Dark Horse Candidacies: Trump, Obama’s Runs to White House

By Davin Wilson

On Nov. 8, 2016, Donald John Trump got “the club going up on a Tuesday.”

Mr. Trump shocked the political establishment and the world on Election Day by defeating Hillary Rodham Clinton on his way to becoming the 45th President of the United States of America.

In sports terms, Trump’s victory is comparable to Appalachian State beating Michigan in Ann Arbor or James Madison defeating Virginia Tech in Blacksburg – still one of the darkest days in this writer’s life.

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this thing, I have to say I’m not surprised Trump pulled off the stunning victory. The sports fan in me saw it coming. After all, it’s been the Year of the Underdog.

First, the Cleveland Cavaliers become the first team to rally back from a 3-1 series deficit in the NBA Finals to win the organization’s first title, and then the Chicago Cubs storm back from a 3-1 hole to defeat the Cleveland Indians for its first World Series title in 106 years and simultaneously breaking a hex known as “The Curse of the Billy Goat.” I mean, come on, you can’t write that type of voodoo.

Anyways, back to the action …

Mrs. Clinton blamed her loss on FBI Director James Comey, arguing his email investigation 11 days before the election tanked her Presidential bid. Clinton and her aides have also blamed sexism and the media for her loss. If that helps her sleep at night, then Clinton’s reasoning is fine by me. However, the Democratic party needs to come to terms with the real reasoning behind Trump’s victory.

The American public has grown tired of the political elite.

Pink Floyd’s classic song “Us and Them,” off their album The Dark Side of the Moon should’ve been the theme song for this year’s election. Trump simply did a better job of convincing the majority of the American public he was one of us.

Trump’s decision to largely fund his own campaign spoke volumes to voters fed up with lobbyists floating the political system in their favor. Many working-class voters felt Trump wasn’t going to be in the pockets of his donors, rendering favors for them while taking a massive dump on the rest of our chests. Basically, the American public didn’t think Trump was going to be a political version of R Kelly.

Trump will become the first president to take office without any elective office experience since Dwight Eisenhower won the presidency in 1953. Eisenhower, though, had extensive military experience and was a sage leader in foreign policy.

So, how did a man with no political experience win the presidency?

The answer lay in Trump’s outsider persona.

Trump’s campaign rhetoric left many Americans – myself included – scratching their heads and wondering if Trump’s bid was some kind of joke designed to help Clinton win in a landslide. Trump’s vulgarity and unorthodox campaign style caused voters to view him as being more genuine than Clinton. His unpredictably made the American voter believe Trump was a character of change while leaving Clinton looking like one of the political elites.

In the end, Trump rose to prominence using the same “Us vs. Them” mentality Barack Obama used on his way to the presidency.

Entering the 2016 election season, the American public’s distrust in the political and business institutions that lead the country were at an all-time high. Trump tapped into these feelings and played them better than Yo-Yo Ma pulls the strings of his cello. The American people had grown as tired of its elected officials as National Football League fans have of Roger Goodell.

A junior senator back in 2006, Obama was encouraged by his colleagues to run for president because they felt the little time he had spent in Washington would help him avoid the insider image that weighed Clinton down.

Obama was also a fund-raising machine, raising hundreds of millions of dollars outside the party structure, which allowed him to stay clear of party alliances and commitments. Like Trump, Obama convinced the American voters he was going to have their best interests in mind and not the priorities of the lobbyists on K Street. Obama ran on an anti-establishment campaign and it paid handsome dividends, propelling him to the White House.

In a time of economic Armageddon, Obama’s promises to cut taxes for 95 percent of working-class families, eliminate tax breaks for corporations that send jobs out of the country and provide affordable health care made the American public believe he was the best man to help defeat the Socs (the political elites) from the wealthier side of town.

Obama, similar to Trump, won the White House eight years ago based on his anti-establishment persona. People were fed up with trickle-down economics, and the rich getting richer while the working-class were left to their own devices. He made his opponent, John McCain, look like the leader of the Socs and it led him to the presidency.

Both Trump and Obama ran campaigns that inspired those disillusioned by the political and business institutions of America to get out and vote. For Trump, it was his ability to bring out the rural vote that led him to success, while Obama rose to prominence on the strength of encouraging the youth and inner city votes.

Obama’s and Trump’s elections are comparable to football fans giving up on the NFL and switching over to the American Indoor Football or Canadian Football League because of their displeasure with the NFL’s complacency and inability to address even the simplest of problems.

While blaming Comey, the media or sexism might provide the Democrats with a warm bottle and snuggie, they need to do some real soul-searching over the next four years.

The Democratic party, while not needing to do away with identity politics, needs to focus less on catering to specific demographic groups and run candidates who are less interested in sucking on the Washington power teat and more concerned with helping those who give them their power.

 

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