I think it's going to take a while for people to get ready for the new normal, and that really nobody who voted against Trump wants to understand him or those who voted for him. I was really surprised, I guess, by editorials about his first hours in office. But yeah people are going to nitpick for weeks and months.
There was a great moment I saw from the Hoover Institution's You Tube channel when the host asked a reporter who has spent a lot of time with Trump and his team "I don't understand. How did millions of blue collar and poor working class people vote for this billionaire?" The first thing the reporter replied is "Have you watched 'The Apprentice'?" The host says, no I don't watch reality TV. To which the reporter replied, with a polite 'Duh'.
Trump is the billionaire that blue collar workers with no filter want to be. They communicate on the same level, and he has proven it. Everybody who looks down a these working class people and their reality shows is at a complete loss. But the answers are as plain as day. So really, how long are these clueless people going to keep the same media diet, if they truly want to understand the media language and political ambitions of that working class that stood up and elected this president?
At some point somebody (presumably of the current coastal pundit class) is going to have to point out this obvious thing - that Trump's responsiveness to the Americans who elected him is not an actual catastrophe, but a slap in the face of those who didn't. The problem will be getting activist partisans to stop amping their predictions of catastrophe. (As if they predicted anything yet). Or to torture a soundbite 'libsplaining' Trump to Americans.
People understand that Obama destroyed his competition by using social media and outflanking traditional means of stumping. But for the longest time, the traditional media had to play along the historical significance of the fist black American President. Some would say it put them in the tank for Obama. I said it. But the greater point is that Obama didn't need them so much as they needed him. He reached who he wanted and needed to reach. So did Trump.
Either of these sub-electorates is large and dynamic enough to defy categorization. I think that if I were in the campaign consulting business, I would be very quiet right about now. And so I think those people are. I haven't heard Carville or Matlin describe what went disastrously wrong with Clinton, not that I've been listening. But there is clearly no broad consensus among the 'experts' except the general assessment that half of America is curled into a ball rocking in the corner.
At today's magnificent Women's March in Los Angeles, there was what can only be described as a very very divergent set of opinions about what to say. i could talk about the march at length and I may do so, but I am reminded of the old psychological adage that people don't have weaknesses so much as they overuse their strengths. There were at least a dozen identifiable interest groups if they could be identified by their slogans. But those who bothered to characterize Trump specifically as the object of their scorn did so in predictable ways. I'm not particularly moved or motivated by this type of ad hominem, but it reminded me of the vehemence reserved for Dick Cheney in another era. Whereas Cheney was seen as the evil eminence behind a vapid Bush, Trump is the embodiment himself. The orange target is clear. I expect the ire will continue and I hope it doesn't rub off on Trump's people, only three of which so far I find independently admirable (Mattis, Tillerson & Kushner).
For me the only question worth considering at length is the extent to which Trump is or is not like Obama with regard to stepping aside for expertise. My impression and probably my greatest disappointment with Obama's White House was that given his weaknesses in foreign policy, he strove to reverse Bush in a relatively reactionary manner. And when he crossed the military part of that, he tended to throw expertise under the bus. I look at the Obama administration as a mediocre one with only Obama left standing intact. He hollowed out the Democrats and only the unsullied profile of Obama survived to his supporters, a subset of the American public that were completely T-boned by the phenomenon of Bernie Sanders. But my point is that non-partisan experts refused to work with Obama who determined he had to be the smartest guy in the room. So will Trump be that way? If so, then we will have another great mediocrity on top of the first, which will sink our capabilities even further below sea level. And of course whatever, outside of the control of the Federal government, goes wrong will probably get worse before the right people address it smartly. It is beyond my capacity to hope that citizens may take these burdens on at the state and local levels. So many seem dependent on the Feds. But the possibility exists.
The electorate has nothing better to do but continue their griping in the shape of the rhetoric of the campaigns. The media may snap out of their daze and give some deeper context, or they may milk those duds. I'll be on the lookout for references to FDR as a cue that reporting is still diseased. If the political shape of policy nuances between Obama's Interior and Trump's Interior must harken back two generations, for example, then we're getting nowhere fast. I expect media complacency, sadly, of the sort that requires reality show drama to break through. And this will serve the interests of Gramcian narrative. Ick.
What's weird, now that I think of it, is I know very little about what Obama might do in his new spare time but play spoiler. Does he really like golf?