Call it right or wrong. Celebrate or mourn. Americans have elected Donald Trump, a billionaire real estate mogul still seen by his supporters as a common man, with no experience in elected office, as the next president of the United States.
He’s a Republican outsider who landed the GOP nomination by lording his celebrity status over more than a dozen other Republicans from both the party’s traditional conservative wing and its neoconservative rebellion.
Then he took on and defeated Hillary Clinton, the long-anointed Democratic nominee. She struggled more than anyone expected in gaining that nomination over 75-year-old Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist whose more radical ideas of social and economic reform captured the hearts of millennials and other young voters.
Ironically, Clinton could still win the popular vote, but Trump held a solid grip on the Electoral College.
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This dizzying result of a dizzying political year can only mean one thing: Dysfunction, a state in which things that aren’t expected or traditional happen as a matter of course, is the new normal.
The roughly 60 million of people in just the right states who swept Donald Trump into the White House looked at what had become normal and didn’t like it.
They wanted change, and not nicer, smarter change that Barack Obama promised when he was elected president in 2008. They wanted Trump, who promised to break things.
His supporters were not just unhappy — they were angry.
They see their nation in peril, its Constitution ignored or deliberately misconstrued by an elected class whose only goal is perpetuating its own power and privilege.
They see an economy that may have delivered high-paying manufacturing jobs for them but holds no such promise for their children.
They blame international trade, aided by treaties that are unfavorable to the United States, for the loss of economic promise, more so than decades of automation that have steadily stripped jobs away from traditionally labor-intensive industries.
Many are white and male and not college-educated, and although they tend to live in white enclaves and have little close contact with immigrants, they see immigrants as an overwhelming threat.
They see abortion and gay marriage not just as wrong but as evil.
Most of all, they are looking for a leader, an alpha male who will “tell it like it is,” will act fast against all internal and external threats, will retake the world-power status they see as lost to the U.S. by a long line of weak leaders.
For that, we now have — come Jan. 20, Inauguration Day — President Donald Trump.
He’ll need all the help he can get.