I’m not Lloyd Bentsen and didn’t know Jack Kennedy, but I do remember the Frank Sinatra theme song for the Kennedy campaign. Its original lyrics about a little old ant and silly old ram who achieved the impossible because of their “high hopes” remind me of the idealized hopes of Barack Obama’s supporters in 2008 and Donald Trump’s this year.
Both groups march to a drumbeat of hope and change, but in very different directions. Obama’s followers believed he would end the politics of racial, class, and ideological division that they felt had characterized the Bush presidency. Obama’s soaring rhetoric promised an America that was no longer red or blue but united. By contrast, Trump promises an overhaul of the body politic. His self-styled brilliance in the arts of negotiation will supposedly fix the structures of trade, immigration, and finance that favor elites and minorities over the common person (particularly if that person is white, male, and working class).
Trump’s followers hope their man will restore America, but how do they envision the restoration? Continue reading
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