Trump vs Obama: The stark differences and open similarities

President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016.

In Donald Trump, the United States elected a president as opposite to Barrack Obama as can be.

Twice, in 2008 and 2012, American voters chose a 48-year-old, urbane, liberal black man; now in 2016, they have elected a 70-year-old, unrepentantly coarse white man.

Is that not America?

"The path that this country has taken has never been a straight line," said Obama said on Wednesday. "We zig and we zag."

Obama, the zig, was a guy so cool in the eyes of much of the world that he got a Nobel Peace Prize before he had a chance to do much.

Trump, the zag, is a hurler of insults, a raw orator you cannot turn away from if you can bring yourself to tune in, a boor with women, a peddler of falsehoods that made millions of eyes roll but spoke a larger truth in the eyes of his supporters.

Foreigners shake their heads at a country that over the years defines cool, then represents what crazy looks like.

Trump won with the backing of a long-prized, but declining, segment of white voters, especially men, especially less educated ones.

They were on top of the political world for ages, part of Richard Nixon's 'silent majority', Reagan's haul of blue-collar Democrats and Bill Clinton's bubbas.

Now they fade in an increasingly diverse country.

Obama came to national attention with a speech of poetry and power that dreamed of red states and blue states joined spiritually as united states.

It took the breath away from some Republicans as well as many Democrats.

Though polar opposites in character, politics and experience, Obama and Trump have some things in common.

They both seized on dissatisfaction and rode the revolutionary impulse to success.

Obama had to claw against the establishment - personified in 2008 by primary rival Hillary Clinton - and benefited from that underdog posture.

This time Democrats served up the establishment, in Clinton, the candidate who told snickering donors about the "irredeemable" ''deplorables" backing Trump, and woke up on Wednesday to devastation.

Both Obama and Trump tapped from their different political tribes on the way to the White House.

A nation that is pretty upbeat about the job the cool black president is doing has handed the reins to a man who spun conspiracy theories about Obama's country of birth.

After Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, it will be a time to be certain of nothing except that revolution, from some quarter at some point, will come again. –AP