He was years ahead of his time in seeing this phenomenon:
I had written about such men before. In The Dead Zone, Greg Stillson is a door-to-door Bible salesman with a gift of gab, a ready wit, and the common touch. He is laughed at when he runs for mayor in his small New England town, but he wins.
He is laughed at when he runs for the House of Representatives (part of his platform is a promise to rocket America’s trash into outer space), but he wins again. When Johnny Smith, the novel’s precognitive hero, shakes his hand, he realizes that some day Stillson is going to laugh and joke his way into the White House, where he will start World War Three.
Anyone see/read that one?
…started thinking Donald Trump might win the presidency in September of 2016. By the end of October, I was almost sure. Thus, when the election night upset happened, I was dismayed but not particularly surprised. I didn’t even think it was much of an upset, in spite of the Huffington Post aggregate poll, which gave Hillary Clinton a 98% chance of winning – an example of wishful thinking if ever there were one.
Some of my belief arose from the signage I was seeing. I’m from northern New England, and in the run-up to the election I saw hundreds of Trump-Pence signs and bumper stickers but almost none for Clinton-Kaine.
To me this didn’t mean there were no Clinton supporters in the houses I passed or the cars ahead of me on Route 302; what it did seem to mean was that the Clinton supporters weren’t particularly invested. This was not the case with the Trump people, who tended to have billboard-sized signage in their yards and sometimes two stickers on their cars (TRUMP-PENCE on the left; HILLARY IS A CRIMINAL on the right).
Brexit also troubled me. Most of the commentators brushed its importance aside, saying that the issue of whether or not Britain should leave the EU was very different from that of who should become the American president, and besides, British and American voters were very different animals.
I agreed with neither assessment, because there was a vibe in the air during most of 2016, a feeling that people were both frightened of the status quo and sick of it. Voters saw a vast and overloaded apple cart lumbering past them. They wanted to upset the motherfucker and would worry about picking up those spilled apples later. Or just leave them to rot.
Clinton voters were convinced she’d win, even if they saw her as a ho-hum candidate at best. Many did not even bother going to the polls, which was a large (and largely unstated) factor in her loss. Trump voters, on the other hand, could not wait to pull those levers. They didn’t just want change; they wanted a man on horseback. Trump filled the bill.