimmy Carter

January 1977-January 1981

45.5

Ronald Reagan

January 1981-January 1989

52.8

George H.W. Bush

January 1989-January 1993

60.9

Bill Clinton

January 1993-January 2001

55.1

George W. Bush

January 2001-January 2009

49.4

Hillary Clinton’s defeat.

The late Jim McKay who was a noted broadcaster for the Olympic games coined a phrase which is relevant today in summing up Hillary Clinton’s march or aspiration of the presidency.  “The Thrill of Victory……..the Agony of defeat!!!

three-card-monteDonald Trump pulled three-card monte on Hillary Clinton.  As stated, he crafted a message which was ideal for his supporters.  Although many would dismiss they are racist, hate-filled, misogynist, etc. like Trump.  They simply proved to be more loyal than those who claimed to support Clinton.  She simply was snake bit and even though she will live on, her political career more than likely will come to a halt.

Since the election results much has been communicated about how Trump won or how Clinton lost, but for me it’s rather simple.  Her campaign management team let her down.  Perhaps it was her own hard-headiness?  But, my analysis goes further as it was the arrogance of her team which marginalized then Senator Obama in 2008 while he built up caucus victory after caucus victory in creating enough momentum to get him past the primaries and into the Presidency.  They appeared arrogant and did not pay attention to details which sway public sentiment or they know so much, they are wrong?

For 2016 they almost repeated their behavior.  Surely Donald Trump is a known huckster but how in the world did he out hustle and out-think team Clinton?  They simply took him for granted.  Worse, for all the luggage the Clinton brand brings or the issues they are accused of participating them, you would think somebody would create a narrative or palatable rebuttal to address and communication her weaknesses?  One minor issue that nags my brain is the notion that Hillary Clinton is “not inspiring” or her campaign is “not enthusiastic?”  One thing we can agree which the bombastic Trump employed was making sure his brand was EVERYWHERE.  Yard signs, caps, posters, you name it.  Things which you visually witness  create a subliminal message one way or another.  Yet for Clinton, millions of her supporters were too ashamed to communicate their support or her staff did not have the common sense to make sure properties across the United States were flooded with her branding.  To her credit Hillary Clinton has many positive attributes to be an effective President.  Unfortunately, her campaign did not properly equip her to take what some have stated should have been “a slam dunk” across the victory line.  Even with a motley 51% overall voter participation we accept campaign management and voting turnout is scientific.  But, how hard is it to make sure your registered voters are committed to vote for you…….house by house, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood and bottom-line, precinct by precinct?  So it becomes apparent her ground-game was not as solid as we were led to believe?

Postscript

hillary-clintonClinton’s victory was in sight and executing a strategic campaign seemed like a no-brainer.  But Trump is a known street-hustler and you simply cannot deal with in using conventional tactics.  Team Clinton learned the hard way just like all those who felt they could pick the winning card in the three-card monte game?     The challenge for team Trump will be to attempt to govern, while dealing with all the controversial pledges he made to generate support.  Will they turn on him when they discover he can’t act quickly enough?  Can’t bring manufacturers who produce his products, let alone anyone else’s back to the United States?  Can’t totally repeal Obamacare?  Get them to understand he was only playing about the wall……..when they come to realize illegal immigrants don’t all come through the Mexican/U.S. border but instead are those who over stay their Visa? come to understand not just African-Americans aspire to call the “Inner-City” home?  Come to understand those who practice Islam are peaceful people?  On, and on.    The challenge for team Clinton and her supporters is how quick they are inspired to reorganize their efforts and use the democratic principle in raising enough hell so that Trump and anyone else in elected office takes them seriously to ensure they are included.

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