The students trooped into their 11 o’clock political science honors class looking like they all needed at least a week of beach time. As they slouched into chairs around the conference table, the Professor said, “Well, I guess you didn’t get much sleep last night. I was up until well after 4:00 AM. The election was truly historic. I feel like a mantle of freedom and hope has settled over the land. Let’s talk about what happened. First, any questions?”
Alison raised her hand and the Professor nodded in her direction. “You told us two weeks ago that Donald Trump would win the election when all the polls were pointing clearly to Secretary Clinton. What was the reason you were so confident of a Republican victory?”
“First, I wasn’t talking about a Republican victory. The traditional Republican party is now part of history. It will never be the same. And for the nation, that is a good thing. Its time had passed. The victory I spoke about was only about the Trump movement. The Trump victory has given me a perfect ‘teaching moment.’ We are here to learn how to think about how humans govern themselves and that requires us to learn how to sift information.
“All of us were bombarded with polls, the analysis of pundits, party propaganda, government leaks, thousands of hacked emails from behind the scenes actions of the Democratic party and the Clinton campaign. Some of it was ugly, but it was all revealing and intriguing. Some of it was relevant, but mostly it was distracting. Many analysts thought the deluge of emails revealing the naked ambitions of Secretary Clinton trying to hide her efforts to balance her sworn duty as American’s Secretary of State with her drive to amass personal wealth and power would destroy her campaign.
“Instead of waiting anxiously for the next dump of emails that would dominate the news, journalists, commentators, analysts and political talking heads should have focused on the fundamentals. Instead, they couldn’t get past the day-by-day exposure of the Democratic National Committee, debate stumbles, and Donald Trump’s off-message comments and his need to defend himself from every attack. All of this was exciting and made the grist for hundreds of TV comments, newspaper columns, attack ads and maps of shifting electoral votes state by state.
“The fundamentals I focused on were the dynamics of the primary process of both parties, the gradual metamorphosis of Donald Trump from a flamboyant TV star and successful billionaire real estate tycoon to a disciplined politician who could sound and look presidential and the gap between the governing elite of the Progressive Party and the needs and hopes of the people. My most important indicator was the disparity between the polls and the energetic masses of people who attended Trump rallies. If you listened carefully, you could hear the rumblings of a revolution in the heartland of America.
“How could you miss Mr. Trump’s success after success in the primary campaign? Remember when he carried every county in several states late in the primary campaign? He felt and listened to the message coming from the forgotten citizens of the ‘rust belt’, those hunting a job where none existed, the citizens who wondered how their leaders could ignore the flood of people and drugs pouring across our open borders, the silent suffering of America’s veterans, the chaos of the Middle East and the failure of trade, the decades of wage stagnation and the total lack of a foreign and economic policy to deal with the realities of terrorism and increasing debt.
“Donald Trump and his campaign leaders heard these cries for help and crafted their message to respond. No one else did. The only missing ingredient was finding the right messenger with sufficient political maturing to talk to the people instead of at them and the unbelievable energy required to take this fresh message throughout the land. Donald Trump was the right messenger. In the future, if another messenger is required, I hope the people will find another Donald Trump.
“Your assignment is to predict who President-Elect Trump will select for his cabinet.”
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