“It was the terrific leader of India, Gandhi, who said, ‘First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, and then you win.’ Well we won, didn’t we?”
That’s how President Donald John Trump began his inaugural address, that clear morning in January of 2017. The fact that Gandhi never said these words was among the very least of our problems. Besides, the line drew rapturous applause from the crowd. According to a joint statement released by the White House and Nielsen, the Trump Inaugural drew the largest television audience in human history. As President Trump himself pointed out in his second press availability that afternoon, the numbers would only go up, once you factored in DVR.
It’s amazing, isn’t it? How adaptable we are as human beings? It was only a year earlier that Trump was a punch line. Obviously, everyone knew, he could never actually get anywhere once the votes were cast. American democracy was too robust to let that happen. He was too dangerous to win, and to win would be too dangerous. It couldn’t happen because it couldn’t happen.
And then, just like that, it did.
There’s no need to rehash how it all went down. He won the nomination, and then he won the general election. It wasn’t more complicated than that. Some have compared the tenor of the news on election night to the coverage of a tragedy or disaster. But that’s not exactly right. It wasn’t like a meteor strike. It was more like finding out a meteor is heading our way. The anchors were dazed and somber. There was a real effort on the part of journalists to assuage viewers. Twitter was a shit show, but Twitter is always a shit show. Many immediately expressed their regret for voting Trump. Some had just wanted to register a protest, not realizing that they would be swinging the election to an insecure, undisciplined narcissist unfit for public office.