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Big Orange Trumpster Is Very Much A Story Of Hope

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Big Orange Trumpster Is Very Much A Story Of Hope

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Pinch yourself. Slap yourself. Go howl at the moon.

It’s not a dream. Donald J. Trump is in the White House.

Say what you will, but no other candidate in our nation’s history has overcome such daunting obstacles on his way to winning the presidency.

Never has a human personality seemed more ill-fitted for political campaigning — a bombastic, thin-skinned egomaniac, incapable of humility, grace, or introspection.

Hardly any journalists, myself included, thought he could pull it off. His quest seemed doomed by the weight of multiple character defects.

The surprise triumph of the Big Orange Trumpster is very much a story of hope. The message is simple: These days, anybody — absolutely anybody — can become president.

You don’t need facts. You don’t need experience. You just need a good act.

Many past candidates had been born into wealth, but almost always they’d made an effort at public service. Not Trump.

He bragged about being rich and getting richer. He bragged about his hotels and golf courses. He bragged about his cheesy beauty pageants and reality shows. He even bragged about his bankruptcies.

Any other candidate with such motley credentials would have been laughed off the stage way back in Iowa. Not Trump.

As a hot-button issue he chose immigration reform, characterizing Mexicans who illegally cross the border as rapists and criminals. The cruel slur offended many Hispanic voters throughout the country, and it could have been fatal to any other campaign.

Trump, unapologetic, marched on.

He publicly belittled Sen. John McCain for getting captured in Vietnam — an audacious insult from a man who’d ducked war duty by claiming “bone spurs” in his foot, an injury that didn’t keep him off the tennis courts while McCain was being beaten in a POW camp.

Again, any other candidate would have been repudiated for doubting the senator’s heroism. Not Trump.

After a disabled reporter asked a question Trump didn’t like, Trump made fun of him with savage mimicry. And after Megyn Kelly of Fox News asked a question he didn’t like, Trump retaliated with an interview suggesting she was menstruating.

Jeb Bush wouldn’t have gotten away with that. Nor would Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, or any of the other men running for president.

True, they would never in a million years have said such a thing. No stable, half-sensible person would.

But that illustrates the magnitude of what Trump had to overcome — an almost uncontrollable impulse to spew (or tweet) the most offensive thoughts that popped into his twitchy brainpan.

Every time you thought he’d hit a new low, he’d go lower. Top Republicans abandoned him, and the imminent demise of his campaign was predicted on a weekly basis.

Name one other candidate who could have survived telling black Americans to vote for him because their schools and neighborhoods are so awful that they’ve got nothing to lose.

Name one other candidate who could have survived the notorious “Access Hollywood” tape, in which the recently married Trump boasted lewdly about groping women. He made Gary Hart look like a Franciscan monk.

Name one other candidate who could have proclaimed a man-crush on Vladimir Putin, and still swept the primaries.

No presidential contender has ever done more than Trump to damage his own image, and still won. No other candidate has so casually demeaned so many key voter segments, and still won.

What Trump accomplished was amazing. Evangelicals stampeded to cast their ballots for a self-proclaimed p—y grabber. Lots of women did, too.

This big-city billionaire who pays no income taxes somehow convinced rural working-class Americans that he felt their pain. Today some people still think there’s going to be a giant wall along our southern border, and that Mexico will pay for it.

I’m serious. They really believe this.

It’s a tribute to Trump’s stage skills. Never have American voters been inspired to overlook so many startling deficiencies in a presidential nominee. Even his own staff expected him to lose.

Although he fell almost 3 million votes short of Hillary Clinton, Trump won enough states to seat himself in the Oval Office. The fact that his popularity ratings are higher in Moscow than here at home shouldn’t diminish the significance of his electoral upset.

Imagine how many votes he might have gotten if he’d behaved like a grownup.

IMAGE: U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a meeting with business leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen is an award-winning journalist, commentator, and novelist. Hiaasen has worked for the Miami Herald since 1976, and his writing focuses on environmental and corruption issues in his home state of Florida.

