Folks, I know some of y’all are huge Trump fans, and some not so much. Regardless of where you stand on the candidate himself, however, you can’t argue the fact that Trump IS a true phenomenon in the 2016 race — and one that has even the most seasoned political pundits eating a steady diet of crow these days.
For those who continue to scratch their heads over exactly what’s behind this phenomenon, NY Post columnist Michael Goodwin explains one theory he calls ‘The Pendulum Factor.’ It’s a factor Goodwin argues just might land Mr. Trump in the White House.
Via the NY Post:
If you’re having trouble understanding the phenomenal rise of Donald Trump, buck up — you’re not alone. Even political pros are dumbfounded.
They were shocked when the reality-TV star and businessman first grabbed the lead in national GOP polls. Now they’re double shocked as he soars in primary states, grabbing a 24-point lead in New Hampshire and a 15-point lead in South Carolina.
In one survey, Trump more than doubled his favorability ratings among Republicans in a single month, from 20 percent to 52 percent. The Hill newspaper called the turnaround “political magic” and the poll’s director, Patrick Murray of Monmouth University, called it “astounding.”
“That defies any rule in presidential politics that I’ve ever seen,” Murray told The Hill.
Other pollsters made similar comments, but a closer look shows an explanation. I call it the Pendulum Factor.
It reflects the fact that the legacy of each president includes the political climate he leaves behind. In plain English, Barack Obama’s most important failures as a leader begat Donald Trump’s success.
A favorable legacy among voters generally means the public wants more of the same in the next president. The clearest example is that Vice President George H.W. Bush succeeded Ronald Reagan in 1988, an election widely regarded as Reagan’s third term.
On the other hand, George W. Bush narrowly defeated Vice President Al Gore in 2000, a disputed election that was nonetheless seen as a repudiation of the scandal-scarred Bill Clinton era.
The pendulum swung back again when Obama followed Bush, who left office with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan unsettled and the economy cratering and jobs vanishing.
With Obama’s poll numbers underwater, the country wants change again. And Trump is the ultimate Un-Obama candidate, especially in style and attitude.
Is Trump indeed the anti-Obama? Well, that would certainly explain a lot of his popularity right there.
A telling example of the chasm between them involves the speech Obama gave in Berlin in July 2008. Still a senator, he called himself “a fellow citizen of the world.”
Seven years later, the citizen of the world has made a mess of things. From the rise of Islamic State to the horrific slaughters in Syria and the immigration chaos at home, along with the unchecked aggression of China, Russia and now Iran, Obama’s appeasement and blame-America approach are having disastrous consequences.
All the Western democracies are rattled, and their politics are scrambled by nervous and unhappy publics. The United States is not immune, but the unique culture of American exceptionalism, which Obama never embraced, is alive and well in many hearts. If there is anything most Americans hate more than war, it is seeing the country behaving like a weakling and being pushed around.
Trump is scoring as the perceived antidote. You cannot imagine him going to Germany and proclaiming himself a “citizen of the world.” The slogan on his hat says, “Make America Great Again,” and he summarized his message as, “We’re not gonna take it anymore!” Subtle he’s not.
Pat Buchanan, a former GOP presidential candidate, says Trump represents a “new nationalism.”
In truth, Trump’s ideas are as old as the country. He vows that America will not be cowed with him in the White House — and many people obviously believe him.
Just as you can’t imagine Trump echoing Obama’s soft internationalism, you can’t imagine Obama echoing Trump’s muscular nationalism.
Whether you’re for or against Trump as president, that his popularity suggests “the unique culture of American exceptionalism, which Obama never embraced, is alive and well in many hearts,” is indeed encouraging. And can we at least all agree that whomever we vote into the White House in November 2016 must be a champion of this American exceptionalism?
That’s not to deny their similarities. Both have thin skins and zero patience for dissent. Obama tries to govern through executive orders and it’s easy to envision a President Trump doing the same. A supporter calls Trump the “Obama for the right.”
If so, the cover of a German magazine that greeted Obama in 2008 also fits Trump. Stern magazine featured Obama’s picture with the words: “Savior — or demagogue?”
The pendulum doesn’t stop in the middle.
Provocative thought. What say you?