Yesterday morning, my grown daughter called me right about this time (7:00 a.m) emotional and excited to have cast her vote for what she hoped would be the first woman president. We both got teary, and hoped for luck as the day wore on. Luck, as we all now know, was not on our side.
I spent most of last night tossing and turning in a semi-sleep, MSNBC‘s live election coverage swimming in an out of my head as I drifted back and forth wondering if I was in the middle of a strange dream. Clearly I was not.
This morning, groggy, but awake, I’ve tried to make sense of what happened last night into the wee hours. I’ve read the transcript of his victory (choke) speech, thought about the ideology of the man just elected President of the United States. Thought about why Hillary Clinton lost and why Trump won. None of it settles me, but I have to go through this to understand for myself, for people who ask me, for my readers, for my friends, for my children. For myself.
Part of me is trying to normalize this…thing…that happened. Will it be as terrible as we conjured it to be? Will Trump the President eschew Trump the candidate who steamrolled over first the entire Republican field with anger, insults, and lies? Will Trump the President (I’m repeating it to get accustomed to the idea) be transformed once he realizes he has to govern…as in government? Will he realize that going backwards is not to make America better, but to transport it to a time when Silicon Valley was a dream? When women stayed at home and baked cookies instead of strutting and hid their talents “beneath a bushel” as our grandmothers did?
I think maybe he won’t be so terrible. After all, he will replace Scalia–an arch conservative–with another arch conservative. (And I will pray daily for the health of Ruth Bader Ginsburg).
But then I wake up from that notion with a jolt of reality: that this man won by stoking fears that lay just beneath the surface for generations. Fear of the “other.” Fear of change, of progress.
There are plenty of fingers to point, not the least of which is toward Hillary Clinton herself, whose extreme guardedness made her seem closed, untrustworthy and secretive. Yes, there was the unfairness of Wikileaks, the injustice of the Comey letters. But Hillary was a flawed candidate that would gain few Republican crossovers. She was wrong, by the way, not to speak to her supporters last night, to wait until this morning to deliver her concession speech. It was a sour, ungracious way to end her candidacy at the very least.
I point a second finger at the media who refused until it was way too late to dig deep enough or play loud enough the evidence that Trump is an unfit liar who’d say anything to get elected. (Politifact gave him 59 “4 Pinocchios” to HRC’s 7–and who’s the liar????)
I point another very large finger at the DNC itself who with arrogance and complete blindness refused to listen to parts of the party pleading for the Democrats to show themselves to be more than Republicans in barely progressive clothing, and who backed even before she proved herself viable (really viable in the general) an incredibly flawed candidate. Had Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio run against her, it would have been a landslide GOP win. Had Joe Biden run, he would have crushed Trump. Had Bernie been given a fair chance in the primaries, he, too, I believe would have bettered Trump.
This will be a time for the Democrats to dig deep and soul search, build a deep bench for the future. I doubt much can be done about 2018, given the landscape both in the House of Representatives and the Senate races next cycle. (Too many Democratic seats at stake to flip the Senate.)
Then there are my fellow Bernie Sanders supporters who believed there is little difference between Clinton and Trump and who and whose preference was to blow up the system, rather than struggle with a democrat with whom they were uncomfortable. Who voted for Trump as a protest, who voted for Stein or Johnson as a WTF vote.
But all of this is beside the point. Trump won. And he will be POTUS on January 20. We have no idea what sort of president he will be, but I have a pretty good idea–especially with both houses of congress behind him.
Much good will be undone that had been wrought by a two-term president with a belligerent congress who leaves office with a greater than 50-percent approval rating. Remember in January, that “we the people” voted to replace him a man who built his political career on trying to delegitimize this same president–President Barack Obama. We the people have elected a president who believes that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.
We the people have elected a president has vowed to immediately repeal the Affordable Care Act (where will that leave your under-26-year-old kid? Or your pre-existing condition?) We the people have elected a man who will on November 28 be in court to answer a fraud case. We the people have elected a vindictive, vengeful man who has a history of striking back at anyone who has insulted him, has angered him. What will that mean for the media? What will that mean for people who have spoken out against him?
We the people have elected a Xenophobic, Islamophobic, anti-choice habitual liar who will do anything to win, who claims he is the champion of the working class, but has done much by his own business practices to harm them, whose business interests and his duty to our country will undoubtedly clash. And I haven’t even touched his foreign policy, including treaties. What will he do? No one knows.
That’s all I’ve got. You?