Trump Gets It

By Lloyd Graff

Courtesy of

I must admit I am totally into the 2016 election. The ascent of Donald Trump is so stunning, so horrifying, but also so wonderfully amazing that I cannot get enough of it.

Trump is narcissistic, incredibly egotistical, yet instinctively brilliant in his ability to connect with the American psyche.

Somehow Trump gets it. This rich, womanizing boor, vain to the nth degree, has figured out America and the dissatisfaction and anger that rightfully fills the country.

Frankly, I didn’t get it until very recently when I read an absolutely brilliant op-ed article called Why Trump Now? by Thomas Edsall in The New York Times. Edsall chronicled the devastating changes in America over the last 45 years. This has been the length of my business career. Yet I missed the big picture that a disgusting head case named Trump picked up on while I lounged in consensus ignorance.

A few highlights of Edsall’s piece. Adjusted for inflation, average wages per hour in the U.S. have gone up from $19.18 to $20.67 since 1964. While this number is somewhat deceptive because of advances like the Internet, cleaner air and the Roomba, it is still stunning.

Edsall states that since the year 2000 the middle class has shrunk while the number of households with incomes of $35,000 or less have grown. This has coincided with the huge growth of trade with China since its entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001. Chinese trade has not worked well for the American worker. The theory had been that the growth of China would be a two-way street. We would get cheaper goods, China would join the family of wealthy and peaceful nations. American workers would gravitate to sophisticated higher paying jobs in aerospace, medical, pharma, computers and robotics. But the theory has not worked. China has generally prospered but American workers have not transitioned quickly to the juicy high-tech economy. There are many reasons why U.S. workers have fared poorly—lousy government policies, easy access to illicit drugs, miserable public education for poor people, slowly receding racism, corruption in government, business and organized labor—you can count the ways.

Politics has failed us. The end of the Cold War did not bring a peace dividend. The military has drained resources, government debt has ballooned because politicians have sold out to inertia and the contributions of shrewd lobbyists.

In 2008 we had the Wall Street fueled collapse, which devastated millions of people in America, yet Wall Street rebounded quickly with Federal Government aid. A helpless and corrupt Washington could not see a better way out of the perilous mess than throwing a TARP over it.

Somehow Donald J. Trump understood in his gut what the political establishment, despite the growth of the Tea Party, did not comprehend. And on the left, Bernie Sanders saw very much the same thing. American workers were hurting, small business was suffering, students and young people saw a fuzzy and dismal future, and Washington’s answer was an indecisive intellectual Obama whose single accomplishment in office was a flawed health care system that many working class and richer Americans saw as an enormous transfer of wealth to poorer citizens and especially African Americans. All this set up a crazy opportunity for Donald Trump to step into an angry void in the predominantly White Republican Party.

The other candidates did not feel the anger and the opportunity, but Trump and Bernie got it. Hillary Clinton may ultimately get the Democratic nomination because she can skillfully glom onto the Black and Latino vote, but she doesn’t really tune into the anger in the country like Sanders and Trump.

Donald J. Trump, with his hair, his insults, his mocking vulgarity makes me nauseous. But he’s funny in a Don Rickles way. I’m attracted and repelled by the man, almost simultaneously, but his outrageousness is exciting. His unpredictability is also refreshing compared to a scripted Ted Cruz, and a Marco Rubio who seems too small for the job he covets. Trump has an instinctive knack that all bullies have of finding the character flaws of their adversaries. He picks on Rubio for sweating under pressure and calls Mitt Romney “a choke artist” for not campaigning the last month of the 2012 campaign. Trump is an awful human being. His character flaws are HUGE, but wow is he entertaining, like a sarcastic comedian!

I feel like I am finally in tune with the misery of the electorate and that’s why I am feeling the magnetism of Donald Trump, “Teflon Don,” who can seemingly get away with saying anything, no matter how outrageous.

I think Trump may well be our next President. I am frightened, but weirdly looking forward to the show. America wants to push the reset button.

Question: Are you depressed about America?

