Opinion by Michael Royster
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The voters of the United States have spoken, and the American heartland has elected a man seemingly without a heart. As Dorothy said to Toto: “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more.”
How did this come to pass? How did a man once regarded as a blustering buffoon by politicians, pundits and pollsters, manage to pull off the most astonishing upset in American political history?
The short answer is that Donald Trump, the Manhattan billionaire, had a far better feel for the political pulse of the people than did any of the candidates he vanquished. He perceived that the resentment felt by people in “flyover country” against those who live on America’s East and West coasts was both deep and broad.
So Trump focussed on “the forgotten man”, and that phrase resonated with tens of millions of voters. “Make America great again” was a call to return to the 1950’s of President Eisenhower and the 1980’s of President Reagan. It was a call to get off the political merry-go-round that had foisted Bush and Clinton dynasties upon government.
Trump ran against the American Establishment, represented by imperial Presidents Bush the First, Clinton the First, Bush the Second and wannabe Clinton the Second. He also ran against President Obama, portrayed as no more than a stalking horse for the Clintons.
Having adopted this “disestablishmentarian” strategy, Trump’s tactic, in poker terms, was to go “all in”; he repeatedly “bet the farm” and he won. Those who cringed at the strategy and the tactics, believing they would end in disaster for him, were proven wrong.
Trump’s vision of the American electorate was, from beginning to end, more insightful than those of any of us—including the Curmudgeon.
The Curmudgeon did not predict the election results, nor will he predict a negative future for the United States until he sees whether President Trump actually has a heart.