The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States was the most traumatic and unexpected event in modern American history. Trump, a businessman and reality show star with no political or military experience, triumphed over Hillary Clinton, a deeply flawed but much more experienced candidate.
Trump’s election was the triumph of the Tea Party movement, perhaps our country’s most successful political movement. Created in reaction to Barack Obama’s pricey stimulus package and Affordable Care Act, the Tea Party articulated the Heartland’s fear and anger at big government, illegal immigrants, Muslim terrorists, and uppity minorities. Unlike the left-leaning Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter movements, the Tea Party knew its way around our two party system and was able to take control of the Republican Party. Thanks to the Tea Party, the GOP took over the House of Representatives in 2010 and the Senate in 2014. Trump realized the power of the Tea Party, put himself at the head of it, and won the Republican nomination for President against a crowded field of candidates. The Trump election completed the Tea Party takeover of the federal government.
Trump promised to be “more presidential” once he became president, but in fact President Trump is just like Candidate Trump, only with more power. An Alpha Male with an enormous ego to match his aspirations, Trump was always convinced of his own greatness and of his capacity to win at anything that he sets out to do. In Trump’s mind he is always right and his enemies are always wrong; and Trump is merciless to those who dare to attack or criticize him. Just like he did in business, President Trump intends to do things his own way, extending the power of the president and rejecting constitutional checks and balances, whether on the part of Congress, the courts, or what he calls the “dishonest media.”
Though he is the most powerful man on earth, Donald Trump is not a happy man. Vain and insecure, Trump sees himself as the challenged hero of his own saga, constantly surrounded by enemies. Unlike his predecessors, who laughed when they were spoofed by the comics on Saturday Night Live, Trump gets upset anytime Alec Baldwin or anyone else does a Trump impersonation. With First Lady Melania at the Trump Tower with their son, and daughter Ivanka at home with her own family, the lonely Trump articulates his hatreds and frustrations by sending out late night tweets, attacking everything and everyone who does not kiss his ass and letting his advisors clean up the mess. I almost feel sorry for presidential shills Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus and Kellyanne Conway, who constantly have to defend a boss who cannot be treated as a rational human being. This sympathy should not extend to White House strategist Steve Bannon, Trump’s grey eminence, whom I believe is truly evil.
Though most of Trump’s self-described “deplorable” continue to support their hero, the Trump administration is a disaster for those of us who refuse to surrender to his whims.
How do we survive the Age of Trump?
Though Trump might want to model his rule after that of his idol, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Trump is not a dictator. Our country’s federal and constitutional system does not allow anyone to have his own way, not even authoritarian types like our Tabloid President. Ours is a great country, no matter how much Trump and his stooges might try to ruin it, and there is still a lot to love about the USA. Those of us who opposed Candidate Trump and now oppose President Trump must and will continue the fight, for ourselves and for those we love, and we will prevail.