This was going to happen
2016 is the story that will be written about a lot.
It essentially starts in 2007.
In 2007, the GOP still resembles the party of Bush, and his potential successors are McCain, Romney, Huckabee, and Ron Paul. All traditionally Republican for the most part.
But instead– the first black president, a well-educated professorial liberal, is elected, succeeding a “people’s” president in W. Blow number one.
Nationalized health care is the big blow number two. It’s been on the agenda since Hillary became first lady in ’92, and it’s seen as one of the last big institutions that can be brought to the national level. It passes and is held up against Republican outcry, in a series of events that will frame a (legitimately conservative) fight for the next few years. The fight has some merit, as 2016 begins to see some cracks in the ACA. It also spawns the tea party movement, which argues that government is becoming too big and tackling problems outside of its supposed sphere of influence.
Blow number three is when and why things start to get much worse. We experience the third big wave in civil rights, marked by arguments around same-sex marriage, prejudice against minorities in law enforcement, a national minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, gun reform, among others. This progression over several years, especially after ACA, is what allows the tea party to become a national force, but rather than just being against a growing government, they’re also anti-compromise, anti-establishment, anti-science.
Why did this happen? With every issue during the Obama presidency, the Republican party is increasingly unwilling to solve any of these issues, other than “those aren’t traditional values” or “you can’t take away our guns.” So with every issue pushed through by Obama and an increasingly liberal electorate and media, the Republicans, though especially the tea party, feel like the country is being taken away from them. In a circular cycle, they refuse to act on anything, Obama is forced to use other means. They feel more victimized. And so on. So the tea party wins the GOP.
Blow number four is the continuous effort to undermine the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency, pushed primary by Donald Trump. It’s not about the birth certificate, it’s about framing him as un-American. He can read the tea party and plans his 2016 run, becoming an increasingly active member of the political sphere. And that’s why in 2016 he denies doing this– he’s accomplished the goal he wanted, but doesn’t want to be associated with contributing to it.
Blow number five is the relationship between Fox and the GOP. While always a conservative outlet, Fox now becomes tea party to reflect the GOP, and as both groups feel more victimized, they resort to inaccurate and overblown information to keep the movement roaring.
Keep in mind this is during (statistically) America’s best days so far.
Blow number six is the 2012 election, which is not important in and of itself, but rather for the precent it sets. The failing candidacies of Santorum, Perry, and Bachman foreshadow the future: the obstructionist, deeply religious, anti-science tea party conservatives are appearing. But while they fail, it’s not the end of it.
Blow number seven is modernization. Many traditional industries shrink, disproportionally affecting the voters Trump has identified and courted. He tells them exactly what to blame– immigrants, overbearing regulations, liberal environment policy, and trade.
Blow number eight is ISIS. Weak Obama failed to extinguish them, and Strong Donald knows this is America, second to none, and they can wiped off the face of the earth, despite little knowledge of the problem among larger threats in the world. Everyone has heard of ISIS and they’re afraid.
The ability to mass broadcast and share a message without media support is blow number nine. Trump reaches voters easily, even when Fox finally challenges them.
And finally, number ten, an opposition candidate ridden with scandals, coziness with Wall Street and the Mainstream Media. This isn’t purely tea-party rhetoric, it’s been pushed by the GOP since 1992. Would Trump beat Obama, provided he could run? The odds are surely less.
So it should be no surprise that in 2016, after years of feeling like their country is being taken away from them, Trump soars. He calls out fears spread by Fox in the tea party, reactionary 8 years. He speaks like a blue-collar man, a drastic departure from Obama’s professorial nature may Americans can’t relate to. He is vulgar and “politically incorrect”, like “normal people.” He wants to Make America Great Again, being the voice for the victims of theft. This is the “real America”. Comparatively the other establishment candidates look weak, something we “can’t afford after Dictator Obama took the country”. They want to rip down the corrupt establishment, regardless of how vulgar their candidate. “Maybe we need that part, too.” It is hardly difficult not to understand where this sentiment and candidacies came from, no matter how filled with fallacies it is.
So, alarming as this candidacy may be, it’s not difficult to explain, it shouldn’t have been difficult to foresee, and it’s not without its equivalents both historically and currently across the world. They don’t want roundabout policy talk, they want straight talk and they want action. They don’t want politicians, they want successful businessmen. They want strength, and don’t see the danger. Any attempt to disavow Trump only makes the sentiment stronger, and vulgar tapes are indeed just a distraction from saving America.
This couldn’t have happened in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, or 2016. And he won’t win, but that may not matter. He has split the GOP into a civil war. He has cast doubts into the integrity of the American democracy. He has abandoned the necessity of nuance and decorum. Why nobody saw this coming, especially in the GOP, is baffling, and for that they will suffer and rather than them losing America, what we really lose is a presence of intellectual conservatism. And that’ll take years and years to come back, if we’re lucky.