Experience - Society

How Did It Happen? – Pt. 8 – Summary

How did an imbecile like Trump become President?

Featured image courtesy of The Daily Beast.

The Fly-over States Got Ignored

If you are looking for a soundbite answer, that would be it. If you read through the previous seven posts you know there is no soundbite answer for this.

Distrust of the government became large scale with LBJ and Vietnam. Boys who weren’t old enough to vote were being sent to die in a foreign land for reasons the American people did not care for or understand. When the doctrine of a “limited war” became public knowledge this enraged the American public. It meant the war would be a perpetual meat grinder because we couldn’t just roll into North Vietnam with everything we had and ‘Git ‘R Done.’ I will let those who actually fought in that war make further comments on it. I was but a small child then.

‘Tricky Dick’ Nixon may have lied to the American people hand over fist, engaged in Watergate and the cover-up attempt, then resigned in disgrace to avoid impeachment, but by and large he cared about the working class in the fly-over states. It just took many of us quite a while to realize that fact. We were still hating him for Watergate and President Ford.


Pardoning Nixon about a month after taking office sure make it feel like the Wink and Nod club was running the show. The working class revolted. It helped that many in the foreign countries of California and New York still held to the Norman Rockwell idea of a family farm.

courtesy of 4-H History Preservation Program

The very thing Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture set out to destroy.

Along with the idea of what was once everywhere and good came the salt of the Earth honesty and integrity. That integrity was always propped up by a deep faith because a farmer could till the land and plant the crop but only God could make it grow to provide a bountiful harvest.

Against such a backdrop the Democrats found a peanut farmer from Georgia to run for President. The revolt breached the wall and 297 electoral votes later Jimmy Carter, the nicest guy to ever occupy the White House, became President of the United States.

The religious conviction got him a bit too involved with Israel at a time when the bulk of our crude oil was coming from OPEC and 20 MPG was a really big number for gas mileage. The Russia grain embargo was a complete debacle; tanking jobs, companies, and the economy.


Ronald Reagan was so well known for all of his film work and seemed so presidential the fly-over states couldn’t shove him into office fast enough. We blindly ignored the funding coming from the foreign country of California and the military industrial complex. On his first trip to the Electoral College he came away with 489 votes to Mr. Carter’s 49.

The massive off-shoring of good paying factory jobs was sold to the public as freeing up the workforce for the higher end better paying jobs (Ronnie’s Promise). We were going to build the complex good stuff. A big chunk were going to be knowledge workers in this new fangled computer field.

Forty-plus year old guys had to sit in classrooms with the kids who baby sat their kids or worse, with their own kids, to take advantage of the retraining so they just might be able to feed their family in the future.

Reagan’s re-election was an even bigger landslide pulling in 525 votes to Walter Mondale’s 13. The training programs hadn’t yet run out of funding and the dad’s were willing to suffer the indignity of sitting in the same class as the kids they knew given the promise of a better job. In the eyes of the working class the bad stuff didn’t surface until near the end. By then it was obvious Reagonomics was all about the rich getting richer and the working class getting poorer. When you give rich people more money they hang onto it; poor people blow it because they are used to being broke.

George H. W. Bush

Enough people were still doing good and feeling good about the Reagan years that George H. W. Bush got 426 votes to Michael Dukakis’ 111. As I remember this election it was a lot like watching paint dry and so were the candidates. By the end of his first term people felt so screwed and were tired of listening to all of complaining about wanting line item veto power.

Bush 41 served only the incredibly wealthy and powerful. Under his tenure the Immigration Act of 1990 was passed. The restrictions of this act would increasingly be ignored in the following years. The not being able to replace a U.S. citizen with a visa worker as well as having to pay an H-1B worker the same as a U.S. citizen would simply become wind through the trees.

Disney would force their IT workers to train the foreign workers replacing them. Many other companies did the same. This single act would be used to completely undo “Ronnie’s Promise” of America making the cool stuff and having a lot of high paying knowledge based jobs and it was done when his vice president was in office.


