Trump is bringing more change than Obama ever could
Calling the Audience of President Trump: "He's bringing more hope and change than Obama ever could."
I know, I know. For some people, this is blasphemy. Yet one of the biggest ironies of Trump's presidency is Obama.
He has discredited core conservative beliefs, boosted the popularity of left-wing causes and millions of Americans to face ugly truths about racism and bigotry that they used to deny.
I never thought I'd say this. As an African-American man, I felt pride when Obama walked into the White House. I loved seeing how he devoted himself to his family. I smiled when he broke into an Al Green song onstage. And I blinked away tears When I saw that Oval Office photograph of a five-year-old black boy reaching out to touch Obama's hair just to see if it really feels like his.
And yet I wonder today if I and others drew the wrong lesson from his election. Maybe the deep, systemic changes that so many yearn for could not come through his temperate, "No Drama Obama" approach. Chaos and crisis ̵
1; Trump's leadership style.
I thought of what Dutch historian Rutger Bregman said when explaining why it is not a good enough issue when confronting issues like global warming and the highest level of income inequality since before the Great Depression. These types of challenges are just as derided as "radical" or "utopian," he said.
"We're now in a time in American history and in world history where we can not just afford to be moderate, "said Bregman, whose call for the Dodge Tax at the World Economic Forum at Davos went viral.
"We can not afford to be tinkering around the edges," he added. But it always starts on the fringes with people who are first dismissed as crazy and unreasonable and ridiculous. "
Change works in even more mysterious ways. Trump is, in some ways, unintentionally doing what Obama is supposed to do.
Trump has banished the ghost of Ronald Reagan
When Obama first ran for the Oval Office in 2008, he was widely criticized for saying he wanted to be Ronald Reagan.
Reagan's governing philosophy – slimming taxes for the wealthy, reducing government regulation, cutting social programs – has been the dominant political ideology for the last 30 years. Reagan distilled it into a memorable phrase: "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem."
He did marshal government resources to save the nation from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Hey, so sparked the longest economic expansion in US history.
Obama's cultural impact is therefore incalculable. Democratic leaders: He was haunted by. (19659019) Democratic leaders: He was "haunted by the Reagan era. " He governed at times more like a Republican. He proposed cutting Social Security to ensure its long-term viability. He reduced government spending. He even included conservative ideas in his signature legislative achievement, Obamacare.
Then Trump came along.
His lesson: Do not fear the Gipper.
He did this first as a candidate when he repudiated some of the core beliefs of Reaganomics. He said he would never cut Social Security "like every other republican," and vowed to raise taxes on wealthy people, like hedge fund managers. And he won with overwhelming Republican support, including moderate.
Trump's successful campaign showed that conservative voters wanted to raise their taxes on the wealthy and cherished big-spending programs – so long as it helped them and not racial minorities.
Then he did something else that Obama could not do: He made Obamacare popular.
During his first year in office, Trump said he would not succeed. Obamacare. It failed because of an unexpected backlash. Trump threatened to take it away.
Now a new generation of Democratic leaders is walking a path that Trump, in an odd way, helped clear. They are talking about raising taxes on the wealthy, expanding government programs like Medicare and Medicaid and creating a "Green New Deal."
The public seems ready to follow. Public support for left-wing policy-making has reached a 60-year high.
The Democrats in 2019 "Ryan Cooper wrote in essay for The Week Titled," Democrats Need to Get Over Their Obama Nostalgia. "
The Democrats' new presidential model is not Reagan's their greatest president: Franklin D. Roosevelt. They are embracing what one historian calls a "Rooseveltian vision of activist government."
Meanwhile, Trump has emboldened progressives in an even more counterintuitive way.
He's triggered a 'Trumplash' against his own policies
A CNN commentator once coined a memorable phrase to describe why Trump was elected.
"This was a whitelash against a changing country," Van Jones said on election night in 2016. "It was whitelash against a black president in part."
"Trumplash," a ferocious backlash against the president that's boosted progressives and weakened conservatives in several ways.
Trump has acted at times like an Oval Office double agent – a conservative by virtue of his rhetoric, but one whose actions tend to hurt his cause.
He's pushed into politics in 1965.
His denigration of women inadvertently helped inspire a record number of women running for the House in the 2018 midterms. And his anti-Muslim rhetoric helped inspire a record number of Muslims to run for office.
