No, it doesn’t look great, but …

Wed. Nov 9, 2016. 4:18pm

I know, I know. “Bigotry wins. Misogyny wins. Science denying wins. Egalitarianism loses. Being brash, rude, mean and divisive is the new normal. The Electoral College is broken.” Etc, etc. I’m not sure I completely believe all of that — maybe Trump is a genius, he’s really a centrist, and he scammed the GOP? — but no need for me to continue down that road anyway.

The reality is Hillary Clinton lost fair and square. She got more votes, but lost the more important Electoral College. The last time this happened back in 2000 I actually voted for the eventual winner and thought it was wrong. This time I don’t feel it’s any less wrong. But it is the system we have. Losing hurts, but losing is part of life.

I won’t place blame. Approximately 4% of voters chose a third party and that is well within their rights. I did what I could to steer them towards Hillary Clinton, but it wasn’t enough. I don’t blame them. Third party voters did not lose this election. Democrats lost this election by not showing up at the polls.

(That said, I’m not quite that kind. I do blame some of those third party voters for believing so many of the lies and conspiracies about Hillary Clinton. How do we teach critical thinking to those who refuse to accept it? I don’t know.)

I won’t blame the youth, either. Did they turn out? No, not as much as they could have. But this is their world and if they’re indifferent then there’s not much anybody can do about it. Maybe this will inspire them.

I’ve mentioned before that not much will change for me personally no matter who is president. (We’ll talk health insurance another day. ObamaCare was the best thing I’d ever had in over a dozen years of buying my own individual insurance.)

I don’t vote for me, though. My wife and I don’t plan to have children so I don’t vote for them, either. I vote for my nieces. I vote for my friends’ children. I vote for my friends who are in the minority (although a minority of minorities voted Trump, so maybe they know something we don’t?). I vote for the people who are directly affected, and disaffected as the case may be, due to extremist policy change. I’m nervous that the US is becoming like the country of my birth, but that looks like the way it’s going. I think we’ll be able to fix this before the youngsters I know are old enough to vote. I hope so. But it may be difficult. There is a lot of anger out there across the political spectrum and we need to figure out how to do something about that. I don’t know what.

What I do know is that in 2018 we will have midterm elections. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs and 33 of the 100 Senate seats will be contested. The best we can hope for is that the next two years will inspire (or horrify) those who didn’t vote to get out and do so. And yes, I know gerrymandering has made it difficult to pick up a majority of seats in the House, but crazier things have happened. *ahem* The Senate, though? That’s where we can make things happen. It will be quite difficult since there are 25 Dem seats, including 5 in red states, up for grabs. But crazier things have happened. *ahem* A lot of you are looking to 2020. That’s great. But we’ve got to do something to inspire the youth to vote in 2018. We can stop the hemorrhaging sooner rather than later. Maybe a Donald Trump presidency is just what we need to inspire more people who are directly affected by the political process to actually participate. (Or, hear me out here, maybe a Donald Trump presidency won’t be as bad as we thought. I’m not expecting that to be the case, but it’s possible.)

As a moderate independent who has voted Republican and Democrat in the past I have already made a vow to never vote Republican again. It’s not that I think Republicans are terrible, but the lack of transparency, the lack of policy ideas, and the number of outright lies in their campaign this year made me lose all respect. They don’t deserve my vote. This was the first time I actually didn’t vote for a single Republican on the ballot. I hope other moderates will join me, because although the far left is misguided it isn’t terrifying like the far right. The far left is misguided about things like GMOs and nuclear energy and being honest about religion. The far right is misguided about that in addition to, incredibly enough, high school level science (e.g. evolution, climate change, biology). They are also misguided about the state of the world and humanity itself. Things were already good, even great. And humans are mostly good and incredibly resilient.

I don’t want to live in a hateful world anymore than you do. The next few years may not look great, but we don’t know yet how things will shape up. Maybe there are some Republicans left in Congress who have morals. I’m not counting on it, but maybe. If so, maybe Donald Trump will not have a near authoritarian power to do what he wants. That’s how our government is supposed to work, but with Republican majorities in all the relevant places it’s hard to understand how there will be checks and balances. (OK, the Senate does not have a fillibuster proof majority, but that’s not much of a positive.) At this point all we can do is hope and I know that kind of uncertainty doesn’t inspire pleasant feelings.

