Politics

Trump Named Time's Person Of The Year

| by Nik Bonopartis

President-elect Donald Trump is Time magazine's person of the year.

Along the way to his improbable victory Nov. 8, Trump retired both the Bush and Clinton political dynasties, rewrote the rules of politics, changed the nature of political discourse, and circumvented the media to speak directly to the tens of millions of Americans who follow him on social media platforms.

But perhaps most surprising are the people who helped put him in the White House.

Among them is Darryl Wimbley, a 48-year-old black man from Saginaw, Michigan. Wimbley told Time he'd never voted for a Republican presidential candidate before Trump. But with three decades of work behind him and hopes of franchising his hot dog stand business, the former car salesman said economic opportunity is the most important issue for him in 2016.

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"America is a business. It is not a soup kitchen," Wimbley told the magazine. "I have made a lot of money for other people. It is time I make it for myself."

Joseph Dougherty, another lifelong Democrat, put it in simple terms.

"We didn't leave the Democratic Party," the 49-year-old former small town Pennsylvania mayor said. "The Democratic Party left us."

In the weeks since the election, the usual pundits -- who were seemingly wrong at every stage of the campaign -- have fabricated a series of narratives to explain why former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost the election and Trump won.

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Most of them shift the blame elsewhere, away from the political analysts, polls, media figures living in partisan echo chambers, and Clinton herself. They blame white voters, they blame white women, and they blame young voters who didn't show up in great enough numbers to tip Clinton over the edge in key states.

Some of them blame FBI James Comey for his surprise revelation about the renewed email investigation just days before the election. Others blame nebulous Russian hackers, the alleged culprits behind a seemingly never-ending stream of revealing -- and damaging -- emails pulled from the inboxes of Clinton's top aides.

Among Democrats, only Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont -- who mounted a surprisingly strong primary campaign against Clinton -- blamed the party itself, and its message.

“The Democratic Party has to stand with working people, feel their pain and take on the billionaire class, Wall Street and drug companies,” he tweeted in the election's aftermath, adding that he was "deeply humiliated that the Democratic Party cannot talk to the people where I came from."

New York Magazine noted that he also tweeted: "Yes, we need more candidates of diversity, but we also need candidates   to be fighters for the working class."

Sanders remained a party man during the general election, accepting Clinton's primary win and lending her his support in an effort to make sure Trump did not get into the White House. But after the results came in and the election was over, Sanders stopped filtering his public statements, blaming Democrats for embracing identity politics while ignoring the suffering of America's middle and lower classes.

“It’s not good enough for someone to say, ‘I’m a woman! Vote for me!’” Sanders said, reports Politico. "No, that’s not good enough. What we need is a woman who has the guts to stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industry."

For that, Sanders was accused of "defending white male supremacy," as a Washington Monthly columnist wrote.

And in an instant, he was placed in the same camp as Trump, whose opponents accused him of racism, sexism, misogyny, nationalism, and xenophobia, a candidate who would play up any boogeyman if it meant scoring votes.

"Guys, I'm for everybody in this country," Trump said a day after the election, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told Time.

But as the magazine notes, for many of the millions who opposed him, Trump doesn't represent all of America. Behind the cartoonish celebrity threats to leave the country and the comparisons to Nazi Germany, there are real people wondering how his presidency will impact their lives.

It's a wide cross-section, and it isn't just limited to illegal immigrants -- there are college students who worry about paying for their educations, Obamacare recipients who worry they will no longer have medical coverage, Muslim-Americans who watch reports of a rise in hate crimes with dismay, and longtime Washington insiders who could be forced out as Trump fills his administration with business leaders and retired military generals.

The challenge for Trump will be in overcoming people's views of him and convincing them he can be everyone's president. The businessman-turned-president told Time he thinks he can pull it off.

“It’s a very exciting time. It’s really been an amazing time,” Trump said. “Hopefully we can take some of the drama out.”

Sources: Time (2), Washington Monthly, Politico, New York Magazine / Photo credit: Time handout via GQ

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