And then there was one.
There is an expression on Wall Street for a stock that just keeps moving up and up, while everybody is scratching their heads trying to figure out what’s going on.
They put their hands up and say “Don’t fight the tape.”
It comes from back in the day when there actually was ticker tape, and when Wall Street wasn’t everyone’s favorite punching bag.
But it helps explain what is going on right now in the mind bending age of Donald Trump.
You can’t fight the tape and you can’t fight a phenomenon. Donald Trump is a phenomenon. Barack Obama was a phenomenon. A phenomenon is a “happening” or an “experience.” It doesn’t happen much folks, but it’s happening now. So get ready for the ride of a lifetime.
The point is all the wise old men and naysayers and chart readers in the world can’t stop a political phenomenon when it’s pulling out of the Trump Train station.
All the wise old men and naysayers and chart readers in the world can’t stop a political phenomenon when it’s pulling out of the Trump Train station.
Nobody was going to beat Barack Obama in 2008. That’s a fact. It was his moment. It wasn’t that John McCain ran a bad campaign, or picked the wrong VP. It was just that it didn’t matter, it was over when it started. It has to do with understanding your moment, reading the populace, knowing that they want exactly the opposite of what they’ve had in the White House. They want a charismatic candidate to match what they are feeling and promise to give them exactly the big fat cheeseburger they’ve been wanting ever since they went on that awful diet.
Michelle Obama told her husband it was Iowa or bust for them. She knew that if they couldn’t win Iowa, they couldn’t win America, but if they could – there would be no stopping them. She told her husband it was now or never and that she would only do this thing once. Even though he was a new senator, she correctly assessed this was their “Moment” and they would not get a redo. She was absolutely right on.
The country was war weary and the handsome young Senator promised “Hope and Change.” Political pendulums swing hard and feed on stark contrast. He was not a Bush and not a Clinton. Not at all. In fact, he was Barack Hussein Obama. He was Kennedy-esque, with a young attractive family. He was Bobby Kennedy’s dream of how the Civil Rights movement crescendos. He was the man who perfectly matched the mood, and he grabbed it. That’s what it’s all about.
Just ask Governor Chris Christie, who missed his moment. Had he run against Barack Obama in 2012, he would have won. The tough talking New Jersey Governor was getting a ton of attention in 2011. He’d shockingly won a blue state governor’s race when the odds were stacked against him. He was “telling it like it is” to anybody who crossed him. He shouted down Teacher’s Unions for depriving kids of the education they deserved. He told firefighters and policeman that the pensions they’d been promised would never arrive, if they weren’t willing to give back a little to keep the programs solvent. These YouTube hits were going viral, getting coverage. The portly governor with his tie askew was the opposite of the snappily dressed lean and eloquent president, who’d lost his shine a bit, four years in.
But while GOP leaders begged Christie to run, he demurred. He said he wasn’t ready. It wasn’t his time. But as it turns out, it was. And he never got it back.
So now we have had 8 years of ObamaCare and Obamanomics. Eight years of promising to end the “Era of War”.
Still we are mired in rising costs, stunted economic growth and an epic battle with an enemy that is a “He Who Shall Not be Named.” Except that everybody knows his name is Radical Islamist Terrorist.
In fairness, the president’s approval numbers have risen of late to 51 percent, many are satisfied. However, it may have something to do with the tenor of the sloppy primaries that have given him almost “former president” nostalgia points already. Still there is an undeniable restlessness in the country. We see it in the crowds who turn out in droves for Bernie and Donald.
As long as it took for Republicans to see, Donald Trump is the perfect storm of message “Make America Great Again” (genius simplicity) and Man. This brash businessman, Anti-Obama sold his brand brilliantly with his huge success on “The Apprentice.” Now Reality TV meets politics. I bet Mark Burnett wishes he’d thought of it. He was from the beginning the guy we all already knew. Love him or hate him, he leapt over the ‘name recognition’ hurdle like it was a parking curb. And it didn’t even cost him a dime.
But surely he would not abide the rigor and tedium of the Campaign Trail. What would he do fly his jet all around the country? Yes. Stay at Holiday Inns in places that don’t have Trump Hotels, um yes.
Surely this rich guy, wouldn’t have a way with voters. He’d rather be in his Tower, as his beautiful wife sips champagne (he doesn’t drink), not out there in flyover state diners and arenas pressing the flesh. Wrong. He would say scandalous things! Yes. Just think of all the tape and tabloid that already existed on this guy? There would be no way he’d get away with it. Wrong again.
Besides, the republicans had the deepest bench they’d had in a long time. Superstars. Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina the list went on. And on, actually. It even spilled across two debate stages, there were so many bright and talented options. All they had to do was nominate the most conservative, electable one, as Bill Buckley had instructed. (See Mitt Romney, John McCain, Bob Dole). And they must remember as Ronald Reagan warned, no shooting inside the tent guys. Well, without apologies to Buckley or Reagan, the guy who beat them all was not your textbook conservative to be sure and he shot up the tent until it fell down on top of them, as he slipped out the back flap and dusted off his suit.
Here’s the thing. His message was right on for his audience. He talked to them about what he felt was wrong with the country and how he wanted to fix it. Too many illegals stealing your jobs and committing crimes? Build a wall. Your company went under? We will get you a better job! Sick of everything being so damned PC? Me too! He said. Don’t worry, we are going to win again. You’ll be so tired of winning. That sounds awesome, they cried! And then -- to top it all off -- he made them laugh. He made them howl actually, at the off-color jokes and “craps” and “hells” he sprinkled in with his happy warrior rants.
The pundits scoffed. It’ll be over by summer… make that fall… The Super Bowl? The Conventions? Forget it guys.
Trump’s son Don Jr. nailed it. He said my Dad is a “blue-collar billionaire” “a common sense conservative,” none of this highfalutin panel jibber jabber. Gimme Trump, the GOP voters said.
The guy gets me.
Donald has wanted this shot at the White House since the early ‘90’s when he took out full page ads and wrote letters railing against Japan and how they were eating our lunch and it needed to stop. Now his handsome, well-educated and well-liked kids are taking the weight off him at the office, and he knows, this is his time. It’s now or never. And one other thing. Don’t look for Mr. Trump to get all presidential on you any time soon. Why would he? As any good businessman knows, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And like he says, it’s too soon for that.
“I haven’t even started on Hillary….”
But can he seal the deal?
Buckle your seat belts, America. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Martha MacCallum currently serves as the anchor of The Story with Martha MacCallum (weeknights 7PM/ET). She joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in January 2004 and is based in New York.