I don’t know how to close this except to say that it will be okay. You’ll get through this. We’ll get through this. Whatever you are feeling please feel it. And then get to work to fix this. Don’t give up. Don’t give in.

###

If you’d like a soundtrack here are two tracks for you:

“But I still believe
And I will rise up with fists
And I will take what’s mine mine mine”

Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins – Rise Up (With Fists!!)

“I want to find the water
That will wash this whole damn slate clean
Break down, break up
We sleep in what we create

Right now, I’m living so much hate”

boysetsfire – Still Waiting For The Punchline

###

Thursday morning (Nov 10). I didn’t even send this post out to my e-mail list and I’m already sending “Deplorable Jack” comments to spam. Wow, that was quick. As has always been my comment policy: I am writing in public. You must also. Anonymity has no place in open dialogue.

14 Responses to No, it doesn’t look great, but …

  1. i’m in total agreement for you. my concerns today are health care and the fact that so many hateful people feel super empowered to say and do just crazy hateful things.

    They’ve always been in our midst, but were afraid to show their true colors in mixed company, but not anymore. :-( i’m actually quite concerned about the outcomes that is going to create on every side of the table, because if someone comes to me saying or doing anything about or to my black husband or my mixed daughter, i might be likely to pull out my legal .357 on them… just sayin… but i am a peace lover so i hope that doesn’t happen.

    I took my day or so to grieve a little and ponder and go inside, but now it’s time to rise back up and be the change. fight hate with love. fight ignorance with knowledge. and empower and encourage our young people who are our future.

    Glad we’re in this together!

    • “the fact that so many hateful people feel super empowered to say and do just crazy hateful things” – Yes, this is a problem. I hope President Trump will have the presence of mind to call out people if/when this happens.

      “fight hate with love. fight ignorance with knowledge. and empower and encourage our young people who are our future.

      Glad we’re in this together!”

      Yes, thank you, me too.

  2. I’m not a US citizen but I’ve been watching your elections with much interest.

    Perhaps it’s not my place but I’m actually excited about you guys. I believe change is good and big changes always bring big opportunities. I’m sure you’ll come out as a better country in 4 years (or at the very least poised to become greater).

    PS: I see Trump’s behavior was mostly an act to shock you all and increase his chances of winning, I predict shocking change into presidential worthy behavior (or not, I’m not Nostradamus). I kid you not, I wish we had our own Trump running for presidency last time instead of the *actual* clown we got in Mexico.

    • Of course change can be good. Let’s hope that this particular change will be good, though. There’s no guarantee of that and, as a pragmatist, I believe incremental change is the way to go. (In life and politics, as it were.)

  3. Thank you for your deep and compassionate response to this circus.

    My wife and I are rare progressives among Russian immigrants, 95% of them are rabid right-wingers. We’ve done a lot of cancelling of friendships on Facebook, we had a flow of awful posts coming from seemingly nice people. We did our grieving time and don’t have any good expectations for the next 4 years.

    • Hi Alexei. It’s too bad that you had to lose friendships because of this. The Polish immigrant community in the US seems like it’s the same as the Russian community. I was raised in a rabid right-wing household with alleged role models who think that “blacks, arabs, and poor people” are the causes of all of our problems. I left my home state of Michigan after graduating from University specifically to put distance between myself and them. But I’ve always hoped that over time, and with my general presence (regular visits, phone calls, etc), it would instill some reasonableness in them. So far it has done the opposite. Oh well. Keep fighting the good fight or whatever other cliche fits.

  4. Yup I was pretty disappointed with the results as well. Too bad the third party didnt win. I came really close to writing in John McAfee he might have even done a better job than what we have now. I am hoping to be pleasantly surprised. Here is hoping that we all dont defect and leave the US for Canada or even Poland.

