And so this is how the Obama era of Hope & Change really ends. With the world turned upside down, and with President Obama having to pass the baton to Donald Trump.
That is going to be one helluva inauguration.
Trump stands today as the greatest disrupter in modern politics, the winner of the biggest upset imaginable, but for most of the campaign, he was not even the best argument for his own candidacy. That distinction belonged to the millions upon millions of everyday Americans who found in him the bare-knuckled brawler they were desperately seeking.
Their choice started as a surprise, as Republican primary voters turned their backs on a parade of supposedly better-qualified candidates to make the TV celebrity with the funny hair their battering ram against an arrogant establishment.
Their movement grew and spread until, early Wednesday, as the key states swung red one after another on TV maps, the last walls of resistance came tumbling down. It was a hallelujah moment, the ultimate underdog leading the forgotten masses to triumph. All the more so because Trump’s voters often took great risks and were routinely insulted and demeaned for their passion.
But they wore those insults as badges of honor, proudly calling themselves the “deplorables” and the “irredeemables.”
They would not be deterred, and today they have taken back their country.
Trump’s remarkable victory is their victory. It is a victory for democracy, for the common men and women of America.
The factory workers, the veterans, the cops, the kitchen help, people who plow the fields, make the trains run, pick up the trash and keep the country together and keep it moving — they are all now winners. As one, these cogs of our daily life rose up in a peaceful revolution, their only weapons the ballot box and their faith in the future.
This, the greatest nation ever conceived on Earth, proved once again that America is exceptional because Americans are exceptional.
Trump voters had the courage of their conviction to go against all their betters, all the poobahs and petty potentates of politics, industry and, above all, the fraudulent hucksters of the national liberal media.
And who, at this extraordinary juncture, dares say that Trump is not worthy of victory and of the salute of his countrymen? He has done what nobody thought he could, overcoming the doubts and scoffs every incredible step of the way.
No candidate in modern times and perhaps ever has suffered such abuse at the hands of the dominant culture. Virtually every day, nearly all the front pages and broadcasters in the entire country vilified him in an attempt to destroy him.
The late-night comics made fun of him like so much trailer trash, Wall Street saw him as a threat, Hollywood looked down on him and even the pope added his two cents of disdain.
It was dirty pool, against any standard of fairness and decency, but that was not the would-be assassins’ biggest mistake. It was that failing to destroy Trump, the elite smart set unleashed its contempt on his supporters.
The effect was the opposite of what was intended. Instead of demoralizing the Trumpsters, the nonstop attacks hardened them and made them more determined to finish what they had started.
Now America, at last, has a countervailing cultural force. Not so much a conservative standing against a liberal establishment, but rather a fearless populist who likes to mix it up and insists on doing things his way.
Sure, he’s thin-skinned and can be a bully, and there were many times when he looked like he was throwing his chances away with foolish fights. But for the last month, he has been a model of restraint and stuck resolutely to the issues, showing that he wanted to win more than he wanted to pop off or chase rabbits down holes.
Of course, new and greater challenges await, and the task of governing such a large, complex nation will present a sharp learning curve. But the first step in governing is winning the people’s consent, and there is no denying that Trump represents the mood for change every bit as much as Obama did eight years ago.
I said some time ago that the pendulum sometimes swings farther than we think it will, and that’s what we’re witnessing. Obama begat Trump.
A month ago, it looked as if Obama would pick his successor and bury Trump in a humiliating landslide. Yet today, Trump is the president-elect and the Obama legacy is in shambles.
As for Hillary Clinton, she didn’t deserve to be president, despite wanting it more than life itself.
She had no rationale for running, was so ethically challenged and so patently dishonest that, to me, it would be a give-up if she became president.
She would have made history and ruined the country. That was too high a price for shattering the glass ceiling.
Beyond Clinton, Obama and George Soros, Hollywood and the media, the losers include political correctness, that disease of the spirit that saps confidence in one’s own values and success.
Most important, Trump pledged to make America strong again, and if he does, he will be a success.