Bill Clinton received 370 electoral votes to George H. W. Bush’s 168. The Clintocrats were born. Enter White Watergate, Ken Starr, and evening news broadcasts teaching 12 year old kids more about oral sex than their parents knew in college. He got re-elected and in retrospect he seemed more focused on “the quick win” and where he was going to put his penis next than any long-term thinking.

The Clinton-Era is where the roots of the financial crisis are planted. Relaxing the rules on mortgages until there basically weren’t any. Everyone involved turned a blind eye and ratings agencies gave investment grade ratings to financial instruments backed by worthless paper.

While we created Al-Qaeda pushing Russia out of Afghanistan then turning our backs on the country when it needed reconstruction, the widespread terrorist growth can be tied directly back to creating a Global Village without creating a Global Village Council first.

For under $50 you can buy a URL and start creating Web sites. Terrorist groups spin up Web sites to recruit new members globally. Before it had to be someone that lived close or was willing to wait for a letter to arrive. They can buy weapons on whatever the current Silk Road is on the Dark Web.

More and more just keeps coming out because it was all about a “quick win” in the media and making even more money for backers from the foreign countries of New York and California. The fly-over states were once again being royally screwed. Since the Clinton screwings seem to keep flaring up. One could say we also got the gift that keeps on giving from all the Clinton screwings we got.

In the end even the foreign countries of California and New York turned on Clinton, putting out Wag the Dog.

Despite people claiming to like President Clinton, his not resigning ala Nixon and the Democrats not throwing him out of office shredded what little bit of government trust there was. The Hillarycare debacle didn’t sit well either. It wasn’t the attempt, it was the train wreck that got hit by a plane crash that people didn’t like.

The X-Files

On September 10, 1983 The X-Files pilot aired on FOX. It was followed a week later by its second episode titled Deep Throat. This series became a cultural phenomenon. It ran for nine seasons and became the must-watch TV for most of its early years. X-Files was bigger than Game of Thrones because everybody could watch it and most did. The X-Files made nutters who chased conspiracy theories cool.

The X-Files: The Lone Gunmen

Buses drove around major major cities with ads like this on them.

Working for the government is cool

It was a wee bit of government employee recruiting. They really needed help because by this time in the 1990s everyone was trying to get into the computer industry with all of those jobs paying north of $100K.

Diving into conspiracy theories became somewhat cool. It was at least an acceptable recreational activity one could do at home alone on the Internet. As with all recreational activities, for some people they become an obsession or addiction. People actually became like The Lone Gunmen.

Gartner Group

During the mid 1990s Gartner Group started marketing the “Right Sizing” fraud. MBAs were laying IT workers off wholesale just a scant few years in front of Y2K. Upper management took huge bonuses while good paying IT jobs were shed like water off a roof.

Just a couple years later there was a mad rush to “fix Y2K.” Many companies had to hire those exact same people back at much higher consulting rates. Nobody went to jail for that “Right Sizing” scam though they should have.

Even more of “Ronnies Promise” was broken here.

George W. Bush

This president trapped us in endless wars. He only cared about the haves and have mores. People hate him for a lot of reasons:

  • The Stop-Loss policy forcing soldiers to stay in service well past their contract end.
  • WMD scam to “Win Daddy’s War.”
  • “16 Words.”
  • The Hurricane Katrina flyover.
  • Let’s not forget about the whole “hanging chad” thing.

For working class Americans the list kept going on and on. Most were too despondent to actually vote. There was absolutely nobody looking out for them. George W. Bush got a second term not because people loved him but because nobody cared enough to vote and there wasn’t anyone to actually vote for.

Barack Obama

The working class finally got someone who wanted to actually do something for them. Obamacare helped millions of Americans. While some factory and office workers could get healthcare through an employer 57 million workers were part of the Gig Economy and they didn’t have good options for healthcare. This was due to massive abuse of H-1B and other visa programs.