His latest book is Skink—No Surrender (2014).

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35 Comments

  1. Dominick Vila January 24, 2017

    No other presidential candidate – Republican or Democrat – has been as narcissistic, arrogant, immature, ill-informed, vindictive, or dependent on a foreign power in U.S. history…and won an election.
    Trump’s victory was, in part, a message of hope, advanced by convincing millions of Americans that our country is in decline, and that he, and only he, could save us from self-destructing. He pulled it off, but that facet of his victory is only half the story. He sensed, a lot better than Hillary and all the Democratic strategists, the angst that exists among blue collar workers in parts of the country, and exploited cynically, but very effectively, to his advantage. He embraced populist themes, including vintage labor union rhetoric, that appealed to a segment of our population that is afraid of the social and economic changes that are taking place…and that tend to blame intellectuals, especially the media, for what they perceive is a declining middle class, and the decline of white power in our society. He appealed to the evangelicals, and religious people at large, by cynically embracing the pro-birth crowd, going as far as stating that women who undergo an abortion should be punished. He appealed to the white supremacists, and those who hate anything foreign, by making Mexico a scapegoat for all our ills, by calling Mexicans rapists and criminals, and by promising to rid our pristine society from such vermin. Fear, prejudice, hatred, a highly effective Republican demonization campaign, and a Democratic candidate who was either unable or unwilling to fight back, won the election. Russian interference, Comey’s interference, Bill Clinton’s meeting with the AG, the decision to give a forum to a Muslim during the DNC convention and repeating his assertion that Trump, a white American, had not even read the Constitution of the United States, countering a simplistic message of Greatness with a complex and lengthy economic plan, an antiquated and undemocratic electoral system, and a focus on Trump’s debauchery at a time when people were more interested in pocket book issues than morality, won the election.
    Trump is unqualified for the office he holds, and in addition to being dangerous, he has lowered the intellect and logic of our society to its lowest common denominator, but he managed to out fox us all, and we now have no choice but to reflect on what happened, determine what contributed to our defeat, change our narrative to one that appeals to the average American, and bring new blood into our party. If we stay the course we will continue to lose seats, until we become irrelevant and a new party or parties emerge. For starters, we must understand that we were not defeated by conservative principles, we were defeated by a demagogue devoid of political ideology, that fought both the right and left establishment with the same savagery. Last, but not least, he taught us that in the era we live in facts can be circumvented by make believe, excuse me, alternative facts!

    Reply
    1. itsfun January 24, 2017

      The Democratic Party abandoned the average working family and got pay backs. You can whine and call names all you want, it won’t help you any. If anything the whining and refusals to accept President Trump will only help the Republicans in upcoming elections. The Democrats have lost 1000 government seats in state and federal governments the last 8 years. If they don’t change their ways, it will be even more in 2018.

      1. The lucky one January 24, 2017

        I agree that The Democratic Party abandoned the average working family but I think Trump’s record will be so bad that Repubs will be ripe for the picking. I think the GOP believes that too and that they’ll use Trump to gut environmental regulations, turn back civil rights for certain groups, lower taxes on the rich and possibly even privatize SS and medicare. Trump’s enormous ego will induce him to take credit for it all and then after they dump him they’ll lay their failures at his feet and build up Pence, their favorite son all along.

        1. itsfun January 24, 2017

          I don’t see any civil rights being turned back at all. Regulations will be eased, taxes will be lowered. I don’t think he will even attempt to privatize SS or Medicare. He does have a enormous ego, but just think of the enormous it takes for anyone to run for the office of President. All the candidates on both sides have to have huge egos to even consider running for President. Depending on any health issues, I expect to see Pence running for President either in 2020 or 2024.

          1. The lucky one January 25, 2017

            A woman’s right to govern her own body is one. The right to engage in peaceful protest without prosecution and persecution is another and no, blocking a street is not a felony as some of those protesting Trump’s presidency were charged with. Trump has stated he wants to stifle criticism of public figures such as himself and he is trying to neuter the media.

