To the catchy riff from Sweet Home Alabama, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) took the podium in Madison, Alabama, on Sunday afternoon and changed the trajectory of the 2016 Republican nomination fight—and perhaps also of U.S. history.
In becoming the first U.S. Senator to endorse Trump, Sessions, regarded as the gold-standard of immigration hawkery, declared, “Politicians have promised for 30 years to fix illegal immigration. Have they done it?” As the crowd shouted, No!, Sessions answered: “Donald Trump will do it.”
Then Sessions added, “I’ve told Donald Trump this isn’t a campaign, this is a movement.”
Basking in Sessions’ warm words, Trump himself bounded to the podium and echoed Sessions as he marveled, “There has never been anything like this in American politics; they call it a phenomenon.” Yes, a phenomenon—that’s what it is.
As is sometimes said of a new figure in politics, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then