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Opinion: Will 2016 Be Remembered As the Year that Torpedoed the Political Status Quo?



In an ivory tower somewhere, political puppeteers are looking at television screens and assorted monitors and shouting, “The peasants are revolting,” all the while wondering how it happened. The proper pockets had been lined and the appropriate palms greased to assure that the right people would glide easily to their party nominations. So what happened?

The Democrats’ version of la Cosa Nostra, the Clintons had been promised clear sailing. Sure, Hillary Clinton would have to engage in a few mock debates with Rhode Island’s Lincoln Chafee, but Chafee changes party affiliations like most people change socks, so no big deal there. She also would have to endure some token appearances by the guy who used to be Baltimore’s mayor, but Clinton consigliore Debbie Wasserman Schultz had scheduled only four debates and they were all running on days and times when most leftists would be sipping chardonnay and whining about cheese so nobody would even have to see them.

Then some wacky Larry David impersonator with an old tie-dyed Che Guevara shirt shows up and starts ranting about career politicians and screws up the whole thing. Sure, Crazy Uncle Bernie is screaming about the political establishment even as the only job he’s ever had is feeding at the public trough. But when you’re promising free college, free health care, free weed, free sex and a buffet of free lunches to 20-somethings, that pesky fact isn’t really that important.

The GOP’s royal family looked around to see which Prescott heir was next in line to offer his service to the people, and the lucky sperm club winner this time out was John Ellis Bush. In all fairness, the Jebster really wasn’t a bad governor of Florida, and in most other years he’d be the go-to guy. With hundreds of millions of dollars and his mom’s blessing he was ready to roll. His campaign slogan, “I’m a Bush just like all of the other Bushes, in case you don’t like them then I’m something else,” didn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but that’s why he was ready to pay big bucks to campaign consultants. It’s their job to handle details like that.

Now, poor Jeb is gone and a loudmouth reality star with orange skin and yellow hair shows up and has been anointed as the inevitable nominee. What is there to say about Donald Trump that he hasn’t already said himself? Trump, a brilliant self-promoter and marketer, sensed the anger of the American people and seized upon it. I still don’t believe that he was serious about his candidacy when he first announced it. I’m still of the opinion that he was looking to further enhance his brand by using a quick dalliance with the political world before moving back to selling his made-in-China collection of ties and cufflinks.

But an amazing thing happened on the way to class at Trump University: Regular folks said that they’d had enough of the usual suspects.

Trump is most assuredly an egomaniac wrapped in a narcissist, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love this country. His response when questioned about specific policies is to bloviate about his poll numbers and then accuse everyone else of being a liar — but that doesn’t mean he can’t assemble a top-level team of advisers to help him. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a man who’s known Trump for 20-plus years said: “Trump is not suited to be president. Trump doesn’t have a presidential temperament.” Political opportunist and putative attorney general in a Trump administration Chris Christie said, “There is no one who is better prepared to provide America with strong leadership that it needs both at home and around the world than Donald Trump.” It’s amazing how things change in a matter of 16 days.

Barack Obama, a demagogue with the catchy slogan of hope and change, ran and won with the support of his Obamatons who claimed that every question asked of him was a hit and an attack. Now, a demagogue with the catchy slogan of Make America Great Again” is running with the support of his Trumpkins who decry every question as a hit and attack. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Of course, Kanye West and the hosts of “The View” have all promised to leave the United States if Trump wins. He does that have going for him. S

Jeff Katz is the host of Newsradio 1140 WRVA’s afternoon weekday talk show from 3-6 and can be heard on the Jeff Katz channel on iHeartRadio. He has twice been named best talk show host by the Associated Press. You can follow him at Facebook.com/radiokatz, on Twitter at jeffkatzshow or email him at jeff@wrva.com.

Opinions expressed on the Back Page are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Style Weekly.


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