            Trump may not take the initiative with privatizing SS and Medicare but it has been a goal of the GOP for quite sometime and Pence will be doing most of the nuts and bolts of governing. His ego will cause him to take credit for anything that is accomplished by his party.

            I still think you will see Pence as president before 2020.

          2. itsfun January 25, 2017

            When was abortion made unlawful? Peaceful protest yes, but what about the people being attacked and the broken windows and looting? Those are felonies and for once the criminals will be prosecuted. The only plan I have ever seen for SS is to allow each individual to be able to put only 10% of their deduction into a private account they own. That didn’t happen and probably won’t. Politicians want to be re-elected so I don’t see anything changing in Medicare either. When and if we ever see Pence as President will depend on the health of President Trump.

          3. The lucky one January 26, 2017

            That is yet to come and awaits the extreme right wingers Trump will appoint to SCOTUS. For now he is content with increasing restrictions on legal abortion making it impossible for the poor to receive a safe abortion. The rich will always be able to get safe abortions just as the always have.

          4. itsfun January 26, 2017

            I don’t see abortions being made illegal. I can’t imagine anyone wanting women going back to clothes hangers and back alleys.
            I don’t like funding PP, especially since they sell aborted parts. I think abortion should be covered in any new health plan.

          5. The lucky one January 26, 2017

            I’m glad you are one of the sane ones but perhaps you should look at some of the conservative sites. it’s clearly what they want with some going so far as to restrict access to birth control which just takes them completely outside of the realm of sanity and commonsense. It may not become “illegal” but if health plans don’t cover it except in very special circumstances and only a few states offer legal abortion the result will be the same for the majority.

          6. itsfun January 26, 2017

            I do look at conservative sites and I also watch liberal and conservative news sites and TV channels. The extreme sides of both parties are a bunch of crazies. If one only reads or see one side, then one cannot make any kind of educated decision on anything. Some people don’t believe you can’t have a top without a bottom or a front without a back. Normally both sides have good ideas. The huge divisions in Congress must find a way to reach compromises and respect others. This is the only way things will get done to help the citizens.

  2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth January 24, 2017

    This article points out the enormity of Trump’s mental and emotional instability which has an extent that is seen in whichever direction you turn. That the Oval office has been allowed to be conquered by someone who most closely resembles a Philistine in order for him to continue to play out a pageant of immorality is unconscionable. For anyone to have so easily cleared so many hurdles as described, is a testimony of an epic moral failure on the part of so many who were undeterred by Donald’s flaws and resolutely and “religiously” avoided paying attention to Donald’s boasting in order to focus only on political/economic matters.
    Much of his success is due to so many in government, and as ordinary citizens, allowing themselves to easily acquiesce to expedience, fiscal matters, procedure, while at the same time dismissing purposefully integrity, honesty, and an upright character—-all for short-term gain, a sense of dominance, and a primeval focus on protecting the “tribe”.

    The tribe now is based on nationalism and racialism, and one’s provenance—echoes of some sentiments which first arose on a wide scale in the 17th Century.

    Reply
    1. InGen12 January 24, 2017

      The safeguards that were put in place to prevent someone like Drumpf from ever stepping foot in the Oval office failed the American people. He should have been held accountable for producing his tax returns and the Electoral College should not have voted along party lines. These safeguards were not upheld.

  3. The lucky one January 24, 2017

    “These days, anybody — absolutely anybody — can become president. You don’t need facts. You don’t need experience. You just need a good act.” Yes and either be rich or have the backing of the rich. Not so different than in the past except in degree.

    Reply
    1. InGen12 January 24, 2017

      You forgot the backing and hacking of Russia.

      1. The lucky one January 24, 2017

        I think what Russia did was just reveal the true Clinton. That may have cost her enough votes to make the difference but until someone produces evidence that they directly manipulated the votes I don’t believe they did so.

