President-elect Trump. Roll that around in your mouth for awhile, see how it tastes.
This is what we get after the most portentous election in American history. The office of what was once quaintly called chief magistrate will be occupied by a temperamental narcissist hustler with no knowledge of statecraft, history, the world, or the Constitution. The republic is over, baby. You just need to decide how you'll live with it.
The pundits and pollsters were surprised. I was not.
For months, I've had a nagging worry. The cultural left grabbed the public square. Gay marriage, now accepted by most Americans, was not enough. We had Black Lives Matter shouting down opposing views and even taking the microphone from Bernie Sanders, whether a police shooting was uncalled for or righteous. The LGBTQI activists pushed into mainstream media to the point of a New York Times story on gender identity change in the first grade. The left weaponized language, such as "white privilege." As if all white people are the same and similarly "privileged." It celebrated the coming minority status of white people, demonized "white American history" through the lens of presentism as a cavalcade of nothing but genocide and oppression. Wrong-thinking academicians were badgered into silence or out of a job. The thought police aggressively patrolled social media.
And through all this, I thought: an increasingly angry number of whites were keeping eerily silent. Until they didn't on election day.
Yes, "fear of losing white privilege," "white nationalism," and no small amount of Obama Derangement Syndrome led to Trump's victory. It wasn't about the economy. But overreaching by the left was perhaps most consequential. And that kills the idea that Bernie Sanders would have been the better candidate. First, he would have been savaged by the right as SOCIALIST! (He was their preferred opponent). But like Hillary Clinton, he would have necessarily been the tribune of a changing country where the opponents of that change get a vote, too.
A version of the Bradley effect was surely at work here, too, where white likely voters told pollsters they were voting for Hillary — but when it came time to vote, the marked Trump. I warned about that, too. At the same time, years of Republican vote suppression efforts came together in this election, with results that were no doubt substantial and perhaps even decisive. As to this latter, most of the media will be so busy "normalizing" Trump that it will go unexamined.
Do not be lulled. Trump means fascism. He's going to have the nuclear codes and the national security state, baby. We're not setting the clocks back 60 years. Then, Eisenhower was president, the middle class heading toward its zenith, and Jim Crow was being stamped out. The Republican Party was a mass party with liberals, centrists, and conservatives. We're setting the clocks in a dark future of Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, Mike Pence with his undertaker's bearing — monsters all. Republican control of every branch of government, two generations of reactionaries on the Supreme Court.
If you made a protest vote in a swing state, you are beneath contempt. If you wanted to "burn down the house," watch it go — and the planet, too. Sanders knew this — it's why he campaigned so hard for Clinton.
The Republicans will not yield power again. There will be no progressive "revolution" in 2018 or 2020. There will be privatization of "entitlements" (read the earned benefits of our social compact), repeal of Roe v. Wade, killing Amtrak, evisceration if not outright elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air and Clean Water acts, further voter suppression. The West, especially, will see the public's lands sold off to private interests (even if the temporary fig leaf of "returned to the states" is applied).
McCain, handily re-elected by a New Confederacy Arizona, will be in the thick of this. Getting rid of Arpaio? Please — this was three elections too late. I took so much grief on Facebook by writing that Brewer was correct about low Hispanic turnout. Sure enough, it was low again. The great Latino wave didn't come, despite this enormous, specific threat.
The Republicans unbound won't pussyfoot around like President Obama — my God, I'll miss him — trying to unite the country. They have an entire ideological agenda that this time, by god, they're going to implement. With the spice of an unstable, vengeful Duce.
Trump's election was also made possible by the emergence of the "post-fact society." Plenty of investigative reporting was done on his scandals (real ones), business rackets, and glorifying sexual assault. He never released his tax returns, breaking a post-Watergate custom in place for good reason. And yet, not enough people paid attention. My entire career has been for nothing. Ashes.
Here's another killer: "failure" Hillary is on track to win the popular vote She has more votes than Trump but won't win the election because of an 18th century constitutional artifact. Republicans will have lost the popular vote for the six out of seven consecutive presidential elections, yet once again they are claiming a mandate.
So for you, dear reader, I've got nothing.
Difficult days ahead, difficult years and decades. Maybe the arc of the universe still bends toward justice but it's so long. I won't live to see things set right.
Lincoln was correct to describe our republic as an experiment. Franklin wondered if we could keep it. I'm afraid we received the answer on November 8th, 2016. I'm afraid.
A Note to Readers: I'm going to take a couple of weeks off to think about the future, and the future of this blog. Bear with me.