There’s a lot to talk about as Trump takes office.
An “illegitimate” President?
Congressman/civil rights hero John Lewis touched a nerve here. Trump & Co. went nuclear. But the Russian hacking stories will persist. As will the golden-showers stain.
Trump supporters say, “Get over it. He won. He’s President. Show him some respect.”
This from the people who questioned Obama’s legitimacy for eight years? Who insisted he was born in Kenya? Who said ACORN stole the 2008 and 2012 elections? Who said the 2016 election was “rigged” (at least, they did before the election)?
The same Republicans who got together after Obama’s inauguration to make sure he failed? Who scuttled any pretense of bipartisanship? Who yelled “You lie” when he addressed Congress?
Now you want respect and deference for the new President?
We elect opposites
The contrast between the incoming and outgoing Presidents is breath-taking. But we always elect a President who is the opposite of the incumbent.
Ike was old, JFK was young. Nixon was a crook, Carter was honest. Carter was weak, Reagan was strong. Reagan was a hard-liner, Bush was kinder and gentler. Bush was out of touch, Clinton felt your pain. Clinton dallied with Monica, W wouldn’t. W was clueless, Obama was smart. Obama was smart, black, cerebral, measured, eloquent. Trump…well, he’s not.
(Also, by the way, Obama’s approval rating is 60 percent. Trump’s is 40.)
The next President, it’s safe to predict, will be Trump’s opposite. Unless it’s Pence.
Will Trump give up Twitter?
Why would he? It’s how he got elected.
Another rule about electing Presidents is that we always elect the one who masters the new, dominant form of communication.
Think FDR and radio, JFK and TV, Nixon and staged TV (by Roger Ailes), Reagan and stagecraft, Bush and negative ads, Clinton and late-night TV, Obama and social media/digital data.
Trump mastered the era of reality-TV, the smart-phone and Twitter. He has something like 46 million followers. He knows how to keep his message simple and punchy. Why stop?
Democrats should stop whining about it and start mastering what’s next. Because there’s always something next.
Is Trump Nixon Redux?
In 1968, Robert Kennedy said, “Richard Nixon represents the dark side of the American spirit.”
What would he say about Trump?
Trump has a lot of Nixon about him. He’s thin-skinned. He’s obsessed with his enemies. He hates the press. He’s on the side of the Silent Majority against the Establishment. He has testy relations with African-Americans and other minorities. He meddled in foreign affairs before he took office. He has a distant and even hostile relationship with his own Republican Party.
Nixon gave us six more years of war in Vietnam, an economic recession AND inflation, gas lines, an Enemies List, Watergate, impeachment and a constitutional crisis.
He also nearly wrecked the Republican Party in the 1974 mid-term elections. In North Carolina, there was one Republican left in the 50-member Senate. Democrats got a new lease on life. Jimmy Carter squandered his opportunity, but Jim Hunt, Bill Clinton and a whole new generation of Democrats across the country made the most of it.
This should be interesting.