Share this post

37 thoughts on “Trump Gets It

  1. Rodger

    I am in no way depressed about America. The 24 hour news cycle has tainted everyone’s perspective on the human condition. I think us humans are programmed to primarily concern ourselves with our local community and not a murderous shooting spree 1500 miles away from where I live.


    45 years ago there were no where near 7 billion people on the planet.
    How we can ever to have assumed we would hold our leadership position in trade with all the dynamics with China, Japan, Germany, Vietnam (insert next developing economy) ect? Markets shift, Greek and Roman civilizations faded, the British Empire faded and it will happen to the US as well. The challenge will be how well we adapt. Italy and Greece are not adapting well. Britain is faring somewhat better. We should and can do better than all of them as long we adapt and innovate. Political leadership has had little to do with the shifts we have experienced in trade. Technology, modernity and a burgeoning world population have everything to do with it and we can lead and adapt or be stuck in the good old days.

  2. Misterchipster

    Not in the least, still the best nation on the planet despite it’s flaws. Depression is what follows a hard look at our political system where our politically charged leaders buy votes from the electorate by correcting “income disparity” in one form or another.

  3. Todd

    I’m not overly depressed about America. That may change if we end up with a “Trump vs Hilary or Bernie” election. In that case the country just flat out loses.

    But, if that is the case we will get the mess we voted for.

    The only adult left in this election is Kasich. Too bad he doesn’t have the polarizing personality that it takes to get noticed.

  4. David

    You hit the nail on the head, Todd. I, too, see John Kasich as the only candidate I would want to get behind, but his insistence on staying above the fray and his “I can get things done” message just isn’t resonating.

    All I can say is that due in large part to the complete polarization on the political landscape today, America is suffering from a serious deficit of leadership. I wonder if the best leaders in our midst today are intentionally staying out of the political arena so as to avoid the the withering scrutiny and constant witch hunting that charaterizes the political process today.

  5. KAS

    I’m concerned for America if the status quo get in. We need a Trump in office to straiten out the mess these mindless politicians have allowed our country to become. Our industrial power has diminished and if we stay the course, 10 to 15 years from now we will not have and manufacturing capabilities. We need to level the playing field and tariff the heck out of all imports, so we can compete. We also need to stop taking our rights away and forcing us to pay out of our pocket for a system that is abused terribly. Stop the abuse and you’ll save money. I work to hard for my money to give to a government that allows this abuse!!!

  6. Lloyd Graff

    I plan to vote for Kasich in the Illinois Primary. He is an adult among self centered children.

    1. Karen Morgan

      Read his policy positions. He’s PRO: Common Core, Curtailing Social Security (telling voters to ‘get over it’), TPP, and Amnesty.

      No different than Obama, Hillary, Rubio, or even Cruz-after Cruz stops dodging around w/ lawyer-speak.

  7. Cleet Pattyson

    I’m 67 years old and and have been a conservative republican all my life. It has been the last two or three years that I have sensed the frustration of the middle class for the complete disregard by our government and the policies of the rich that rule. The top corporations and their officers taking millions of dollars from the middle class by depressing wages and benefits to pad their pockets. The silent majority will speak on this election day loud and clear, they are mad as hell and the people in office had better get the message or get out of the way.

  8. Sara

    I agree I think Trump will be President. Remember the ridicule given Reagan and now he is one of if not the favorite of modern times.
    I understand young adults from all walks of life being attracted to Bernie and Trump. We are all tired of the typical politicians. Socialism sounds great, but as Margaret Thatcher said” Until we run out of other people’s money”. I think Trump understands business and dealing with international
    affairs. Politics isn’t “political correct”. It is a blood sport. Nice guys finish last.
    The one liner “shockers” is why Trump prevails. I am not depressed about America. Get up do something to change the problem. We in machine tool sales make things happen and not cry that our government doesn’t. Can’t doesn’t exist in our field. Only the mighty survive. Very satisfying hard work!!! Try it!

  9. Sara

    I think Kasich will be Vice President. What a great balance. Fiscally he is a top choice for a turn around. The other thing about him his state is heavy into manufacturing and he understands and respects hard work!
    Remember all lives matter!