Latinos, the nation's second-largest ethnic group,
now lean decisively toward the Democratic Party.
The National Rifle Association has actually grown weaker in part because of a "Trump slump." Gun sales have dramatically lost because no one is worried about Obama taking their guns anymore, and Trump is seen as gun-friendly. Christians' steadfast support for Trump.
Trump also helped do something else that Obama could not. He revived the Obama Coalition, the group of young voters, and racial minorities that put Obama first in office.
That coalition sat out the 2010 and 2014 midterms, leading to huge losses for the Democrats. Trump and Republicans during the 2018 midterms. That election featured the highest voter turnout in a century, with young people voting in record numbers.
That progressive wave is expected to spill into the 2020 presidential election. Voter turnout in 2020 is expected to reach its highest level in decades – some say since 1908.
He's sparked a more enduring form of hope
Trump has done so something even stranger: He's arguably brought more hope than Obama did, and here's why.
The hope of the Obama era became centered on a charismatic figure. That does not last. The legacy of great presidents outlives them. Franklin Roosevelt forged a New Deal Coalition that lasted for at least 30 years after his death. The Reagan coalition was lasted long after its term ended.
Obama's coalition evaporated after he left office.
The hope sparked by the Trumplash though, is not centered on a charismatic figure. The anti-Trump "resistance" is built on the backs of ordinary citizens who have mobilized. That is a more durable form of hope.
It's not as if Obama did not know about the limits of charismatic leadership. He was a former community organizer who said in his farewell address, "Change only happens when ordinary people get involved … and come together to demand it."
Yet somehow during his presidency he became this messianic figure who was going to lead a "glorious dance into a shining new era."
"Yes we can" became "He's got this."
That's not how long-lasting change occurs, said Kevin Kruse, a historian at Princeton University.
"There was the old Green Lantern theory in the Obama years." He said, "Kruse told me. Obama gets replaced by Trump.
"But so, that's just not how change works. America's racism
There's one problem, though, that even Obama would not
Remember when people used the phrase, "post-racial?"
Then Trump. It was the notion that the US had left behind its racist past came along.
White could not do that because people would point to it.
"It doesn ' the president is, "Andrews told me.
Trump's racist rhetoric has been inspired by some conservative white commentators like Joe Scarborough and Max Boot.
Boat wrote after Trump's racist tweets: "It's as blatant example of racism and xenophobia as we have seen in my lifetime … I am ashamed to have spent most of my life as a Republican."
That conversion has trickled down to many ordinary white Americans. According to one poll, racial prejudice has actually declined because Trump's racially inflammatory rhetoric has "pushed the majority of white Americans in the opposite direction."
Trump's words racist. No more "racially infused" or "racially charged" phrases.
In this way Trump has taken away one of the most effective weapons used by racists – plausible deniability, Kruse told me.
"Racist policies work better when they do not seem to be racist, "Kruse said. I believe in neighborhood schools – "I do not believe in segregation, it's not voter suppression, it's voter integrity" – If you put
"Once the veneer comes off, a lot of people in the middle want to leave," he added. "Trump has taken away the veneer. "
Staring into the abyss: America faces two possible futures
What many see beyond this veneer, though, is frightening of hate. "
Obama and Trump are two visions of this country By next year, the majority of Americans under 18 want to be non-white.
"Th e US faces two possible futures: a thriving nation that embraces its new demographic makeup, or an escalation of fighting, racism and xenophobia, "one commentator said recently.
So which future will we choose? I really do not know. There's no law that says we deserve a happy ending. Democracies the all the time. Tragedy is part of history.
But so many people hoped that Obama's election would be different. People talked about it in religious terms, as if its ascension meant we were getting closer to the promised land.
Maybe we expected too much.
It's hard enough for some white Americans to accept a black president.
The Trumplash, though, has forced us to ask questions that we can no longer avoid. Pundits say the nation's "essence" and "soul" are now at stake. One said the sight of Trump's "leading a white mob in a chant about sending a black congresswoman's home"
But maybe it's looking for chilling scenes that wants to make us turn away from the abyss. We do not wait anymore for some messianic figure from the left or right to fix it for us.
Instead, we want to say "We're the ones we've been waiting for."
That's the only hope and change I believe in now.