(Disclaimer: This Prophetic Intelligence Briefing is not intended to make political statements concerning U.S. presidential candidates or the politicians that have currently or previously held the high U.S. office. It is intended to describe the present circumstances in the American political landscape from a prophetic point of view)
The U.S. Republican Party’s “Trumpian meltdown” has the party officials in disarray and unsure of what to do. The party elites do not support Donald Trump in his bid for the Republican nomination, yet there is little they can do to find someone to beat a Democratic challenger while adhering to their political platform.
What is underlying the rise of Donald Trump in American politics? In summary, American politics has become increasingly polarized since the Reagan era, and the more polarized it has become the more dictatorial its leaders have felt they have had to be in order to accomplish their goals. Consequently, their supporters have become less compromising and more irrational in their demands and their choice of leaders.
What feeds the Trump phenomena today is at least two things, 1). the disconnect of the Republican Party from its own grassroots support base, and 2). the liberal politics of the Obama-era.
The “Trump uprising” is first and foremost a Republican and conservative problem: there would be no Trumpism if George W. Bush’s presidency hadn’t cratered, no Trumpism if the party hadn’t alternated between stoking and ignoring working-class grievances, no Trump as front-runner if the party leadership and his rivals had committed fully to stopping him before now.
The Donald Trump “spring,” however, is also a product of the Obama era, which erupted as a reaction after eight years of a liberal president that has dominated the cultural landscape. It is no surprise then that the Obama era ends with a reality TV demagogue leading a populist, nationalist revolt.
But the Obama administration was partly a reaction to the eight years of conservative dominated era of George W. Bush, which was partly a reaction to the liberal era of Bill Clinton, and so on. And the presidential office has become increasingly more authoritarian. It was one of Bill Clinton’s staff advisors, Paul Begala who famously remarked, “Stroke of the pen. Law of the Land. Kinda cool,” referring to the use of executive orders. Though the use of executive orders started with George Washington, their increasing use as a tool to accomplish the president’s social or political agenda is a result of an ever more polarized and gridlocked political reality. President Obama’s chief of staff Denis McDonough recently said the White House desired that its actions will “not be subjected to undoing through [Congress] or otherwise,” leading some to question whether the White House wants tyranny.
Furthermore, American politics has long had an “escalating celebrity component, a cultish side that’s grown ever-more-conspicuous with time.” President Obama is the most celebrity-oriented president so far, capturing the support of liberal Hollywood and television personalities, using a quasi-religious imagery and rhetoric and the “Great Man” iconography.
Trump uses nearly the same celebrity factor as President Obama did in 2008. And voters in both parties have increasingly become used to an ever more imperial presidency, something that Obama’s policies have accelerated. Obama once campaigned on his predecessor’s power grabs (through executive orders), but has expanded executive authority in every direction, including “launching wars without congressional approval, claiming the power to assassinate American citizens, and using every available end-around to make domestic policy without any support from Congress.”
Though previous presidents did all of this, it has never been quite so blatant. The consequence is that he has cut the legs from under “principled liberal critiques of executive power, and weakened the American left’s role as a bulwark against Caesarism.” Political pundits in the George W. Bush era, warned against excessive executive over-reach, suggesting that conservatives would not appreciate a liberal doing the same things, which the present political reaction demonstrates. In all cases, the need to accomplish presidential goals within the context of a gridlocked or obstinate Congress has led to authoritarian practices and often over-ridden consideration of the long-term consequences.
Trump is rallying the constituency that swings between parties and has helped win elections, especially working class voters. Over the last eight years the Obama administration has not paid attention to their concerns, slamming the door on them. Trump is the consequence.
Times have changed. Politics are more polarized than ever, and though political coalitions shift all the time, what was once possible in the Bill Clinton era, or the George W. Bush era, is no longer possible. And now the left must deal with voters unmoored from either party, and nursing well-grounded feelings of betrayal. Obama often said during his 2008 campaign how he would work in a bi-partisan way once president. That never materialized. Instead, he began using executive power so much that it alienated some of the very voters that put him in office, those swing voters.
Frustration has exacerbated the voters who respond to the demagoguery of Trump. A huge percentage of them do not trust Cruz or Rubio because they are not perceived as political “outsiders” as they claim.
If you listen to the campaign talk of Mr. Trump and the other Republican candidates, they are campaigning on the idea that they would relieve the voters of their frustrations by overthrowing much of what the Obama administration has done.
Our times reflect the frustrations of the people during the Weimar Republic just before Hitler took power, and the period of time just before the French Revolution. Political extremism has its consequences. Even today in Europe, there are the Marie Le Pen’s amid the growing nationalist parties of Europe. And now there is Donald Trump in America. “He is the Republican Party’s monster,” perhaps. But what he represents is also part of the Obama legacy.
Where will this polarization take America? It will certainly lead to a religious reaction, part of which we are witnessing now, when exacerbated by crises, to demand that the nation be brought back to allegiance to God to offset the extreme liberal trends. Even Cruz and Rubio talk like they’d give churches more power, though Trump has said it openly. This conservative reaction will set the stage for the final scenes of earth’s history given in Bible prophecy. Note the “decree” in the following statement. Note also the extra-judicial killing of commandment-keepers. Enflamed by an unreasonable and demanding voter base, allied to an authoritarian leader, such a scenario could easily become reality (similar to what happened in World War II, the French Revolution, etc.).
“As the Sabbath has become the special point of controversy throughout Christendom, and religious and secular authorities have combined to enforce the observance of the Sunday, the persistent refusal of a small minority to yield to the popular demand will make them objects of universal execration. It will be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of the church and a law of the state ought not to be tolerated; that it is better for them to suffer than for whole nations to be thrown into confusion and lawlessness… This argument will appear conclusive; and a decree will finally be issued against those who hallow the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, denouncing them as deserving of the severest punishment and giving the people liberty, after a certain time, to put them to death. Romanism in the Old World and apostate Protestantism in the New will pursue a similar course toward those who honor all the divine precepts.” The Great Controversy, pages 615 and 616.