Trump Proves a Simple Truth: Obama Was Too Intelligent for Republicans to Understand

Back in 2014 I wrote an article titled The Simple Truth: President Obama is Too Intelligent for Republicans to Understand.



The general premise of that piece was fairly simple. While there were clearly a lot of factors behind the right-wing’s irrational hatred of Barack Obama, one of the driving forces behind their disdain for our 44th president was that he was simply too intelligent for most of them to understand.

Here’s an excerpt from that article:

When it comes right down to it, I really do believe a huge part about why so many of the non-racist Republicans are against President Obama is because many of them are simply unable to grasp his “big picture” thinking that drives a lot of his policies. That requires intelligence and far too many conservatives would rather just be told what to think by Fox News. They want their policies to be so simplified and catchy that they fit on bumper stickers.

It’s like I’ve often said, Democrats are trying to use science, math, reality, history and education to reason with people who deny science, don’t trust math, create their own reality, distort history and often devalue quality education.

And that’s a big reason why we’re not getting anywhere in this country.

Without a doubt, that article was not only one of our most widely read and shared for the year, but it was also one for which I received the most amount of hate mail. After all, how dare I suggest millions of Republicans hated Obama because he was too intelligent?

Enter the rise of Donald J. Trump, current Republican “president” — and bona fide moron.

Aside from being obsessed with undoing Obama’s entire legacy, in many ways, Trump’s the antithesis of his predecessor.

While Obama was a well-spoken, articulate individual who seemed to govern under the premise of bigger picture thinking, Trump’s a bumbling imbecile with a limited vocabulary who seems to govern under what I call “bumper sticker politics“; short, simple talking points small enough to fit on a bumper sticker.

In other words, Trump’s stupidity is a big reason why he became extremely popular among the vast majority of conservatives.


In Trump’s world, there is no “big picture thinking.” Everything is about slogans, simple talking points, and easy to chant phrases. Make America great again! Lock her up! Crooked Hillary! Drain the swamp! Build that wall! 

Whereas Obama pushed for policies that built toward an evolving future to better this country, in Trump’s world, if you can’t fix it with something simple like “bombing the hell out of it,” “tax cuts,” or bans on immigrants, well, then “you’re stupid.” 

While I’m not going to say that all Trump supporters are stupid, with each day that he’s in office, and with each new way his disgraceful behavior embarrasses this country, it becomes increasingly difficult to make any sort of excuse other than willful ignorance or stupidity.

Though I do find it rather fitting that, here we are, over three years since I wrote an article declaring that a primary driving force behind the right’s hatred of Obama was that he was too intelligent for them to understand, and we’re now facing a reality where many of the same Republicans who loathed our 44th president currently defend and support the most unfit, incompetent, and unqualified man to ever hold that office.

Trump pandered to fact-free conservative ignorance, hate, paranoia, racism, and bigotry by telling these people exactly what they wanted to hear, no matter how dishonest, unrealistic, or flat-out stupid it was.

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Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Ricky Rick

    I agree that the simple one-liners have been the GOP strategy for a long time. Most conservatives like things that are simple, black or white, this or that, no gray areas. The world is more complex than that and democrats in my opinion seem to embrace this more. But you are faced with around half the population (ok, maybe we are down to 30 something percent now), that need things fed to them in a simple format. Trump apparently was successful at this, not because it is a strategy that wasn’t used previously, but it was his method 100% across the board. Does anyone believe that Trump agrees with everything he spews out? If it sells to his base, he is putting it out there. If democrats are to be faulted, it is that they haven’t presented their case in a format that reality says must be done in a simpler fashion to get more of an audience. Make the message simple, then instruct viewers to click below for further details if they want to delve into the details.

  • strayaway

    John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter were intelligent. Eisenhower was intelligent in practical ways. Obama not so much. He was intelligent enough to survive Harvard. He isn’t stupid. His foreign policy though was a disaster. After running the country an additional $10T into debt ($30,000/American), he only managed to secure the most insipid economic recovery since WWII. Obama seemed to shrink when he wound up in room with Putin. Being sort of cool wasn’t enough to keep up with Putin. Trump, at least, doesn’t look like he’s wilting when he gets together with Putin or Xi. I guess I never understood the “big picture” about the hundreds of thousands of Dead Arabs and millions of refugees Obama’s policies created. It just seems like a mess.