The Future of America According to President Donald J. Trump

A change in atmosphere rolled into Washington, DC, the very second Donald J. Trump approached the podium to deliver his first address as President of the United States.

The skies, thick with gray clouds all morning, picked that precise moment to part and give way to rain. At the same time, as the crowd fumbled with their parkas and ponchos, the sunny picture of America that President Barack Obama has tried to paint these last eight years began to fade behind a darker palette.

“Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential,” the president said, describing the country beyond the DC Beltway. “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

Trump’s inaugural address was a far cry from his predecessor’s insistence that “now is the greatest time to be alive.”

But the new president’s message resonated with the supporters who had gathered, rain and all, to witness his inauguration.

“America needs to be the superpower it once was,” said Damon Diamantaras, a small business owner who traveled to DC from Houston for the event. “We’ve gotten away from the things that made us prosperous.”

“This election wasn’t about conservatives or liberals. It was about the middle class,” said Ash Khare, a 68-year-old Republican elector from Warren, Pennsylvania. “Jobs aren’t there. Illegal immigration? There’s no control. And nobody got it but Donald Trump.”

That thesis helped Trump win the election and carried through in his inaugural address. The new most powerful person in the world drew a sharp distinction between the kind of progress Washington celebrates–for instance, unemployment below 5 percent–and the kind of progress his supporters seek.