Generally the working class felt better about life and many more had health insurance. We were all still getting screwed by relentless visa abuse as the one percent tried to cap middle class income at $60K forever. Yes, the Immigration Act of 1990 actually stated a number and that number was $60K. It was a middling IT wage then and dramatically below the bottom of the market a few years later.

We didn’t find out about it until Trump was in office, but these mostly H-1B visa firms were also engaging in intellectual property/trade secrets theft.


  • Roger Stone, who urged Trump to run, was very good at finding people to manipulate social media. Russian election interference certainly didn’t hurt either.
  • The number of people following conspiracy theories had been growing steadily since the peak of the X-Files. Not blaming the show. People got interested and like a narcotic, some people simply couldn’t put it down.
  • Evangelical churches had gotten very good at siloing their members. Encouraging more and more to home school. Some of the bigger ones have church activities every evening or at least multiple evenings per week.
  • QAnon managed to get Evangelicals and basically most followers to believe the mainstream media was part of the cover-up so not to be trusted, further siloing people.
  • Rise of the Nazis. There was always a fringe part of the Republican party that was Nazi or in today’s parlance “white supremacists.” Slowly, over the years, it put on a nice smile, better suit, and got elected to Washington. It could hide as long as it was only serving the interests of “Big Oil” and the military industrial complex because those were run mostly by white people. The relentless visa abuse combined with the accelerated off-shoring of factory jobs (how many iPhones does Apple make in America?) left a large swath unemployed.
  • Unemployment numbers are fake. This is widely known, yet completely ignored. Once you have been unemployed long enough to run out of benefits you fall off the unemployment count and onto welfare. The welfare number is never advertised in the same breath as the unemployment number. Until the pandemic, gig workers, many of whom aren’t paid as W-2 employees, could neither file for nor collect unemployment.
  • Big Coal wanted a voice.

Anytime large numbers of people are unemployed and on hard times they will look around for someone to blame. Adolph Hitler exploited this in Nazi Germany and Donald Trump exploited it in America.

He completely glossed over the fact nobody was volunteering to come off welfare in New York or where ever to go pick fruits and vegetables in California or work on the kill floor of a meat packing plant. The Mexicans crossing the border illegally were desperate enough to take those jobs. People on welfare in those and other states weren’t. They all wanted to eat the food, but nobody wanted to do the work.

So, to bring in the Nazis and the long term unemployed you identify a “them.” Then you have a dirty tricks team create QAnon telling devout Evangelicals you are fighting a war against a Cabal of Pedophiles. These people aren’t stupid, they are just isolated from any actual information. Besides, Trump promised to pack the court with judges that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

The Clintocrats were completely focused on the foreign countries of California and New York. The rest of the Republicans were focused on Big Oil and the money from the military industrial complex who were making lots of money with George W. Bush’s endless war. Big Coal threw it’s support behind Trump because he promised to roll back “burdensome regulations.”

In the end, people put an imbecile who had been carefully guided by the puppet masters around him in the White House. They claimed to be decent God fearing people yet they overlooked reprehensible behavior that made America the laughing stock of the world.

Given a choice between two movies they had seen before, “What do you have to lose?” became a valid question in the minds of the completely downtrodden.

That’s how it happened. That’s how someone who’s only concern was re-election and Trump Tower Moscow got put into the White House. Everybody else wanted to shit on the fly-over states yet again.

Roland Hughes is the president of Logikal Solutions, a business applications consulting firm specializing in OpenVMS platforms and Qt on Linux. Hughes serves as a lead consultant with over two decades of experience using computers and operating systems. With a degree in Computer Information Systems, the author's experience is focused on systems across a variety of diverse industries including heavy equipment manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, stock exchanges, tax accounting, and hardware value-added resellers, to name a few. Working throughout these industries has strengthened the author's unique skill set and given him a broad perspective on the role and value of technology in industry.

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