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Wednesday, 9 November 2016

How eight years of Barack Obama created Donald Trump

This article was originally published on February 13, 2016. It has been republished in light of  the course of the US election.
The morning after Barack Obama was elected, in November 2008, I put the television on in my hotel room in New York to watch the reaction. Fox News was putting on a brave face, though the sourness and anger were barely contained: but MSNBC, an avowedly liberal network, was in a state of almost convulsive ecstasy.

"His stump oratory was vacuous. He is clever and has a way with words: but his words contained little"

As dawn broke a woman, interviewed outside her run-down house somewhere upstate, shed tears while telling an interviewer what the victory meant for her. “I now know,” she sobbed, “that my house won’t be foreclosed on.” I hope she was right: but the evidence of the seven years since Obama the miracle-worker took office suggests she may have been disappointed.

America was angry after two terms of George W Bush. Though he could not stand, his party’s candidate would be punished for how Mr Bush and the lunatics around him had made America an international pariah. The financial crisis of 2008 – the collapse of Lehmann Brothers came between the conventions and polling day – was the last straw.

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