  5. Donald Trump is President Elect. Talk about American Individualism. He fought against the Republican Establishment. And the liberal Democratic Establishment, the Global Establishment. Not to forget the Media Establishment..
    And he won. Impossible. Amazing.
    For those who are amazed this morning, realize you will have a President Trump like the victory speech Trump. Women, Men, Hispanics and Blacks and others voted for him. Every state he had to win- he did.
    When I spent time in South Carolina, the deep angst of the people was stunning. Media here in Canada, and the US and friends of all stripes gave this short shrift. How did this happen?
    Bernie Sanders captured a similar view of discontent. But the fix was in- and he was out. She was the worst of what a candidate can be. More of the same was what she offered. Soon the dismissive view of the elites, will rise again. The American people were referred to as deplorable, fly-over states.
    Let’s go back. Obama was the agent of change. Justin Trudeau was the agent of change. And Donald Trump was the agent of change. The American voter did not change from being enlightened when they voted for President Obama. They have voted for change again. The fact is after eight years of Obama and George W, Americans are making the same money they did 16 years ago. They can’t find jobs. They lose their homes. They cannot afford the Obamacare increases.
    A generation ago, I watched Jimmy Carter win in 1976 and attempt to heal the country. A good man, he was inept as President. I remember the great days of Ronald Reagan. I remember the attitude of, “He’s an actor! Never!” And the forces of the left said very similar phrases about Reagan that they made about Trump. If you are young enough not to know those days, you may even think that President Bill Clinton and Obama’s Presidencies were “not bad”. As Conrad Black has written, the US has had weak leaders from Clinton forward.
    After 9/11, I recall a Democratic writer who supported Al Gore write that America had “dodged a bullet” by electing George W Bush, who was better prepared to deal with that crisis.
    Flawed candidates? Of course. But acceptable candidates have not brought renewal. Bad comments from Trump about women. Yes. Hillary offered more of the same, tired policies. Forty-six percent of women voted Trump. And 49% for Hillary without plans for their economic aid. He spoke to real needs. The woman voter thought: I lost my job, and my husband is on lay-off. Do I really care about the gender of the President? Do hip-hop singers have much to do with Americans that are hurting. James Carvile was right when he said, “It’s the economy, stupid.” So voters were not impressed by concerts at a political rally. And Trump offered a way forward.
    Voters in this cycle were demeaned if they supported the Republican. What has occurred as a result is a Republican President, Senate and House. Real change is coming. The concept of lobbyists, and Government workers revolving to and from Wall Street should be over. The Congress should be not bought and sold. A real possibility of positive change is present. Do the institutions of governments need reform, as Trump posited: drain the swamp? Yes. A Reaganesque election. How successful was that? Very.
    Let’s focus on what brings us together as a people, shared values, free speech, etc. Let’s stop calling each other bigots, idiots and racists to those we do not agree with.
    This is a moment of revolutionary import, an earthquake unlikely to be repeated in our life time. Reagan’s City on the Hill is reborn. Let us have renewed faith and hope for the future, a prosperous change for every American and a new worldview, benefiting the world community.

    All things ebb and flow. Keeping a balance is a good thing. A one party system is a bad thing.

    • Love your comment. Not a republican or democrat. I can deal with 4 to 8 years of a bad president but what can’t stand is 30 to 40 years of corrupt politicians. Racism and bigotry was here long before Trump was born. I am glad he has brought out the realness in people. If someone was blind now they see. Let’s see what his next move is!

      • The idea that Trump has not been corrupt for 30 to 40 years is laughable, but I guess it depends on your definition of corrupt. False equivalency has been a problem during these campaigns and it seems it’s not going away. Apples and oranges and all that. But yes, “Let’s see what his next move is!” because we have absolutely no other choice.

        I hope with every ounce of my being that I am wrong. I want nothing more than to be laughed at for being wrong in 4 years. I can take it. But if he puts a Creationist (Ben Carson) as Sec of Education and a climate change skeptic (Myron Ebell) as head of the EPA I’m not so sure I’ll be wrong. (Hopefully the reports of these people being put into these offices are just rumors and nothing more.)

        I am heartened by the positive words of Michael Shermer: “Stay calm everyone. We have a strong republic that will continue growing stronger.” (Shermer’s whole bit here is great, but I didn’t want to copy/paste it all: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/richard-dawkins-and-other-prominent-scientists-react-to-trump-rsquo-s-win/)

        • As a Canadian watching your election I guess I cannot figure out why everyone gets so worked up about who won a election. Whoever your leader is will make no difference in your life really.
          To blame a president on what can happen in your life is absurd.
          Life hasn’t really changed a lot since 1945.
          You go to work pay taxes buy stuff have a family seems like the same old script to me.
          Its nice to see people trying to change the script and enjoy your life in my opinion for the better.

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