What are the lessons to be learned from Donald Trump’s recent election as President of the United States ?
A good starting point would be an appreciation of the anger felt by millions of Americans who had been stripped of their livelihoods by a system that best serves its career political masters and the monied interests who had anointed them. Democrats who noticed and were sympathetic lacked the clout to provide relief. Insulated from the painful realities of poverty by the righteousness of conservative principles, Republicans turned a deaf ear.
It took a political outsider, nominally a Republican but unbeholden to their dogmas, to recognize, encourage and harness the power of these unhappy legions. Stimulation from his typhoon-like personality fanned their emotions into a populist tidal wave the crest of which he rode to victory. Manifested first during the primary election, it swamped the Republican party hierarchy, 18 opponents and obscured several of the party’s sacred tenets. During the general election, its fury was evidenced in sufficient states of electoral college significance to overwhelm the better organized candidacy of the popular, superbly experienced veteran system operative.
The take away: a demonstrated ability to harness the demonstrated irresistible force of the disgruntled multitude has placed President-elect Trump in the unusual position to go over the heads of congress, directly to the voters, & make this election actually count.
Who should learn this lesson ?
First, I suggest Republican Congressional leadership who were unwilling to accept the legitimacy of Barrack Obama’s tenure, as if the voters’ decision did not matter. This led them to simply refuse to arrive at any accommodations, with a view to limiting him to a failed single term. Any attempt to similarly frustrate what they might see as unacceptable, unorthodox efforts by the then President to revive the economy & bring back good paying jobs would surely cause him to appeal to the electorate & focus their fury on those who man the legislative roadblocks.
And there are lessons to be learned by Trump himself if his presidency is not to suffer the fate of an over-inflated balloon. He must remain true to his repeated promises to those unfortunates who have entrusted him with their futures. A failure to actually follow through would surely cause him to lose the support that elected him. Those followers are looking for tangible results. Conservative, banal Republican platitudes about the merits of independence, self-reliance & governmental austerity that have left them in the lurch in our contemporary, clockwork-like, interdependent society will not satisfy them.
Moreover, the President-elect’s backers did not simply vote for an on-going reality tv show. His sometime comic opera antics, though entertaining, will not put in place the policies to restore good middle class jobs. And, his public trashing of opponents & career feeders at the public trough might have been, to many during the campaign, well received expressions of their own repressed feelings, this is not conducive to coalescing the coalitions necessary to accomplish his stated goals.
Though now out of mind in the euphoria induced by their victory at the polls & the hurly-burly of assembling an administration, Republicans will do well to remember that the losing candidate received approximately 3,000,000 more votes than their winner.
Surely there are many lessons. But these are a few.
I am a lifelong Republican who is disgusted with what I have seen as the party’s lack of stewardship of the power it has held.
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