        The true Trump, on the other hand, was pretty plain to see, a low talent, average intelligence arrogant narcissist who never outgrew his upbringing as a spoiled privileged rich man’s son. Even as a budding entrepreneur with daddy’s money as a stake he needed to be bailed out by his father. He hasn’t matured a bit since about 2 years od.

    2. itsfun January 24, 2017

      I agree, we elected Obama twice.

      1. The lucky one January 24, 2017

        Bush too, and he didn’t even have a good act. Well, actually we only elected him once. The first time he was handed the job by SCOTUS Inc.

        But I think with Trump, as with any poorly written fake reality TV show he won’t get renewed for a second season and as I have said probably get the first one cancelled.

        1. itsfun January 24, 2017

          Bush won the election fair and square. After all was said and done, it was determined he won Florida. We will just have to wait and see how President fares.

          1. The lucky one January 24, 2017

            Actually he won because SCOTUS took an unprecedented action, stopped the recount in FLA and awarded it to Bush. That is how he “won”. If you want to call that “fair and square” so be it.

          2. itsfun January 24, 2017

            They did do a recount in Florida anyway after the rulings. It was never reported much but Bush did win.

          3. The lucky one January 25, 2017

            That depends on the standards applied to the ballots. Some have Bush winning and others have Gore. It is clear though that more voters in Florida intended to vote for Gore and had all faulty ballots been counted he would have won.

            USA Today highlighted that its review revealed, “The American system of elections routinely fails to count hundreds of thousands of ballots because of errors by voters, confusing ballot instructions, poorly designed ballots, flawed voting and counting machines and the failure of election workers to adequately help voters.”

            That is the real scandal that Trump would take action on if he was serious and not just a whining crybaby. Whining losers are sad but whining winners are pathetic and reveal the man’s character or lack thereof pretty convincingly.

            “There wasn’t evidence of widespread voter fraud before the election. There isn’t evidence of widespread voter fraud afterward, either. In fact, there’s not evidence of even modest voter fraud.”

            Four cases of voter fraud in 2016. None of those were counted so Trump still loses by 3 mil in the popular vote. It’s time for him to grow up. He’s the president now.

          4. itsfun January 25, 2017

            When voters make errors how can you assume who they tried to vote for?
            In this last election the President lost California by 4 million votes. If you take just California out of the popular vote, then President Trump won the other 49 states combined. California gets 55 electoral college votes. It takes something like 13 western states to equal the 55. Just look at how many states the President won.

          5. The lucky one January 25, 2017

            “When voters make errors how can you assume who they tried to vote for?” You can’t with certainty but exit polls and noting which districts had heaviest concentration of rejected ballots make clear implications. It’s not worth going back and forth on this. Bush became president. The bigger issue in that election and all since is voter suppression by improper purging of voter roles. If you’re interested google Greg Palast and Ballot Bandits.

            States are abstract delineations. Voters are real people. No state has enough EC votes to dominate an election. A statement like “In this last election the President lost California by 4 million votes. If you take just California out of the popular vote, then President Trump won the other 49 states combined.” imply that residents of CA are not entitled to the same rights as other citizens. Why don’t we also discount Texas and a couple other states where Trump won big.

            The point is Trump won the EC. That’s not being contested. He is president. He lost the popular vote by 3 million votes. All those statements are incontrovertible facts. that he lost the popular vote has no effects on his presidential powers or term of office. It shows his character when he makes false claims of voter fraud to hide the reality but it is a common tactic with Trump. Anything that punctures his ego must be denied.

            What would you think about a coach whose team just won a game by 50 points and in the post game interview he complained about what he perceived as a bad call that went against his team. He’d be laughed off the stage and that is what the response to Trump’s bluster should have been.

          6. itsfun January 25, 2017

            The great coaches do remember the bad calls and bad plays in every game – win or lose.

          7. The lucky one January 26, 2017

            They may remember them but they don’t whine about them ad nauseam especially in a public forum.

            If I was a confidant of Trump’s (God what a horrible thought) I’d advise him to drop the whining about the popular vote. It makes him look like a spoiled brat and just keeps reminding everyone that he did in fact lose the popular vote by about 3 million votes. Only the extremely gullible give any credence to his, even for him, ridiculous contention that there were millions of illegal votes.

