Don­ald Trump and the au­then­tic black swan event

The ex­treme aber­ra­tion was the elec­tion of Barack Obama

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Mon­ica Crow­ley

The elec­tion of Don­ald Trump as pres­i­dent has been re­garded by some as a black swan event: an ex­tremely rare oc­cur­rence so un­ex­pected and con­se­quen­tial that it gen­er­ates stun­ning changes in the ex­ist­ing or­der. But in ret­ro­spect, the elec­tion of Mr. Trump is not the black swan event.

No, the elec­tion of Barack Obama was the seis­mic aber­ra­tion.

And the tri­umph of Mr. Trump is the na­tional self­cor­rec­tion back to the cen­ter­right, a state of nor­malcy, and most im­por­tantly, to the coun­try’s nat­u­ral and right­ful ex­cep­tion­al­ism.

It turns out that Mr. Trump is the rule, while Mr. Obama was the anoma­lous ex­cep­tion.

The Obama cult of per­son­al­ity was built pri­mar­ily on five things: the dy­namism of the man, the power of his per­sonal story, the change he rep­re­sented (gen­er­a­tional, po­lit­i­cal, racial), the emo­tional draw of white guilt, and the call on the Amer­i­can heart for ide­al­ism. The Clin­tons, quickly cast out as the old brand, were re­placed by the new Obama brand that promised a dif­fer­ent kind of pol­i­tics.

He was bril­liant, savvy, charis­matic and a su­perb rhetori­cian who knew how to win. Per­haps even more im­por­tantly, as the first vi­able black can­di­date for pres­i­dent, he al­lowed white Amer­ica to be­lieve it had ad­vanced to­ward van­quish­ing racism once and for all in the ultimate feel-good mo­ment.

Mr. Obama had never ex­pressed an unadul­ter­ated love for Amer­ica, only deep cri­tiques of its racial di­vides, so­cial and eco­nomic in­jus­tices, and bul­ly­ing ways in the world. His de­tached per­sona mir­rored a de­tach­ment from fun­da­men­tal Amer­i­can val­ues.

It helped that he was cool, as in “hip,” but he was also cool as in “un­flap­pable,” which came in handy as he led the left­ist rev­o­lu­tion. How could some­one that seem­ingly ra­tio­nal want to rad­i­cal­ize the United States? Most peo­ple would not be­lieve the truth about him and his mo­tives — un­til it was too late.

Once he was sworn in as pres­i­dent, how­ever, the Amer­i­can peo­ple took a back­seat to his re­dis­tri­bu­tion­ist agenda. Af­ter all, the peo­ple weren’t crit­i­cal to his plans. In fact, we were an im­ped­i­ment to them, some­thing to be fi­nessed, lied to and ma­nip­u­lated. As Jon Ste­wart aptly noted in Rolling Stone in fall 2011, “I think he was al­ready kind of over us by the time he got into of­fice.”

To Mr. Obama, any pub­lic dis­ap­proval of his plans needed to be re­moved or crushed. Cam­paign­ing as a tran­scen­dent fig­ure and gov­ern­ing as a com­mit­ted re­dis­tri­bu­tion­ist in­volved two dif­fer­ent skill sets. Once he be­came pres­i­dent, the uni­fy­ing, am­ber-lit guy dis­ap­peared and was re­placed by the guy who slapped down Repub­li­can con­gres­sional lead­ers and the Amer­i­can peo­ple with a curt “I won” and a re­lent­less for­ward march to­ward ex­ec­u­tive ac­tions and strictly party line dic­tates.

As time passed, the Obama hyp­no­sis be­gan to wear off and the re­dis­tri­bu­tion­ists’ agenda ripened. Pretty soon, “stim­u­lus,” om­nibus spend­ing, bailouts, Oba­macare, Dodd-Frank fi­nan­cial reg­u­la­tion, and suf­fo­cat­ing reg­u­la­tions by the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency and Na­tional La­bor Re­la­tions Board were no longer the dy­namic new poli­cies of the hip pres­i­dent but the de­struc­tive poli­cies of a pres­i­dent bent on de­con­struct­ing Amer­ica. De­spite his as­sur­ances that he’d de­liver glow­ing eco­nomic re­sults, he in­stead pro­duced crip­pling eco­nomic weak­ness.

Within a few months of their takeover, the Democrats’ ca­su­al­ties be­gan to pile up. In Novem­ber 2009, vot­ers in deep-blue New Jersey and pur­ple Vir­ginia elected Repub­li­can gov­er­nors. In Jan­uary 2010, vot­ers in even bluer Mas­sachusetts elected a Repub­li­can se­na­tor, Scott Brown, to re­place Edward Kennedy. In Novem­ber 2010, vot­ers across the coun­try swept Repub­li­cans into con­trol of the House and closer to con­trol of the Senate, which they ul­ti­mately de­liv­ered in an­other Repub­li­can­sweep year, 2014.

Last week, the vot­ers de­liv­ered the final coup de grace to Mr. Obama and his agenda, by turn­ing con­trol of the White House, the Senate and House and about two-thirds of the na­tion’s gov­er­nor­ships and state leg­is­la­tures over to Repub­li­cans.

Shortly af­ter he was elected, Mr. Obama and his sup­port­ers in the po­lit­i­cal class told us that he had re­drawn the po­lit­i­cal map by cre­at­ing a new, long-term Demo­crat ma­jor­ity. In­stead, by ram­ming through his left­ist agenda, he dec­i­mated his party and cre­ated the con­di­tions for its com­plete re­ver­sal. And he gave rise to a Repub­li­can pop­ulist who has al­ready suc­ceed­ing in re­draw­ing the po­lit­i­cal map in ways that threaten the Democrats’ longterm vi­a­bil­ity.

That is a supreme irony, and per­haps his real legacy.

Af­ter be­ing led on this long de­tour into the desert by a faux po­lit­i­cal Moses in Mr. Obama, we are now be­ing led out of it by a more im­prob­a­ble but au­then­tic po­lit­i­cal Moses in Don­ald Trump.

And while the ac­tual black swan event is com­ing to its end, the guy from Queens, N.Y., is al­ready be­gin­ning to re­store our equi­lib­rium.

Shortly af­ter he was elected, Mr. Obama and his sup­port­ers in the po­lit­i­cal class told us that he had re­drawn the po­lit­i­cal map by cre­at­ing a new, longterm Demo­crat ma­jor­ity.

Mon­ica Crow­ley is ed­i­tor of on­line opin­ion at The Wash­ing­ton Times.


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