Trump campaign like reading a novel
Let me tell you just how Donald Trump became the nation’s president-elect. It’s really quite simple. He had a compelling story to tell that resonated with millions of Americans who have been browbeaten by the continuing and tiring clichés that have been coming out of the mouths of both political parties for decades.
The Trump victory could have come right out of a best selling novel. I have a small publishing company and am asked for editing help and content suggestions on a weekly basis. It’s part of my job to recognize a captivating story. And if ever there was the right occasion to spin a good yarn that many readers could identify with, Trump’s timing was perfect.
Remember that President Obama swept into office in 2008, with the wind at his back as he promised hope and change. But as Maureen Dowd wrote this week in The New York Times, “Obama lost touch with his revolutionary side and settled comfortably into being an Ivy League East Coast cerebral elitist who hung out with celebrities, lectured Congress and scorned the art of political persuasion.”
Hillary Clinton continued to stir the fires of resentment by giving over 75 speeches to Wall Street powerbrokers at more than $200,000 each. Besides a message of “continuing the legacy,” middle class Americans saw little change and the curdling of any real hope. Thus the foundation for “Trump-The Novel.”
I tell any aspiring novelist that a compelling suspense narrative needs to include several elements. There needs to be a threat, a villain, a victim, an opportunity, a solution and a hero. Trump recognized these essentials from the get-go, and built his initial campaign rhetoric on a direct appeal to blue collar America, many of whom had gone from the hope of 2008 to the hopelessness of 2016. He set out his story by addressing each of these elements.
The Threat — Immigration, globalization as jobs moved overseas, new technology that allowed computers to replace workers, racial and cultural anxieties, and a feeling that the Washington elites were completely out of touch.
The Victims— Blue collar Americans, many who were either out of work, or who were facing a changing and lowering of their previous standard of life. The guaranteed health care and retirement benefits had become a thing of the past for many workers, with many losing their jobs all together and others hanging on by a thread.
The Opportunity — Trump saw an opening in this widespread frustration and made a simple and forceful call to arms. Make America Great Again. The nation hadn’t won a war since World War II, and the country was enmeshed in military brush fires all over the Middle East. The haves were making big bucks in the stock market while the average wage earner was just trying to keep his head above the economic fray. To many, America was falling behind, and it was time for someone to call for a rebirth of past greatness. In stepped Donald Trump.
The Villain — You’ve got to have a bad guy in any novel. Trump focused his attacks on immigrants, foreign trade deals and the establishment centered on Wall Street and Washington elites.
The Solution — Build a wall, cut taxes, drain the swamp in Washington where lobbyists control the agenda, make other countries have more skin in the game of terrorist protection. It was a message that resonated throughout white collar America.
The Hero — Of course, none other than Donald Trump.
So the novel resonated with millions of Trump supporters who saw a larger than life billionaire as the whiplash to the hope and change promised in 2008. Trump’s story of how he won has been written.
So will it be a best seller? And will there be a sequel? We will find out in four years. But whatever happens in the future, I’m ready to be his publisher. Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has a compelling story to tell.
“I’ve had a beautiful, I’ve had a flawless campaign. You’ll be writing books about this campaign.” – Donald Trump, July 29, 2016
Peace and Justice
Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and at jimbrownusa.com.