Donald Trump will be the first president who did not serve a day in any kind of government or military post. And that isn’t even the most remarkable part of his amazing ascent.
He campaigned as nobody did before — without manners, without regard to how whole constituencies would receive his remarks. He did it with a loose-lipped, fact-challenged, self-promoting audacity — all of which his fans celebrated and his detractors deplored.
The real estate heir’s list of factual firsts did not end there.
He refused to disclose tax forms, as has been standard practice for U.S. presidential candidates since the 1970s. He made a rapid-fire habit of tweeting, spreading conspiracy theories and treating a Russian regime as a political friend.
Just as remarkably, he denounced in catty terms the three previous GOP nominees, including his party’s last White House incumbent, George W. Bush, before eviscerating several of their party platforms.
He even told his audience: “Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.” Trump won anyway.
The most stunning aspect of this race may be that a winner would finally emerge at all, given the low esteem in which so many citizens seemed to hold both major-party candidates.
CNN reported on early exit polls Tuesday: “Some 54 percent of the electorate have an unfavorable opinion of Hillary Clinton, while 61 percent have a similar view of Donald Trump.”
Clinton, the first female major party nominee for president, purposely planned her election-night appearance below a glass ceiling at the Javits Center in Manhattan. That ceiling as well as the symbolic one remain intact on Wednesday. Ex-President Bill Clinton vied to become the first “first husband.”
The firsts also included an investigation by the FBI in the course of a presidential campaign that concluded with no charges against Clinton — only to be reopened months later and closed again the weekend before Election Day.
She collapsed in public barely two months before the election, only then disclosing she had pneumonia.
It was the first such contest in memory between two New York State residents. It was also the first presidential contest that focused salient attention on the Latino vote, a change that has been expected for some time.
But wage slaves can all look forward to those big tax cuts, right?
Suspense will prevail early on over who might be nominated to the Supreme Court — and who might be confirmed.
Also a wide-open question: Whether the U.S. can reach consensus on how to proceed in matters of war and foreign affairs.
Maybe it isn’t a matter of who wins, but how the nation goes on regardless of the top official.
Doomsday, Clinton fans? Well, remember: We’ve been through wars, depressions and dubious leadership.
Maybe the road ahead isn’t all so grim and the republic will collect itself, survive and thrive — no matter how many millions of voters on the losing end feel at the end of this contest.
America was designed to resist rule by one person, as some of us learned in school. On Wednesday Trump meets with President Barack Obama, whose legitimacy he challenged on the debunked claim that he was born in Kenya.