The Current

Trump as ultimate political disruptor, breaking all the rules to victory

How did Trump do it? By breaking every rule in the book — up-ending the traditional way of doing things. As he prepares to enter the oval office, The Current looks at U.S. president-elect Donald Trump as the ultimate disruptor.
Donald Trump will become the first president who's never served in public office or the military. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

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>> The Disruptors

Call it a seismic shift, a massive upheaval or a major disruption — the election of Donald Trump changes everything.

As soon as he announced his candidacy, U.S. president-elect Donald Trump broke every rule in the book. And since then, he's shown himself to be, perhaps, the biggest political disruptor ever seen.

Lifelong Republican Teri Galvez is one of the millions who cast her vote for Donald Trump  — an outsider disrupting the status quo that she says is needed right now.

"I think it's time for a shake-up and he's really going to do that," Galvez tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

"I for one am tired that people aren't listening in Washington."

Galvez says her vote was to support the party — not Trump's rhetoric. 

"Philosophically I am a Republican."

She tells Tremonti that while as a Mexican-American she is bothered by Trump's plan to build a wall on the Mexican border, she was more offended by his comments about women.

"I think that he'll dial back that rhetoric somewhat," Galvez tells Tremonti. 

"And you know I think he's still going to be strong on the issue of immigration."
'You need somebody, because politicians are all talk, no action. They will not bring us — believe me — to the promised land.' - Donald Trump (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Chris Kutarna, author of Age of Discovery, says Trump's campaign was "startling authentic" to voters because he spoke in a language they'd never heard before from politicians.

"He owned this discourse of anger and frustration, and a sense that we are not being listened to like no one else who stood for the presidency this year was able to do."

Kutarna says Trump breaking campaign rules worked because he addressed the issue of listening to people like Galvez mentions where people are not happy with the changes taking place.

Trump's supporters looked past (and in some cases. embraced) his misogyny, racism and xenophobia because of his underlying strategy: he listened to and spoke up for people who felt they had been long ignored by the political establishment. 

According to Kutarna, what Trump did was step up and "say 'I'm going to help us make sense of this', you know point a finger at the elite and blame them."

"What history says is that a moment of wide and deep disruption like this is a fertile ground for populism."

Another target in Trump's campaign was the media and a gamechanger according to Ben Mullin, managing editor of

"He basically ran a campaign against the media," Mullin tells Tremonti.

"He spent a lot of time demonizing the media, telling everybody that the media was against him."

Mullin says Trump's anti-media campaign worked so well because it fit into the anti-establishment rhetoric that was resonating with his supporters.

Clearly this election shows that America is divided but Kutarna points out historically populists don't do a good job of unifying.

"What populists do is they single out minorities. They focus hatred from their support groups in different directions so I mean, I sincerely hope that Trump governs differently from how he campaigned."

Listen to the full conversation.

This segment was produced by The Current's John Chipman, Willow Smith and Sujata Berry.