          8. itsfun January 26, 2017

            I think he should stop talking about it also. Although after reading about the Michigan recount attempt, he may have a point about voter fraud. Seem that one of the largest counties in Michigan (a Democratic stronghold) have more ballets then the official count of ballots. That is one of the big reasons the Michigan recount was stopped. Maybe there is something to what President Trump alleges.

          9. The lucky one January 26, 2017

            “Maybe there is something to what President Trump alleges.” I guess it’s always possible that he may right be for the first time but there have been approximately 30 cases of voter fraud in the last 16 years so it’s extremely doubtful. Just another one of Trump’s “alternate facts” or to use another euphemism “misrepresentations of the truth”, simpler just to call them what they are LIES.

          10. itsfun January 26, 2017

            Why is it when someone is wrong on a issue, they are automatically called a liar by many on this site?

          11. The lucky one January 26, 2017

            For clarity, I did not say or imply that you are a liar. Trump and his lackeys certainly are though. We are all wrong on ocaision but I think those that rely on Trump or his propaganda team for info will be wrong more than most.

          12. itsfun January 26, 2017

            I didn’t mean to imply you called me a liar and I am sorry you thought I did. I was just talking in general about how some on this site do that. We are never going to agree on a lot of issues, but it will be just that, a disagreement. Its okay for us to disagree, that is one of the things that make our country great. We have never called each other names and I am sure it will remain that way.

  4. yabbed January 24, 2017

    Donald Trump is nothing more than a scam artist.

    Well, he IS fat and ugly, too. And stupid.

    Reply
  5. 1Zoe55 January 24, 2017

    It wasn’t that Trump possessed the skills to win, rather he tapped into an anger that was encouraged by daily Fox news telecasts that disapproved and disparaged President Obama and our federal government. The right wing radio and television commentators such as O’Reilly, Hannity and Limbaugh did their bit too with their constant criticisms bordering on hate. It’s as if all of the above want to destroy the government, replacing it with the billionaires who now comprise the presidency and his cabinet. We now have the most vulgar and stupid man ever as our president. Trump and his family are grifters, out to make a buck using whatever federal resources they can get away with. I’ve never despised a president like I do with this Trump and it saddens me when I think of the damage this idiot could do to America.

    Reply
  6. Stuart January 24, 2017

    It seems like what most people are ignoring was that they were used to seeing him on TV. He got to play a knowledgeable businessman. He was an actor. Just like Reagan.

    Dems will need to find their own actor if they ever want to win again. The presidency has become a celebrity contest. So, what movie star can the Dems nominate who can defeat Trump in four years? DiCaprio? Clooney? Pacino?

    Reply
  7. 1standlastword January 24, 2017

    The astonishing fact that Donald J. Trump is our president is the consequence of a historical fact that for the last 70 years or so establishment politicians have collectively been conducting political malpractice evidenced by the problems vexing our nation today.

    For a sampling they are: permanent warfare, income inequality, impoverished and crime ridden inner cities, busted up infrastructure, premature death due to addiction, mental illness, chronic violence and a lack of universal healthcare all of this precipitated by greed and the practice of predatory capitalism.

    And this will only get worse because public service at every level in of political office has become a highway to personal wealth and security. The research shows we are in an age when the ambitious lawmaker can become a millionaire

    And lastly the sardonic comment: “anybody can become president” is a testament of just how far we have fallen from the heights of the temperament and foresight of the founders ambitions for us achieve for the preservation of their august project, The United States of America.

    Take any number of examples provided by the current major party’s tacid approval and disregard for the principles of the constitution on behalf of Mr. Trump’s break with traditions–which for me shows his contempt for the People.

    That amounts to a repudiation of the solemnity the office he now holds.

    Reply
  8. angel fruit January 26, 2017

    Big orange Trumpster…hehehehehe so spot on….hehehehe:))))))

    Reply

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