Trump’s enemies took refuge in the self-created narrative that his campaign was 100% American showmanship. The crooked press and the corrupt establishment, while dissing Trump publicly, scoffed privately. They “knew” his supporters were idiots and yahoos—marginally functional Neanderthals from America’s unreconstructed backwoods whose ability to think, handicapped by genetics, was further crippled by the moonshine distilled in the shed behind their putrid outhouse for personal consumption by their incest-ridden family of knuckle-dragging racist homophobes.
When Chuck Todd hears “Trump suppporter,” he pictures Jethro Bodine with rabies. The press and the establishment worked together crafting a narrative that, having fooled these moronic quirks of evolutionary retardation, Trump would seize power and become a self-serving establishmentarian. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
But, like so many times in the campaign, the press was wrong. Dead wrong. They were wrong about Trump’s supporters, they were wrong about his appeal to blacks and Hispanics, they were wrong about his appeal to women, they were wrong about his appeal to educated whites, and they were wrong about his motives. All wrong. Dead wrong. If election prognostication were the SAT of journalism, the Chuck Todds of the world would be applying to trade school now.
Peggy Noonan nailed it, as she often does:
He presented himself not as a Republican or a conservative but as a populist independent. The essential message: Remember those things I said in the campaign? I meant them. I meant it all.
Ted Cruz famously warned Trump supporters toward the end of his failed primary campaign that Donald Trump would “betray you.” Ted Cruz was wrong, too. Trump is still Trump. The showman, the provocateur, the braggart (“it ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up,” Dizzy Dean said.)
At 12:01 p.m. on January 20, the establishment expected Trump to fulfill Cruz’s prophecy by betraying the people and kissing the establishment’s ring. Imagine the cold shock that slithered down their spines when Trump began his speech with this:
Today’s ceremony however has very special meaning, because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to the other, but from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people.
For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capitol has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington has flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.
Their victories have not been your victories.
Their triumphs have not been your triumphs.
There was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes starting right here and right now. This moment is your moment, it belongs to you. It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America.
In his simple, straightforward manner, Donald Trump, in his first words as President of the United States, dissolved the political bands that tied the White House to the Washington establishment and its hallelujah corner in the press. Trump divorced the office of the president from the Washington cartel and connected it to the America people.
This changes everything. And it means we, the people, must have his back. And we must have his back in a way that we’ve never had a president’s back before.
Donald Trump’s tiny team of White House staff and cabinet appointees has declared war against everything the Tea Party declared war against: both parties, the lobbyists, the press, the revolving doors, the protected incumbencies of politicians and corporations. He declared war against the powerful few by allying himself with the forgetten many.
Peggy Noonan warns us of the battle we face and odds against us:
Normally a new president has someone backing him up, someone publicly behind him. Mr. Obama had the mainstream media—the big broadcast networks, big newspapers, activists and intellectuals, pundits and columnists of the left—the whole shebang. He had a unified, passionate party. Mr. Trump in comparison has almost nothing. The mainstream legacy media oppose him, even hate him, and will not let up. The columnists, thinkers and magazines of the right were mostly NeverTrump; some came reluctantly to support him. His party is split or splitting. The new president has gradations of sympathy, respect or support from exactly one cable news channel, and some websites.
He really has no one but those who voted for him.
Do they understand what a lift daily governance is going to be, and how long the odds are, with so much arrayed against him, and them?
I think we do.
When fifty thousand people in 58 locations responded on just four days notice to protest the establishment’s bailouts on February 27, 2009, we faced similar odds. On “Your World with Neil Cavuto” aired that afternoon, Neil talked to organizers of various Tea Party protests. (Plus lots of video footage from St. Louis.) It’s worth revisiting because Cavuto used the term “populist” to describe the events. He also questioned whether this would be a movement that resulted in change or if we would remain a “very vocal minority.”
On Friday, January 20, 2017, Mr. Cavuto got his answer.
We are winning.
Photo credit: Respublica: http://respublica.typepad.com/respublica/2009/02/tea-party-in-st-louis.html
Also published on Medium.