I kind of feel like I’m in crazy land. I feel like no one recognizes what just happened. Everyone is rioting or complaining or ignoring or sneering or boasting. But they are not doing the one thing I am doing: staring in astonishment at the brilliance of Donald Trump.
The people spouting #NotMyPresident or rioting in the streets have assuredly proved one thing: They know little about the history of contemporary American politics, nor likely of western politics in general. If they did know a modicum of political history, they would not be protesting. They would be sitting behind their computers, analyzing videos, interviews, meetings, conferences, and every step and move in the grandest political chess victory in history.
Now that we are nearly a week out, I was expecting a decent response by now with regards to this admiration. However, the world has gone apeshit. Against the logical analysis recommendations to cease the incessant race/gender battles, they have doubled-down on their irrational pseudoscience accusations. Against the requests to maintain civility, they have channeled their rage in the dumbest possible avenue by rioting and vandalizing. Against HRC’s demands that denying the results of the election were unpatriotic, many of her supporters have childishly done the opposite. Against the appeals for unity (which Hillary Clinton HERSELF asserted prior to the loss), hordes of regressives have taken to social media to proclaim their disdain and undying defiance against the newly and rightfully elected president.
This is an odd reaction regarding the context of our situation.
What happened on Tuesday was historic. Historic is an underwhelming and ubiquitous word. It was utterly shocking.
As a political junkie, I have consumed political media of all types for decades. I spend my free time perusing stodgy history books and op eds. Whenever I find a dusty magazine from some old decade-gone-by, I scour the periodical for any political articles from that day. I watch political and historical documentaries for fun. I have campaigned for several left-wing candidates. I am an addict. Politics is my drug.
Every other year, I get my fix. While my friends were out doing this activity called “fun,” I was listening to Rush Limbaugh and Air America, writing letters to the editor, blogging, and keeping a living log of the way politics works and the way people react to it. I felt like I had my finger on the pulse of popular sentiment. Our blog is an avenue for me to test theories and projections that require a bit more nuance than the typical Twitter or Facebook comment. Which leads me back to my point: IF you are not extremely impressed with the Donald after what just happened, you have not comprehended just how astonishing his campaign was.
I struggled to come up with a decent analogy for this. Imagine Trump beat IBM’s Watson at chess starting with only pawns and a king. Imagine doing three consecutive Hail Mary passes and on-side kicks in the last two minutes to win a football game. Imagine defeating Michael Jordan in a pick-up game with your legs in shackles. Imagine the Miracle on Ice but giving the Soviets a dozen points at the start. Imagine a three-minute mile.
To ignore this achievement only proves your bias against him.
We, as liberals, should immediately cease this protesting nonsense. We need to analyze every single action by Donald Trump for the last decade. Much like Frontline suggested, Trump had entertained a potential presidential big for years, but they posited the theory that his direct inspiration can be traced to the Obama roast. But before that, it is growing clearer that his actions as a reality celebrity were likely a calculated strategy to gain national notoriety in addition to political exposure without the consequences of a legislative record. Once the Correspondence Dinner ignited his resolve, he focused his energy on how best to gain the presidency. Not out of revenge or malice as most progressives claim, but rather out of desire for power.
He analyzed the simplest paths to the inauguration. Regardless of his lifelong Democratic stance, Trump clearly discarded the route through the DNC. Not only is the DNC a dead end due to the inevitability of the Clinton candidacy, but the Superdelegates would do everything to deny an outsider and populist access to their nomination. As Bill Maher recently stated, Trump could have attempted a third party run, considering his ability to self-fund, but Donald must have determined that was a rocky road. Perhaps he analyzed the path of Ross Perot and found the major parties are a more secure route. Lastly, he realized (often misquoted in a shitty meme that floats in regressive circles) that the RNC was a simpler way to be prez. All he had to do was renounce his Dem status in 2012.
Now the born-again Republican basically invented an array of brand new wedge issues. He initiated his campaign on primal fears of immigration, religion, and correctness. Whereas the GOP had devoted itself for decades to the cause of what religion they are, the Donald reframed that to the cause of what religion they are not. A smart move, because the Christian Coalition had a weakening magnetism. For fucks sake, the GOP would not even accept probably the most quintessential corporate Republican of all time, Mitt Romney, because he believed in the wrong kind of Jesus. Trump inverted that structure. Instead of worrying about what type of Evangelical that Republican was, he assured you were part of the Conservative Populism just as long as you all equally rally against the Mohammedan faith.
He challenged the Republican and Neo-Liberal edict of lawless immigration. Just as I am impressed with Trump’s victory, I am equally impressed with the establishment’s persuasion of the masses to accept undocumented immigration. They have converted this to some sort of racist issue. (Last time I checked, the generic immigrant does not have an inherent race.) They deflect criticism from this issue with charges of racism, all while using this cheap labor force to eviscerate unions and the middle class. Trump was the first candidate to finally express this without political injury. The public finally had a champion that was impervious to the claims of racism.
And impervious to the claims of sexism, Islamophobia, homophobia, and whatever else the SJW culture that dominates the media and academia deemed inappropriate. Their regressive Puritanism was growing out of control. Don’t wear this costume. Don’t say the word “crazy.” Don’t treat people equally. Don’t turn up the air conditioning. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.
