It was nail-biting finish, and votes are still being counted as I began writing this.
Donald J. Trump will be the 45th president of the United States, when he assumes the oath of office in January next year. It has been an election with lots of mud-slinging and slander on both sides, and for all the hype and opprobrium, it is more or less over.
A complete Republican victory. Donald Trump had won more than the 270 minimum Electoral College votes, took home the majority for the Senate, and the House of Representatives. It is a practical clean sweep. There’s no denying it, and this also means that the elephants have got the buffet for their choice of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) smorgasbord, and to be honest, this is what the entire battle was really about- who would be the one picking the judges to fill the four vacancies in the SCOTUS. I may not agree with the man, nor endorse his policies, but I congratulate him on a successful campaign nonetheless.
Commiserations to those who have wanted to see a Clinton presidency, which no doubt would have been a historic moment, if somewhat a tainted one. That is the world a good many of us wanted, but it did not happen. Someone else will take that mantle, and believe me, that wait will be worth it.
The people, or at least a not-quite-clean half, have spoken, and suggesting that whilst the popular vote is in favour of Clinton, but the margin of victory was so tiny, and I predict this will be a heavy, constant feed of ammunition for left-leaning supporters for the next four years. I would be surprised if this wasn’t picked up as a weapon to be wielded relentlessly. There are plenty of silver linings- in every state that Trump won, there were pockets of blue based overwhelming around big major cities.
But the reaction to the result. Oh. My. God. And I swear that is the first time and the last time I will ever use that expression in print form. Thousands crying, some of them doing so in fetal positions, and some literally screaming about killing themselves. The usual reactions started coming on Twitter- that old people shouldn’t be granted the vote, the people were hoodwinked, people are too stupid, and that minorities who voted for him are traitors- after all it’s worth reminding that the fifty-eight million people voted for the man- and law of statistical averages suggest that they can’t all be evil, rabid, frothing racist misogynistic homophobes- I’d dare to bet that a good majority are otherwise good, decent human beings who care about their communities, and their country (I personally cannot descend into the madness of dehumanizing them)- just that their idea of getting there is different than what we had in mind. Not long after it was made official, young people in Oregon, NY, Chicago and other places started rioting, and burning things, including American flags, even though by and large the protests in other cities are peaceful but people will remember the flag-burning scenes- and after that good fucking luck winning them back on side forever.
This should have been the unloseable election, by any stretch of the imagination. Had it been any other Republican candidate, the scenes at Times Square and the Clinton HQ would have been a very different one. Blue-tinted slaughter. Rubio, Cruz and all the other bunch of typical Republicans are spineless, gormless suits who would barely be able to inspire turnouts beyond their home state, let alone the battleground states full of swing voters.
Trump was able to build a rainbow coalition- uniting college-educated and white collar whites living in West and East, along with that of the blue-collar whites from Middle America, and managing to attract a small following amongst Asian and Latino groups (29%), and a very small coterie of African-American voters (about 9%). That’s just statistics- I spent a couple of months simply delving into conservate twitter-verse, and their energy and enthusiasm was largely relentless. These sorts of intangibles that become important- ideas and notions, whether they are objectively true or not may as well become reality at this particular point in time. Add to that being able to steal away formerly Democrat areas such as Ohio and Pennsylvania (the true election clincher), the latter of which haven’t been Republican since 1988 (Ronald Reagan)
Meanwhile the blue camp found it very hard to energize their base. Their biggest losses were not being able to completely capture the Latino vote, and losing a large portion of the 18-34 age group (the shanking of Bernie Sanders, along with the existence of third party candidates in Gary Johnson and Jill Stein), whilst trying to carry a candidate with too much baggage, and the very face of an establishment.
On the other hand, it’s worth reflection on the monumental failure on the Clinton team. Celebrity endorsements? Check. Financial contributions from Wall Street? Check. Unanimous consensus and endorsements amongst the mainstream media? Check. An army of willing volunteers ready to go up and down and beyond and above the call of civic duty? Check. Add up the supposed rigged voting machines and pre-marked ballots, if you believe in the more tin-foil hat corners of the internet, then the failure looks really huge, and I think the Democrat party is truly finished- who are they going to throw into the ring? If you can’t name anyone at the top of your head, I don’t blame you- I can’t name anyone who could be a future leader at the moment. This is the price of going all-in.
I doubt Trump could deliver on all of his promises, especially bringing back jobs to the small towns of the Rust Belt (Ohio / Michigan), considering that advances in automation and robotics would probably take care, but neither would the worst that people by and large have worked themselves in hysteria- no the rights of LGBT people will not be trampled on and taken away (13% of that bloc voted for him, by the way- these people exist, to the surprise of many)- though the Muslim community are far more apprehensive (and are right to do so). If the Trump presidency turns out to be as authoritarian as his detractors imagined- he can be impeached, and presidents have been impeached for far less. But at this moment it’s a huge game of wait-and-see, and praying that common, American decency prevails.
I’m exhausted after following the entire show since eight in the morning, yesterday. Exhilarating, entertaining and electrifying it was. And by the way Obama’s still president for two more months.
Brendan O’ Neill, Spectator “The Sneering Response To Trump’s Victory Reveals Exactly Why We Won” http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/11/sneering-response-trumps-victory-reveals-exactly-won/
Tad Tiedtze, Left Flank “A Few Thoughts on Trump’s Victory And The Left” http://left-flank.org/2016/11/10/a-few-thoughts-on-the-trump-victory-and-the-left/