By Bucky Fox
When Donald Trump descended the escalator to start his presidential run, some really did see him winning.
Ann Coulter, whose “Adios, America” best-seller sparked Trump’s dash, called it right.
So did Jeff Lord, Charles Hurt and Michael Savage, big voices on TV and radio.
Ripples also came from social media, with Bill Mitchell Gatling-gunning pro-Trump points on Twitter and Tommy Schuldner marching out the Trump Army on Facebook.
I hopped aboard early and wrote columns at Investor’s Business Daily and WND guaranteeing a Trump triumph.
Then there was Larry Schweikart, a history professor at the University of Dayton and author of a stack of banking books.
He spotted a serious Trump triumph amid the cackles of network pundits and late-night stand-ups.
“To some of us, it was obvious,” Schweikart writes in “How Trump Won.” “I am on record as early as August 2015 predicting that Trump would win both the nomination and the election. … In November 2015, I predicted Trump would win the general election with a relatively easy Electoral College victory.”
Was Schweikart ever right. Trump won the presidency on Nov. 8 with 304 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton’s 227.
Now the historian quite rightly pats himself on the back in this new dissection of a fascinating campaign. “How Trump Won” captures the march on two fronts: Schweikart on election facts in American annals and Breitbart News Editor-at-Large Joel Pollak on the 2016 trail down to nut-cuttin’ time.
Hence Schweikart: “The ‘party system’ was succeeding just as Martin Van Buren had planned nearly 200 years before. It perpetuated a venal and corrupt political establishment, more interested in their own positions, rewards and prestige than in any principle. It kept issues that were critical to the health of the nation off the table indefinitely – and political power out of the hands of the people.
“Enter Donald J. Trump.”
And Pollak on Oct. 30 in Colorado: “Trump emerges, holding – of all things – a rainbow flag with the words ‘LGBTs for Trump’ on it. Everyone cheers. This is something new for Republicans – not only that the party’s nominee would proudly claim solidarity with the gay community, but that conservative voters would applaud him. It is an achievement for which Trump will receive almost no credit, with the Democrats still accusing him of homophobia just because he supports traditional marriage and opposes some overly broad federal anti-discrimination protections.”
Trump had the guts to carry that issue – along with a bunch of others that led his massive rallies to chant:
“Build that wall.”
“Lock her up.”
“Drain the swamp.”
He especially ignored the flak that came with his shot at Muslim terror.
Schweikart: “Trump wanted a ban on immigration from Muslim countries ‘Until our country’s representatives figure out what is going on.’ Combined with the threat of ISIS in the Middle East, the images of armies of Muslim men sweeping across Europe, and the Paris shooting, Trump’s message vaulted him to the top of the GOP field on the issue of national security – where supposedly he should have been badly beaten by Rubio or even Bush. In a December (2015) Miami, Florida, poll, an astonishing 70.5 percent of GOP voters either (agreed) there should be a ban on new immigration by Muslims.”
Whereas Schweikart figured Trump would win, Pollak was less optimistic: “As a Jewish voter, for example, I am subjected to near-daily email blasts by anti-Trump journalists who tell me that Trump is the next Hitler. Though I see through the hype, the barrage has the desired depressive effect, even on me. Even if you disagree, you begin to doubt your own judgment, and feel lonely and ineffectual in your dissenting opinion.”
I get that something fierce. Fine, the media contain a mass of talent. But make no mistake: This industry is liberal centric, with conservative thought as rare as righty sightings in Soho. It’s in our DNA. Journalists are word people. The heaviest thing we tote is Webster’s. Most aren’t soldiers, farmers and high-rise builders who dig guns, church and flag. In my 40 years writing and editing at newspapers and websites, I’ve found liberals dominate the newsroom to the tune of 95 percent. They’re for Clinton, anti-Bush, awed by the weather hoax, against tax cuts.
As for Trump in the arena? You can’t find any nonhard-right outlet that gives him a break. Not the networks. Not cable news, including Shep Smith at Fox. Not radio. Certainly not the New Yorker, Atlantic and such magazines. Trump comes up, and the reporting is round-the-clocking bombs away. Nary a cheer for his proposed tax cuts to bring back companies from overseas, wall to protect Americans, medical insurance progress, VA fixes. All you read and hear are smug rips. This is hardly new. Pat Buchanan noted in his 2014 masterpiece, “The Greatest Comeback,” that Richard Nixon faced an 80 percent negative press in 1968 before stunningly winning. That headwind was worse for Trump because he caught it from left and right.
Good thing voters got it.
Schweikart: “The American people are conservative nationalists. They want a strong America, not one subservient to the U.N., or international treaties. … They yearn for Americans to set our own course, independent of the failures of China, Russia, and the European states unable to protect their own borders, to escape from sclerotic regional structures such as the European Union, or to exert their own national spirit. Trump represented a promise to return to traditional conservatism, nationalist conservatism.”
Pollak: “I talk to a Chinese immigrant and real estate broker from Boston, who has also made the drive to attend the rally. She sounds like any other Trump fan: She likes his positions on terrorism, immigration, and renegotiating NAFTA. I ask her how she feels when Trump talks about being tougher on China, especially on trade. She tells me: ‘I don’t look at where I’m coming from. I look at what’s good for America.’
“What a refreshing idea – that you embrace the country you have chosen to join, rather than the one you chose to leave.”
Pollak later on the trail: “I approach a mother who is cradling a newborn in a baby carrier, with other children hopping about. I introduce myself and begin asking questions: Why does she support Trump? She looks at me quizzically. ‘Cause we’re not idiots,’ she says.”
Indeed they weren’t, as Election Night proved. Schweikart especially felt it: “I got a call from Deplorable Drew, who had flown to New York to be on hand with Team Trump wondering what was going on. ‘We’re collapsing across the board,’ he fretted.
“‘No, you aren’t,’ I replied. ‘You’re just seeing the early and absentee votes that we have been tracking for the past three months actually be posted. And as you know, these always favor the Democrats. Relax.’ ”
Pollak couldn’t: “Underneath my dress shirt, I am wearing a T-shirt bearing the face of Andrew Breitbart. I am not going to reveal it unless Trump is winning decisively. I begin to think about when: Wisconsin, or Michigan. …
“Then, suddenly, Wisconsin is called. ‘It’s over,’ I tell the people near me, as I remove my tie, and bare my Breitbart T-shirt to the world.”
Trump had won the presidency as Pollak and Schweikart spotted every trailblazing detail. The result is a book as riveting as the campaign, with the Breitbart man adding this exclamation point: “In an America that had forgotten how to succeed, Donald Trump showed us how to persevere.”
Bucky Fox is an author and editor in Southern California.