Reading back over the publicly expressed opinions of Donald J. Trump in the 1990s and early 2000s, one is struck by how close they were to the political and socio-economic policies of the mainstream Democratic Party. These were embodied in the fiscally liberal but socially conservative two term presidency of Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001, which found much favour with the Wall Street cliques of the day. In fact I think there is a fair argument to be made that Trump’s ambitions for the White House began with his disappointment, resentment even, at Barack Obama’s defeat of Hillary Clinton in the Democrat primaries of 2007-8. The millionaire businessman had lent both his name and his money to the campaign of the New York junior senator, and like many within and without the party, he was fully expecting the “establishment” candidate to defeat her upstart Illinois opponent.
Obama’s unexpected victory, buoyed on a populist wave, washed away the hopes of a new Clinton presidency, denying Trump the valediction he was seeking in the body politic of the United States. It was certainly during this post-election period of 2008 and ’09 that the real estate developer began his slow move towards the political right, embracing a particularly zealous antipathy for Barack Obama, which manifested itself in all sorts of crazy “birther” nonsense and so on. In 2011-12 Donald Trump cast his lot with the Republican Party aspirant for the White House, Mitt Romney, and was once again bitterly disappointed as Obama rolled over his elitist, fumbled-footed opponent from Massachusetts. Trump seems to have subsequently abandoned all hope of becoming a man with the ear of some future occupant of the Oval Office and instead sought to take the office for himself, and under his own terms.
While we have seen many theories for the rise of Donald J. Trump, including counter-factual claims that he is a Frankenstein monster engendered by the politics of the American Left, the most likely explanation seems the most obvious. He is a disgruntled former Hillary supporter whose irrational hatred of Barack Hussein Obama stems from the latter’s repeated victories over the millionaire’s favoured candidates. After all, that is not the history of a “winner”, though it may certainly be the history of a rich, petty narcissist with a grudge.