Trump arrived and took a giant shit on their regressive Puritan Parade. He single-handedly inserted a new set of Authoritarian/Libertarian wedge issues that never existed in this orientation. The old wedge issues took a back seat. Abortion? No one cared. Gay marriage? No one cared. Grabb’n Pussy? No one cared. Clinton tried to deal herself the Woman Card, but everyone thought it was pathetic, self-serving, and unsavory. The left-right wedges eroded before our eyes. Now we have authoritarian-libertarian wedges. Do you want to the establishment deciding who steals your job? Do you want the establishment restricting what you say? Do you want the establishment intervening in sectarian battles on your behalf? Do you want the establishment rigging everything against the Middle Class?
The people said no. But the media and polls were not listening.
One of two things happened with the media. Either the media believed that Trump was a fluke or Trump played them like a fiddle. Perhaps there was a lot of overlap. Regardless, the media, either operating under the direction of Clinton or on their own for ratings and advertising revenue, allowed the constant coverage of Trump for months. Perhaps they were employing the TLC Channel Circus Model: The transformation of a reputable informative educational source into a deranged literal circus of oddities and freaks. Perhaps they felt that a heavy helping of the Trump freak show would draw in viewers, thus allowing the news channels to charge a premium for their ad revenue. Perhaps they were a little in awe of being near a real celebrity and not one of these glorified dimwitted pseudo-popular lawyers-turned-lawmakers.
Somehow, Trump recognized this opportunity. Perhaps his experience in real estate allowed him to find the ultimate political deal of the century. If he continued to feed the media beast with smart, coordinated, strategic “gaffs,” they would give him literally billions of dollars of free advertising. He could counter a bribe-funded, laundered, pay-to-play Clinton warchest by merely making a string of provocative statements and tweets. And somehow, he had the foresight to understand that his “gaffs” would not be interpreted as a negative. Somehow, he rightfully predicted that his supporters would reorient the media analysis of this as proof that they and the establishment were all out against him. And against them.
As the campaign drew closer to the General, the establishment redoubled its focus on maligning him and his followers. This consisted of the media (directed by the Clinton camp), social media companies, pundits, polling, and DNC, who all focused on badgering anyone who slightly sided with the Donald. Because the regressives made it politically suicidal to come out of the closet for Trump, many began ignoring the pollsters and some may have had a “Public and Private position” on the Donald. The establishment rigorously employed Lenin’s Axiom on Lie Repetition. They were under the impression that the masses would begin to believe the lie. They were almost right.
While Clinton comfortably began drafting her acceptance speech, Trump had the foresight to engage with traditionally-blue swing states. To the astonishment of the Republican leaders, he was “wasting time” in the blue swing states when the “path to the White House” looked bleakest in even the reddest swing states. However, Trump ignored those pundits and coordinators to seek out more voters. The mythical silent majority, tired of being branded racists and deplorables, tired of losing jobs oversees and to illegals, tired of tiptoeing around an ethereal political correctness constantly in flux, tired of scraping by for low wages and no job mobility, tired of the vacuum of decent benefits and stable pensions, went out in the tens of thousands to hear an orange billionaire champion their cause. Clinton continued to parrot carefully crafted and focus-grouped statements to crowds of dozens, while Trump would fill stadiums with off-the-cuff speeches. (Or maybe they were not so extemporaneous, which would also testify to the strategic brilliance of the Donald.)
Monday night, everyone went to bed knowing what the outcome was going to be: Donald would lose and Hillary would win. While I had written several posts on the need for Donald to win this election, even I was mildly skeptical of his plan. I was convinced that both parties, apparitions of the same establishment specter, will rig the General Election in the favor of the corporatists. They would not leave this election to chance. Perhaps he knew their hubris would be their downfall. Perhaps he assumed the same as the rest of us. Perhaps he had a hunch. Regardless, he defied everyone and accomplished one of the most brilliant political campaigns in American history.
As hard as it is for me, as a Classical Liberal, to admit, Trump’s victory has revived my faith in the democratic process. No longer can the authoritarian conservatives and neo-liberals control the conversation and rig the elections in their favor. The paradigm of career politicians ascending through establishment channels controlled by corporate sponsors had ended. Michael Moore put it best when he asserted that voting was the last true voice of the poor and working class; the average worker gets the same power as a billionaire. And there are more average workers than billionaires. They have spoken and ironically provided us a NYC-Liberal in GOP clothing, proof again that the left-right spectrum is decreasing in importance.
I don’t know what to think about the future. There is a decent amount of uncertainty. As the Duke said, “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president and I hope he does a good job.” So Trump, don’t squander my admiration of you. You have proved your intelligence to me in an amazing and astounding way. Prove to me that you can live up to your promises and end the gridlock in Washington. Prove to me that you will speak for everyone. Prove to me I’m not wasting my time defending you. I’ll do my part.
——— Nicholas Pisca is founder of 0001D, and can be found atTwitter, Facebook, and Youtube. Before you get all into a huff, he probably has less in common with you and even less with your enemies. So at least you got that.