For all those wondering where Donald Trump came from – why Donald Trump is leading the Republican race, and why he continues to dominate the news coverage – the answer is sitting right in the Oval Office.
Donald Trump is the reactionary flip side to the radical leftist celebrity of Barack Obama. Trump is sort of an Obama photo negative: like Obama, he sees no limits on executive authority, manipulates his opinion to seek public goodwill, and scorns his political opponents. Here are seven ways Barack Obama’s rise created Trump:
1. The Rise Of The Celebrity Presidency. People laughing off Donald Trump as a reality star ignore that Barack Obama has been the nation’s leading reality star for eight years. The man has never met a camera he won’t stand before. Aside from his political extravaganzas at home and abroad, Obama has inserted himself into everything from The Daily Show to the Super Bowl and All-Star Game. He’s done a full ad using a selfie stick. He’s appeared with Glozell. He’s won a Grammy. Obama is America’s top reality show. Trump is just another reality star.
The mystery of Donald Trump is no mystery. It’s a predictable result of Barack Obama’s dominance.
2. Divisive Politicking. Barack Obama pretended he stood for the unification of Americans around racial issues. Instead, he then divided Americans by race, siding against policy and lending his weight to criminals including Michael Brown and rioters in Baltimore, and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. He’s targeted businesspeople by terming them greedy and backing the Occupy Wall Street movement. Obama’s attacks on Republicans – he terms them an “enemy” – and religious and gun-owning Americans smack of polarization. Obama is the most divisive president in modern American history. Trump is turnabout as fair play.
3. The Dictatorial Executive. Barack Obama believes that the executive branch is capable of dictating immigration policy, of signing nuclear agreements with Iran, of pushing gun control, of rewriting law itself. Donald Trump believes similarly; last night, aside from calling for a complete ban on Muslim immigration to the United States, Trump idiotically suggested that Bill Gates should help on “closing the internet up in some ways” to stop ISIS.” He dismissed free speech concerns as “foolish people” talking. We now have an elected dictator. Trump would be next in line.
4. Political Correctness Breeds Backlash. Barack Obama’s militant political correctness frustrates Americans. He refuses to say “radical Islam.” He says that Caitlyn Jenner is a woman but ISIS is not Islamic. He suggests that the only reason for racial disparities in crime statistics is racism. He invites Clock Boy to the White House and deploys his Attorney General to investigate police departments for doing their jobs. All of this creates a backlash. Political incorrectness is useful, but Donald Trump hides under its cloak to say stupid things. Not everything stupid is politically correct; sometimes, it’s just dumb. Many Americans can’t tell the difference anymore, because the media response to politically correct and dumb is identical.
5. Elitism Breeds Populism. Barack Obama keeps suggesting he’s above the rest of us. He understands better than we do. If we disagree, it’s because we’re benighted and ignorant; if we just listened to him a little more, we’d agree. He surrounds himself with Ivy League types who have never met an ordinary American, and who think of them as “bitter clingers.” Obama considers himself smarter than everyone else, as an effective leader and communicator. We think of him as out of touch and ridiculous. The response: pick the guy who speaks at blue collar level, and who’s willing to reach beyond the “intellectual” class.
6. Platitudes Substituting For Policy. Barack Obama is the master of platitudes. He cannot do a speech without setting an entire raft of strawmen alight. He talks about “the right side of history” and rips the “cynicism” of his opponents. He still jabbers about bringing us together after years of tearing us apart. He says we must "get stuff done," then gets nothing done. He speaks in soundbytes. Enter Donald Trump. Trump also drops platitudes – usually muscular ones like “we have no choice” and “I get things done.” People take it seriously because they’ve been trained to take such nonsense seriously by Barack Obama and his compliant media.
7. Media Worship Breeds Hatred of Media. President Obama has had eight years of fawning media coverage. Occasionally the media will go on an anti-Obama jag, invariably far from an election, but then will swivel back to praising The One as a deep thinker and a statesman, a misunderstood genius struggling to educate the American people about their own xenophobia. There’s a reason Americans don’t trust the media. Trump plays on that by smacking the media regularly. It’s wonderful and enjoyable. Unfortunately, because the media shredded its own credibility to protect Obama, they have no credibility actually call Trump on his sins when he does sin.
Barack Obama created Donald Trump.
Trump and Obama do differ in one important respect: Trump doesn’t actually believe ideologically that the power of the United States must be decreased globally and domestically. That’s why Republicans would vote Trump over Hillary: if they’re going to get the bloviating would-be tyrant, they might as well get the one who’s right 50% of the time over the one who’s ideologically wrong 100% of the time. Trump’s opponents asks whether anyone wants Trump in control of the world’s strongest military, but at least Trump wouldn’t turn it into one of the world’s weaker militaries.
The mystery of Donald Trump is no mystery. It’s a predictable result of Barack Obama’s dominance. If we wish to stop electing tyrannical, bromidic salespeople for themselves, we should start by ruling them out of both parties.