Flipping the Trump Phenomenon 180 degrees
It's tough to admit that one is wrong, but not if one can learn from it. First the miscalculations, and then a new perspective.
- I was wrong when I treated his entry into the race as a publicity stunt.
- I was wrong when I thought his wisecrack about McCain's non-heroism would cause his campaign to implode.
- I was wrong when I thought his rough personality and discourteous speaking would sink him.
- I was wrong when I concluded that his missing detailed policy knowledge would edge him out of the debates with the GOP contenders.
- I was wrong when I believed he would fade in the primaries when he called people names ("Lying Ted" and "Little Marco").
- I was wrong when I believed that his business dealings would make voters turn away in droves.
- I was wrong when I thought he should turn over his tax returns or else lose the nomination and elections.
- I was wrong when I believed that his comments about the wall and disparaging remarks about immigrants would lead to election losses. (He got 29% of the Hispanic vote.)
- I was wrong when I thought the October Surprise about groping was about to doom his victory chances. (I didn't want the news media to win, but I didn't think he would, either.)
- I was (happily) wrong when I thought Hillary would make mincemeat of him in the policy debates.
- I was (happily) wrong when I thought Hillary would defeat him in the election.
Political pundits could lengthen that list, since they get paid to keep track of every little movement and stir in D.C.
What am I supposed to learn from the brute reality embodied in that list? Populism wins? America has been degraded? It goes deeper.
Let's flip the Trump Phenomenon 180 degrees. Here are just a few items in my thought experiment:
- What if his bombing the Syrian airfield was the right thing to do in international relations (leaving aside the moral question, which can be used to support the action)?
- What if his progress against ISIS is right?
- What if his Afghanistan speech and new military policy there show wisdom, sorely lacking in the last administration?
- What if he is hitting the right notes in his "Rocket Man" slams? (Think of Reagan's Evil Empire and Bush's Axis of Evil.)
- What if his hard denunciation of nations in his U.N. speech was right, though traditional conservatives thought he was wrong? (He sounded a lot like an Old Testament prophet to me.)
- As to the NFL protests, what if his calling out the angry left that has insinuated itself into the wonderful and church-going black community was the right thing to do?
- What if his SOB comment, though inartful, won't sink him politically because it expresses what millions of people are feeling, though traditional conservatives tut-tutted him?
- What if he is right on the trade deals? (I saw a report on NHK World News, a Japanese news and culture broadcast, that says Japan does indeed slap tariffs on our products.)
- How am I supposed to react when I have heard many Christian leaders say in public, but not in the mainstream news media, that this man is doing God's work in bulldozing the old ways and knocking things around, just like an Old Testament prophet – that he's a "chaos candidate"? (At first I thought they were crazy, but what if they're right?)
- How am I supposed to react when I saw a report from a woman who serves on Trump's spiritual advisory committee, which said that he wants his White House to be known as prayerful – the most praying White House in history?
- What if all the tut-tutting from traditional conservatives (like me) is one big miscalculation, while Trump, in the main, is touching a nerve that needs to be touched?
Not everything Trump says or does is correct – and the same goes for you and me. But what if the general trend of a bulldozer president is what the doctor ordered at this time in our nation's history, at this time? He knows how to fight the left, regardless whether one sees America embroiled a culture "war" or just an intense discussion.
There is an undeniable Teflon quality to him. That to me is a sign that he is a cultural phenomenon that could benefit this country greatly. We shall see how this thought experiment goes, when people vote in 2018 and 2020.
James M. Arlandson's website is Live as Free People, where he has posted all sorts of cool things lately.