In Decision ’16 we were quick to find out that lengthy promises of a new, glittering land of full-employment and high tech solutions with choices for everyone were not to be made. The electorate wouldn’t have any of that.

Candidates who gained the most traction the quickest in the race to the White House were those who identified with the outrage culture on both sides of the aisle seemingly unhappy with almost everything.

From a message of airy hope, to a dystopian present that nearly nobody is having fun with, it’s been a strange ride from the election of our first black president to where we’re at today.

Let’s take a look at how things have changed:

Bomb the hell out of ’em

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

On the one hand, there was Donald Trump who perpetuated a message of American economics gone astray, and suffering families nationwide who can’t get out of debt thanks to President Obama’s failed policies and a global economy and rampant immigration that is robbing Americans of good-paying jobs. His solution? Build a wall.

Trump has punted the political football so far out of the stadium, it’s reached an entirely new field: the playground of the elementary next door.

His insults became the thing of legend, after his anti-politician rhetoric and rage against PC Culture gave his incendiary language legs in the press when everyone collectively asked: Did he just say that?

Down with Wall Street

(Mark Bugnaski/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

Mark Bugnaski/The Grand Rapids Press via AP

And then we’ve had Hillary Clinton, who has always appeared to struggle and keep pace with whatever she thought it is that Americans actually want to hear. And her opponent in the primaries, Bernie Sanders, railed against Wall Street greed and the corporate money pouring into rigged elections. Oh yeah: And anyone who wants to go to school can do it for free, to hell with the oligarchy.

People loved it. Clinton adopted it. So what happened to hope and change?

A look back at Sen. Obama and 2008



Barack Obama’s charisma, framed neatly in the words of his book “The Audacity of Hope,” was something that penetrated the despair befalling America just as it was plunging into a Great Recession. This despair was caused by, among other actors, the policies of his predecessor George W. Bush.

Far from angry, most Americans were confused.

The bright, young cosmopolitan law professor from Illinois shined a light forward for many citizens who would soon be newly unemployed, or lose their home, or go $50,000 in debt on an education while taking refuge in academia.

Regardless of who the new president will be after Election Day, Obama is guaranteed to go down in history as a remarkable president, almost universally liked.

It’s a far cry from today’s politics, where a bright smile and huge promises fall on deaf ears. Obama may get a pass, but the rest of them deserve the firing squad.