    1. Karen Morgan

      120k jobs have left Ohio under his watch. Talk to Ohioans. He’s pro TPP (new trade deal that makes NAFTA & China’s admission to WTO look like peanuts), pro-Common Core, pro-cutting Soc Security, pro-Amnesty, etc.

      As for his budget work, well, he had quite a reputation in DC back in the day. Tossed out from the Reagan campaign team for dealing in drugs (per Roger Stone) and well-known for his anger management issues. The latter is still an issue, but since the 3rd debate or so, he’s been on his best behavior.

  10. JoeyB

    It’s funny. I read articles like this that pretend to understand Trump and his attraction, while at the same time demeaning Trump and those who vote for him. You mention racism and the mostly white Republican Party – are you aware of how well Trump does with latinos? He actually does pretty well with black Americans, too. Surprisingly, Louis Farrakhan (Not someone I think very much of, but he has his following) came “this close” to endorsing him.
    Maybe you ought to consider the following: the Democratic Party loves illegal immigration because they see it as source of voting power. In New York City, they are even trying to franchise illegals. The dirty little secret is that the Republican Party loves illegals, too. Many businesses thrive on illegal alien labor, and they pump money into the Chambers of Commerce and other organizations that contribute to the Republican Party. The problem is that illegal immigration is opposed by the majorities of both parties nominal voters. But these voters are being stomped on and ignored by their party elites – and they have had nowhere to turn until now.
    Let me add something. Right now, the Department of Education is forcing schools around the country to allow students who feel they are a different sex to share the facilities of the sex they feel like that particular day. Most people would get furious at the idea that their teenage daughter might have to share a locker room with some dude that felt female that day. But the Democratic Party elite supports this, which means the media supports this in the name of inclusiveness, which means the weak-kneed and ineffectual Republican Party elite also support this.
    What I am getting at is that people aren’t stupid. They see what is happening. The most popular candidates in this pre-election cycle are all anti-establishment: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Bernie Sanders.
    What makes Donald Trump so attractive in my opinion is that he has established his ability to take an unpopular stand and make it stick. If you believe that our country is going down destructive paths with popular media support, you would make this ability an important criteria.
    Basically the party elites have screwed their voters. Why not an outsider who has demonstrated the willingness and ability to take them on?

    1. Noah Graff


      Do you know the reason Farrakhan praises Donald Trump?

      He said in a sermon, “Trump ‘is the only member who has stood in front of the Jewish community and said ‘I don’t want your money,’”

      Farrakhan believes Trump shares his hate of Jews. Kind of an unlikely premise considering Trump’s daughter is an Orthodox Jew.

      1. Karen Morgan

        Farrakhan also said he supported Trump’s temporary Muslim ban. He doesn’t want ISIS/jihadi types coming into the country, either.

  11. mike

    Whatever happened to family and church . . . Dan Quayle brought it up and the feel good crowd crucified him!

    Politics are to summon an army and collect taxes . . . Adam Smith (long forgotten) would be mystified to see where our democracy is today.

    Education and environment . . . that is who we are. Illegitimacy is the enemy folks . . . and we are letting it run rampet in our move towards socialism and what is wrong with society . . . but it is ok – it feels good.

  12. allen

    I don’t know how brilliant Trump is since brilliance doesn’t unerringly, or even with any likelihood, result in wealth. Bill Gates’ IQ doesn’t rise and fall as a result of his standing in the Forbes 400 so while brilliance isn’t a burden it’s not an assurance of success.

    And I doubt that Trump, in some mystical sense, gets it. My guess is that he’s been quietly floating trial balloons for some time since there really aren’t any more mountains for him to climb in the business world. Might as well go for the biggest of the big brass rings. There’s a restiveness in the electorate that’s been building for some time and Trump is riding that restiveness the way a surfer rides a wave.

    What bothers me most is that all he’s done is ride that wave; we hardly know a thing about his position on various issues. Most of what we get out of him could have come from a guy writing advertising copy – full of superlatives relating to nothing.

    Edsall’s views on China are short a couple of considerations and not all that accurate in the representation of the situation.

