When Donald Trump was announced President Elect of the United States on Nov. 9 of this year, the news baffled pollsters who, when he announced his campaign in 2015, believed he had no chance of winning. But the real estate mogul and former reality TV star defied all odds, in spite of his brazen, inflammatory rhetoric and his clear lack of policy planning — or perhaps because of all that.
Trump gained momentum in the primary by coming off as an unapologetic, politically incorrect populist — or by his supporters’ views, a “non-politician.” He was a brick to the window of the establishment. A down-to-earth, honest, true-blooded American who spoke his mind and “told it like it is,” compared to the crooked, two-faced Washington elite. The fact that he spouted off rude, defamatory claims at minorities, women, news reporters and his running opponents was not a deal breaker to his most devout supporters, who were fed up with shady politicians and their “political correctness.”
The Trump victory was a big middle finger to the establishment in the eyes of his supporters, who believed they had elected a man who would clean up Washington of politicians and “make America great again.” But not even a month into his administration planning did he begin to soften some of his hardest stances in election. Backing off from his promises to build a wall along the Mexican border, repeal the Affordable Care Act and withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, Trump instead spoke vaguely about analyzing and reconsidering his decisions.
As a man with no political record, Trump’s future presidency is uncertain. What is certain is that his policy proposals greatly benefit wealthier Americans and corporations at the expense of the poor and working class — ironically, the very people he promised to make America great for. His recent deal with Carrier to keep 1,000 of the original 2,000 jobs that were bound for Mexico is good news for 1,000 workers at Carrier’s plant in Indianapolis, but was contrary to his promise to actually bring jobs back into the U.S. His outward, tough-guy stance against corporations, contrasted with his under-the-table dealings, in the form of $7 million in tax breaks, is the exact political two-facedness that he was so vocally against while on the campaign trail.
Trump’s harsh rhetoric as a candidate against big corporations and big government was enough to sway voters who were fed up with the political establishment. The disdain that most Americans, particularly here in the midwest, have towards government officials was kindling for Trump’s garbage fire of a campaign. But unfortunately for the people who voted for him, Trump now exhibits all the symptoms of a lying politician without the political background. The fact that he isn’t a politician makes him even more dangerous because it adds inexperience to his deception.
Trump is the only logical outcome of eight years of backlash against the Obama administration. His own words are reflective of the kind of bar-room talk from disenfranchised middle-Americans who get together on a Friday night and solve all the world’s problems. His short-sighted, inward-focused, nationalistic attitude is merely a projection of the common beliefs of the American public. He may not be the leader we need, but he is clearly the one we deserve.
Contrary to what many conspiracy theorists believe, our elected officials are not descended from some bygone royal family and hand-picked by the Bilderberg Group, or the Elders of Zion, or whatever shadowy group fits the narrative that day. They are American citizens who grew up in American homes, went to American churches, were educated in American schools and are chosen by the American electorate. If there’s something wrong with American politicians, it’s obviously the American system. As the late comedian George Carlin once summarized it, “garbage in, garbage out.” A country of selfish, ignorant idealistic citizens will continue to elect selfish, ignorant, idealistic leaders.
Even though only a quarter of Americans voted Trump into office, the 41 percent of Americans who chose not to vote let that other small percentage decide the fate of our government. We the people decided to allow a demagogue and a failed business tycoon (anybody remember Trump steaks?) to represent arguably the most powerful nation in the world.
The best case scenario for the next four years is that Trump will disavow his populist persona and fall in line with more conventionally abhorrent Republican policies, which still does not bode well for the environment, health care reform and a number of other critical policies.