Is Trump the New Obama? Ways They Are Alike


Over at Aleteia I argue that “Trump is a Mirror.” In writing it I started to notice another phenomenon: There are many similarities between Trump and Obama and their appeal …


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They are both “outsiders” challenging the system

Why is Trump so popular?  Because  people are sick of Washington and looking for an outsider who shakes up the rules, says Peggy Noonan’s latest Trump column.

But of course Obama in his day was The Stranger in the White House who “won the presidency because he was a Washington Outsider.”


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They both represent “hope and change” to their supporters.

Said Obama as his campaign launched: “There are those who don’t believe in talking about hope. They say, ‘Well, we want specifics, we want details, and we want white papers, and we want plans.’ We’ve had a lot of plans, Democrats. What we’ve had is a shortage of hope. And over the next year, over the next two years, that will be my call to you.”

Trump doesn’t talk about hope and change, but his supporters definitely do.

Both are popular because Americans have grown dissatisfied with a sitting president and we are desperate for something new.


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Neither is above reality-TV style self-promotion.

People complain that Trump is a clown from reality TV. But that has not been a negative for presidents from the time Clinton appeared on the Arsenio Hall show to Obama and his buzzfeed selfie stick.  And don’t forget that Obama’s White House lit itself up with rainbow colors to celebrate the redefinition of marriage and tweeted a “Straight Outta Compton” meme to sell his Iran deal …


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They both have expressed grandiose expectations of their presidencies.

Trump said: “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”

Obama promised seven times that he would create 7 million jobs and he summed up his presidency beforehand this way: “[G]enerations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.”



They are both seen as rich and good for the rich.

Obama is millionaire who assembled a cabinet of millionaires, and whose presidency is seen as benefiting the super-rich.

Trump, of course, is one of the super-rich; and he considers his personal wealth a great argument for why he should be president.


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The both have strong ties to pop culture.

Trumps’ ties are to beauty pageants, Reality TV and Wrestling while Obama’s are to pop music and Hollywood.


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They both expect the power of their personal deal-making to change the world.

In 2007, Obama told New Hampshire Public Radio, “I truly believe that the day I’m inaugurated, not only does the country look at itself differently, but the world looks at America differently. If I’m reaching out to the Muslim world, they understand that I’ve lived in a Muslim country, and I may be a Christian, but I also understand their point of view. Then, I think that the world will have confidence that I am listening to them … That will ultimately make us safer.”

Said Trump: “Now, our country needs— our country needs a truly great leader, and we need a truly great leader now. We need a leader that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.’ We need a leader that can bring back our jobs, can bring back our manufacturing, can bring back our military, can take care of our vets. Our vets have been abandoned.”

So, is Trump the new Obama? Or is all of this just an indictment of the state of politics in America, apart from these two men?

Both are excellent questions. And sad questions, too.


The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author

Tom Hoopes, author of What Pope Francis Really Said, is writer in residence at Benedictine College, in Atchison, Kansas, where he teaches in the Journalism and Mass Communications Department and edits The Gregorian, a Catholic identity speech digest. He was previously editor of the National Catholic Register for 10 years and with his wife, April, of Faith & Family magazine for five. A frequent contributor to Catholic publications, he began his career as a reporter in the Washington, D.C., area and as press secretary for U.S. House Ways & Means Chairman Bill Archer. He lives in Atchison with his wife and those of his nine children still at home. The views and opinions expressed on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Benedictine College or the Gregorian Institute.

1 Comment

  1. This is so silly. Obama has zero ties to pop music and Hollywood. Just because people there support him does not mean he is one of them. Speaking of grandiose, last I checked, Obama did bring back over 10 million jobs and signed the most consequential health reform bill in 40 years into law. You’re delusional if you think Obama and trump are one and the same. Obama will go down as one of America’s most consequential presidents, trump will be remembered as the embodiment of republican bigotry and incompetence.

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