    We would get cheaper goods because Communism’s one certainty is poverty but that didn’t mean Americans would gravitate to sophisticated higher paying jobs etcetera any more then the industrial revolution resulted in farmers gravitating to higher paying factory jobs. Farmers were pushed off the land by the relentless rise in agricultural productivity and by the comparative reliability of a paycheck as opposed to the crap shoot that’s still the agricultural sector.

    The reason for the erosion of the middle class is the rise of the government sector.

    The insatiable demand for other people’s money inevitably puts the middle class in the crosshairs. The poor don’t have enough money to bother with and the rich can hire the talent necessary to insulate them from the grasping hand of government. It’s only the middle class that has enough to make taking it worthwhile and not enough in the way of resources to blunt the grab.

    And politics hasn’t failed us any more then a mirror does.

    We enjoy the benefits, and suffer the consequences, of a representative form of government. If we want to fall in love with hucksters who promise us everything and deliver on nothing those hucksters are to blame for being dishonest but we’re to blame for listening to them. We get the government we deserve, and the consequences that follow, because we are the government.

    I do agree, there’s a distinct possibility that Donald Trump will be our next president and what worries me most is that I don’t have a clue what that means.

    Answer: No but I am uncertain short to medium term. That may be worse then being depressed.

    1. Karen Morgan

      There are 30 year old interviews where he was sounding the alarm on lopsided trade deals and currency manipulation. He’s been as solid as a rock economically for decades and support for the military and Vets, w/ his 1985 funding of the NY Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and 1985 WWII parade.

      1. allen

        The only thing Trump’s been “solid as a rock” about has been his allegiance to his guiding principle – caveat emptor.

  13. Ed kays

    I find it humorous that a few weeks ago DT was a complete idiot and a bully. You have just discovered what I have seen all along. DT has his finger on the pulse of the 75% of the American people that are not at the extreme left or right. He sees what is wrong with what politics have been in this country for the last 20 years! They have been???! He is not afraid to say what he is thinking and does not care if he is PC. I think he can be a knuckle head at times but so is the guy we have now. I think the Republican Party had better wake up and see what he sees.


  14. Doug S

    I think that the appeal for most people is the idea that maybe, just maybe, Trump will be the guy to go in and start running the government like a business would be, holding people accountable and letting the heads roll (figuratively of course). People are outraged by the fact that nobody in government is accountable for anything. How many people were imprisoned or even lost their job over the VA scandal where veterans died waiting for the healthcare they were promised? We are treated regularly to news stories about the hundreds of billions of dollars in waste, fraud, and mismanagement and NOTHING about it changes! When is the last time you recall some alphabet federal agency being gutted, shut down and its executives dragged off to jail for “misplacing” hundreds of millions of dollars with no explanation? The corruption is absolutely sickening and nothing will ever improve for the people of this country until it is torn out by the roots. I honestly can’t stand Trump and I’m very disappointed that my preferred guy Ted Cruz allowed himself to be pulled into this grade school playground slap-fight that we’ve been made to endure, but I think that there are a huge number of people that would love to see these criminal politicians and bureaucrats be told “YOU’RE FIRED!!!”.

  15. Carl O.

    Trump will “Make America great again” for himself and his Billionaire Buddies… The GOP is totally bought and paid for by Big businesses and billionaires like the Koch brothers… The 2 brothers ALONE plan to spend almost a BILLION dollars on this campaign… The GOP politicians will do Anything the brothers say… Voters be damned… Time to overturn Citizens United… Since Scalia died just a few weeks ago and Dow Chemical AGREED to pay a fine of Over $835 MILLION because without Scalia, Dow knows the decision will be against them… The court is no longer “conservative”…
    Smarten up people, vote for Sanders. We have only ONE chance to return America back to the people…

    1. Doug S

      Lenin himself stated that socialism is just a stepping stone to communism. Name for me one communist country in which the power resides with “the people”. Socialism can only be run by the use of force, nobody will voluntarily give up 90% of everything they work for so they can scrape by on a meager existence. Voting to institute the political system under which 100 million people were slaughtered by their own governments last century? Not even close to a smart choice.

