Barack Obama created the opportunity for a populist like Donald Trump through his failures.
Three truths fuel Donald Trump. One, Barack Obama is the Dr. Frankenstein of the supposed Trump monster. If a charismatic, Ivy League-educated, landmark president who entered office with unprecedented goodwill and both houses of Congress on his side could manage to wreck the Democratic party while turning off 52 percent of the country, then many voters feel that a billionaire New York dealmaker could hardly do worse.
If Obama had ruled from the center, dealt with the debt, addressed radical Islamic terrorism, dropped the politically correct euphemisms, and pushed tax and entitlement reform rather than Obamacare, Trump might have little traction. A boring Hillary Clinton and a staid Jeb Bush would likely be replaying the 1992 election between Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush — with Trump as a watered-down version of third-party outsider Ross Perot. But America is in much worse shape than in 1992. And Obama has proved a far more divisive and incompetent president than George H. W. Bush.
Little is more loathed by a majority of Americans than sanctimonious PC gobbledygook and its disciples in the media. And Trump claims to be PC’s symbolic antithesis. Making Machiavellian Mexico pay for a border fence or ejecting rude and interrupting Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from a press conference is no more absurd than allowing more than 300 sanctuary cities to ignore federal law by sheltering undocumented immigrants. Is it sober and judicious of the Obama administration to ignore immigration laws and effectively open the southern border wide to all comers?
Putting a hold on the immigration of Middle Eastern refugees is no more illiberal than welcoming into American communities tens of thousands of unvetted foreign nationals from terrorist-ridden Syria. Would the Obama administration allow a mass entrance of persecuted Middle East Christians or displaced Ukrainians? In terms of messaging, is Trump’s crude bombast any more radical than Obama’s teleprompted scripts? Trump’s ridiculous view of Russian president Vladimir Putin as a sort of Art of the Deal geostrategic partner is no more silly than Obama insulting Putin as Russia gobbles up former Soviet republics with impunity. Trump’s confusions are reminiscent of Obama’s own, though Trump knows how to pronounce the word “corpsman,” and that there are not 57 states. Obama callously dubbed his own grandmother a “typical white person,” introduced the nation to the racist and anti-Semitic rantings of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and petulantly wrote off small-town Pennsylvanians as near-Neanderthal “clingers.” Did Obama lower the bar for Trump’s disparagements?
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