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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 11/15/16

President Trump will not be Superman, just as President Obama was not Superman

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) November 15, 2016: When the 2012 election results came in and the election was called, former Governor Mitt Romney, the Republican Party's 2012 presidential candidate, had to concede that he had lost the election to President Barack Obama. Even though I had voted for President Obama's re-election in 2012, I actually thought that Romney had a chance of winning, because the economy was not working in Obama's favor. But Romney was himself actually surprised when he lost to Obama in 2012.

In 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic Party's presidential candidate, had to take her turn in conceding that she had lost in the Electoral College to Donald J. Trump, the Republican Party's candidate. But I do not know if Hillary was as surprised by her loss in 2016 as Romney was by his in 2012.

Even though I voted for Hillary, I had published a number of OEN pieces about Trump before the election, reminding OEN readers of the possibility that he might be elected, as he now has been.

Since the election, I have published two OEN pieces about the election results:

Thus the present commentary is my third OEN piece about the election results. I do not see these three commentaries as superseding one another, but as complementing and rounding out one another.

As I write, Hillary holds a small but still increasing edge over Trump in the popular vote. Nevertheless, her impressive voter turnout in certain crucial battleground states did not equal then-Senator Obama's voter turnout in 2008. In 2008, then-Senator Obama was a fresh young face who symbolized the black civil rights movement of the 1960s and, because of his vote in the Senate against the war in Iraq, the anti-war movement in the 1960s against the Vietnam War. By contrast, then-Senator Clinton had voted in the Senate for the war in Iraq, even though young Hillary Rodham had been against the Vietnam War in the 1960s. (Unfortunately, she was not the only baby boomer from the 1960s anti-war movement against the Vietnam War who failed to oppose the war in Iraq.)

Although I was surprised as I watched the 2016 election results come in, I was not as surprised as some other Americans were, because I had never thought that it was unthinkable that Trump would win, as I had said repeatedly in my OEN piece about Trump before the election. Evidently, certain white voters turned out to vote for Trump in certain crucial battleground states who had not turned out for Romney in 2012, perhaps because he was a Mormon. Of course in both 2012 and 2016, as in earlier elections, there were millions of eligible Americans who did not vote, for whatever reason(s). So we understandably focus on those eligible Americans who were moved to vote, for whatever reason(s). What moves voters to vote?

In the terminology that Aristotle uses to identify the three appeals that a civic orator makes (to logos, pathos, and ethos), Trump was making a strong pathos-appeal to his supporters.

The nineteenth-century British author John Henry Newman famously said, "The whole man moves." Today we might prefer to re-phrase this a bit and say that the whole person moves.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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