  16. Gregg

    Trump insists that our armed forces will follow his illegal orders to murder women and children. What more does it take to disqualify a presidential candidate?

    1. Karmakelli

      If your take-away after a dozen debates and a hundred rallies is that Trump plans to order the murder of women and children, then yeah, you should probably vote for the other guy.

  17. Art Santana

    The country is still ok; what is not is our political system; broken; corrupted, lobbied to dead by special interests and where the most vocal and extreme rule and not the majority.
    It does not really matter how we vote; rather how the delegates will vote. The media plays a huge role in shaping up candidates and campaigns. With their insatiable appetite for ratings and sensationalism; well… we are doomed.
    Trump reminds me of those loud monkeys at the top of the tree just making a lot of noise and not really accomplishing anything. Hillary on the other hand, makes me picture her next January putting her hands on the Bible to swear the presidential oath with hand cuffs on and the FBI agents waiting for her to finish so they can put her away for good.
    I have a novel idea; instead of voting for either one; why don’t we just all write in our candidate NONE of The Above!

  18. steve

    one thing 535 a holes need is a bigger a hole to run them. And trump is that guy. you don’t become worth 10 billion without stepping on some toes or making deals. Will trump make a good pres, who knows. But the rest of them are the same old crap. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

  19. Charlie

    Very late comment: Since Trump is a Businessman , he will be forced to declare bankruptcy
    as soon as he goes over the books and put himself out of a job!

  20. Joe

    By electing trump we will show the country and the world how ignorant, fearful and racist we really are.

    1. steve

      The rest of the world already doesn’t like us. They only like our money. But our politicians keep interfering in there business. At least Trump won’t sell his country out ,like the dummycraps do.

  21. Richard Donato

    I get why America is upset. From 2001 to 2008, millions of jobs were moved to China and over 40,000 factories were closed. But that was less trade agreements and more tax credits and subsidies given to companies that moved to China. The US Chamber of Commerce, along with GOP Senators and Congressmen, gave seminars in every major city teaching companies how to move to China. You can still find invitations on line.
    Regardless of the trade agreements, companies that could move where workers are getting paid $172 a month and don’t have to worry about the cost of pollution are going to do it. Especially if they have no scruples.
    To me, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are two sides of the same coin. Trump is selling Trump bravado. So far, he has made enemies with half the world with his insults. Not a good start. As far as negotiations, you can’t compare nuclear negotiations with buying bulk. I think his sketchy tax policies will double the national debt. Not what his followers were hoping for.
    And Bernie (everything free) Sanders will never get what he wants from Republicans. And once America finds out the actual cost, probably raising taxes by two or three times to pay for free college and free health care, the middle class isn’t going to like all the free stuff. And, the trade agreements. You can’t just end them or you will have skyrocketing consumer costs. The middle class will get soaked.
    America is angry at our politicians. You had the leadership of one party vowing to do nothing to try to destroy America’s first black president. Now, the American people hate all politicians.
    Things that need to be fixed, should be fixed. But letting a loose cannon like Trump or a 60’s extremist shouting “revolution” run the country is not the answer. Unless people really want to go down the road to disaster.

  22. Jerry Johnson

    The spineless, feckless DC Establishment (both parties conspiring behind the scenes) have screwed the pooch. Coming up on 8 years of the DC cowards allowing Obama to disgrace our Country without raising so much as shred of objection is what led We the People in support of a Trump or Cruz as POTUS. Same old, same old will not work any longer

    Lloyd: You find Trump obnoxious, but entertaining??? You and your New York Times “friends” are totally missing the point. The People are pissed. This is the tsunami that raised Trump and Cruz to their present day victories in the Primaries. The People are “mad as hell, and they’re not gong to take it anymore”.

    If you like entertaining, please write a column, or at least Reply with your commentary on Obama’s 7 1/4 years, and tell us why you would vote for him again. It has been stated that “when you finally come to the realization that Obama is not on America’s side, then everything that he has done makes perfect sense”.


Comments are closed.