Perhaps more than any time in the history of the United States, politics appears to be turned upside down this year. I have considered myself a “traditional” Republican for over 50 years, as was my father and grandfathers before me. Now, I suddenly find myself registered as a Republican in a political party I barely recognize.
And I am not the only Republican pondering this dilemma. Even the Speaker of the House of Representatives and many other “leaders” of a more traditional Republican Party are attempting to understand the rapid rise of Donald Trump and his supporters within the GOP. Change is inevitable.
The change in the Republican Party has occurred in warp time. However, the beginnings of the takeover of the party, by mainly very right wing forces, first began when Senator John McCain selected former Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate. Elements of her supporters and the growth of the Tea Party substantially changed the composition of the traditional Republican Party.
But, the fact is that many traditional Republicans voted for Donald Trump. It is somewhat fascinating that the Republican race for president has been resolved before the Democratic Party has definitively selected their presidential candidate. Should logic prevail, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will face off against each other for the presidency of the United States. Not your traditional election for president. Clinton has been around for decades and Trump is basically a household name in America. Hillary has baggage, and Trump has bombast. Hillary has strong supporters, and so does Trump. Both have access to vast sums of money. Both have strong opinions about the role of government and America’s place in the world. These differences will be vividly demonstrated in a general election campaign that will be viscous and personal. Both candidates are known for their strong desire to win.
So far, Trump has gotten himself to be the presumptive Republican nominee with his own plan, his own style, and his own playbook. Going forward, his shift on these factors may determine how he is perceived as a candidate for president.
Both traditional politics and demographics have been changing over the past several electoral cycles. The Democratic Party has become an amalgam of minorities, union members, and progressives of several stripes. The Republican Party is no longer dominated by country club types, bankers, and the merchant class. Many voters this fall will need to have some more of the Clintons’ antics explained to them, almost as a history lesson. Trump, having been a reality television celebrity, may be more identifiable. Then, let’s face it: Reagan had been both a Democrat and an actor. No comparison intended here.
Trump has demolished 16 other more traditional Republicans. Clinton has shown a surprising weakness in many states on several occasions. She is still in a struggle with an avowed socialist, who is continuing to win primaries. The political world has indeed turned upside down.
Only a few months ago, the coronation of Hillary was making the nightly news and news anchors were casting wholescale doubt regarding the candidacy of Donald Trump. Bernie was not then, even conceived as a threat to the seemingly anointed, Hillary.
How the world turns.
The world remains a sinister and dangerous place. The U.S. economy is shaky at best. Segments of the nation’s population have insufficient jobs or no jobs. Traditional values are being seriously challenged, and politically correct language has contributed significantly to the continued dumbing down of America. A fact not anymore ignored by many American’s.
The candidates for president this year have gone where previous candidates have not dared. The end result of this great change remains to be determined.
But, make no mistake, the political world has turned upside down.
This basic fact highlights the changes in our nation and our society. Just as before the Revolutionary War, the song “The World Turned Upside Down” surely is applicable to the 2016 Presidential election. Where this all goes, and how this nation moves forward, will surely be worth watching, from any front row seat.
For all the words already expended in attempts to define and explain this election year, there will be thousands and thousands yet to come. Especially with the constant necessity to fill up the twenty-four hour news cycle.
As the political world has been turned upside down it is not easy to discern if the news cycle forms the campaign or the campaign forms the news cycle.
America has indeed entered a very new realm in its political life and future.