The polls opened in New Hampshire at midnight, and early results are favoring Bernie Sanders and John Kasich. That’s not really unexpected.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie relentlessly went after a stunned Marco Rubio at the last GOP debate — and in the days following — to prove the younger Senator is inexperienced and not ready to be president. That’s not really unexpected either.
Jeb Bush seems to be upping his profile a bit and gaining some word-of-mouth ground (thanks in part to Christie’s attack on Rubio), while Ted Cruz is being forced to answer for some questionable campaign decisions that have people wondering if they can trust him. Politicians making use of another politician’s crisis and behaving in a possibly sketchy way? Definitely not unexpected.
Obama campaigned on themes of hope and change; Trump declared in his June announcement speech that the American Dream was dead. Obama called on the country to shed racial divisions; some of Trump’s biggest applause lines are his pledge to build a wall on the Mexican border and ban Muslim immigration. Obama is a gifted orator with a cool and intellectual demeanor; Trump is an improviser with a knack for dramatic flair.
But at Trump’s rallies in New Hampshire days ahead of the first-in-the-nation primary, it’s not too difficult to find ex-Obama supporters in the crowds. These individuals say they are once again drawn to the promise of change. But the version they’re seeking now is grounded less on optimistic idealism, and more on something harder and angrier: sheer strength and force of will.
It is strange to people who follow politics — for work or simply because they care about the future of their country (and, by extension, themselves and their families) — that someone could support Barack Obama and then Donald Trump. At least on the surface. They would appear to be almost diametrically opposed on the issues. Crudely summarizing, Obama is a community organizer with a healthy streak of the activist 60s who is mostly concerned with social issues and will grow the federal government as much as possible to guarantee job security.
Trump is an abject and unapologetic faux capitalist who by necessity has to know at least a little about foreign affairs to conduct international business and is only interested in federal growth as it relates to crony capitalism.
Okay fine, there’s some overlap there if you have an inkling about how rhetoric only masks behavior and crony capitalism is big government. But it’s not immediately obvious. The real similarities are actually strikingly obvious and they say a lot about the voters who can back both these men more than they do about the policies they support.
“Obama isn’t that much different from Trump. He was promising big change, he managed to look like an outsider and a fresh face, and he got people to believe in him, not just in what he was promising issues-wise and policy-wise,” Hillsman said. “Many of these independents now see in Trump what they wanted Obama to provide. The Donald is most definitely outside the system, yet people feel like they know him.”
What it says is that for many voters the shallow politcking is key; not the integrity, not the policy ideas, not the potential future prosperity or demise.
People want to believe. That’s why politics makes devils of men: they trade on that pure desire.
It will be interesting to see what the New Hampshire — where Trump has reportedly held a commanding lead in the polls — voters believe.