White House Horror
Our national nightmare is now a painful reality. President Trump gets inaugurated in January. What the hell happened?
Losing the White House was one thing, but getting blown out of the House and the Senate are quite another, and we will face brand new problems in the Supreme Court. You can bet the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade are firmly in the cross hairs, and the neoconservative agenda has been given a potent shot of adrenaline. The only thing Clinton needed to do was to bring Democrats to the polls. She has lost a general election to the single least qualified candidate in American history. It is a dubious failure, she should be ashamed of it, and it is one for which we will all suffer tremendously.
The sins of the Clintonistas have come back to haunt our entire nation. Whether it was the dalliances of her husband many years ago, or the questionable revenue stream they lovingly nursed from the Clinton Foundation, or her damn emails, nothing ever seemed to be completely above board with them, and that’s simply because nothing really is. We all know it to be true, and it was a fact we on the left all willfully ignored. Blame the GOP if you want, but Obama cruised through two victories over them with relative ease, so why couldn’t Clinton? The answer is clear – he has character and principles, and she simply doesn’t.
When Wasserman was deposed as head of the DNC, the Clinton campaign immediately hired her. Why? It was a contemptuous and petty point, and the message was as clunky as it was intentional: here’s what we think of your concerns about candidate collusion. Sorry, we’re not sorry. Why did Mrs. Clinton boot up that infamous email server in the first place? Because she didn’t want to carry a second phone, and didn’t like the NSA’s data storage guidelines, so she made her own rules and shirked the ones that others were stupid enough to follow. The warning signs were always there, and we zipped straight past them in our blood-lust to sink Trump.
I rolled my eyes, some ten years ago, when I heard Christopher Hitchens saying on C-SPAN that ‘character’ was the first quality he looked for in a presidential candidate. He took a turn to the right in his later years, especially when it came to Iraq, and this statement made me scoff, too similar in tone to the moral evangelical warriors I loathe. He was right then, and he’d be right now, and what’s done in the dark in the beltway will eventually be shown in full view of everyone.
There’s so much blame to spread around, but I think I shouldn’t dump it all on Mrs.Clinton. I didn’t do anything else except vote. I didn’t canvas, I didn’t phone bank, I didn’t volunteer, I didn’t get involved enough. I got outworked. I’ve learned my lesson, and I won’t make the same mistake twice. We’re all culpable for this, and the sooner we accept it and learn from it, the sooner we can all move on.
The Good News
In many ways, the White House is a poisoned chalice, and the Democrats will have time to rebuild in an effective fashion over the next four years. After such a crushing defeat, there is, truly, no where to go but up. Was this Republican rise inevitable? Even if Mrs.Clinton had dragged out a close victory yesterday, her unfavoribility ratings would all but preclude a second term. The executive branch was being gift wrapped for the GOP the moment the DNC nominated Clinton anyway, so what’s the difference? There is simply no way, after four contentious years with Republican majorities in the House and Senate, that President H. Clinton had any chance of going into a second term. If you thought this election cycle was bad, multiply that by four years, and tell me how good the DNC’s chances look then.
President Trump will be presiding over a nation that largely views him unfavorably – this figure could be as high as 60% – and at the first sign of trouble, that number will likely rise dramatically. His administration will struggle to govern a divided country, and his inexperience in diplomacy will make itself evident immediately.
In fact, some of the campaign rhetoric he used will become a headache for him right away. Mexico’s currency dropped 8% in value over night on the news of his election. Mexico can’t be pleased. Our remaining allies (the ones he intends on extorting) won’t be pleased, and if he is able to wreak havoc on existing trade agreements throughout the globe, the majority of the planet won’t be pleased.
What’s more, the bad PR and legal trouble that has hounded Trump from the beginning won’t disappear. Much like President Clinton, these allegations of sexual misconduct aren’t going to vanish, and you had best believe some of the sharpest minds in the DNC are angrily sifting through these files in search of future ammunition. Judging by his character – and the lack of quality vetting from the Republicans – they’ll find something worthwhile, and soon.
Additionally, the notion that the GOP now has a rubber stamp to pass their sweetheart legislation might not necessarily be true. Trump often butted heads with the highest ranking members of the party, and his ascension into the White House won’t make him more timid. He’ll buck the party line when he wants to, and giddy Republicans who are counting on him to deliver on campaign promises might have the rug pulled out from underneath their feet.
Some of the alarmist rhetoric may need to be checked as well – Trump drew fewer votes than Romney, so this narrative of a groundswell of brand new conservatism is mistaken. The barren truth is that it has always been there, ever present in predictable and consistent numbers.
The hyperbole was suffocating on social media – suicide hotline numbers being shared, threats to leave the country, even Canada’s immigration webpage crashed under the strain of new page views. Not to diminish the importance of this election, but the Democrats have lost elections before, and they’ll lose them again, and it probably won’t be the end of the world and we should all relax a bit.
The Bad News
Egypt, Russia, and Turkey were the first to send their gleeful congratulations to the Trump campaign on their victory. Sisi, Putin, and Tayyip are all despotic dictators, and above all else they know a good mark when they see one. Their unbridled excitement for a Trump White House speaks entirely for itself.
While market fluctuations after elections are common, you can be certain that the American economy, if not the global one, will start bleeding soon, and if the experts are correct, his policies will drive the national deficit up, not bring it back down. Trump cannot bring manufacturing back to the United States, despite his campaign promises, and our currently stable unemployment rate of 4.8% will rise as automation slowly swipes jobs out from underneath the American labor market.
The divide, as it was with Brexit, is a generational one, and our elders have taken their last remaining moments of cognizance and used them to set our nation back decades. The scourge of the earth, it turns out, is not Millennials, but our torpid elders that harbored the racist and sexist sympathies that catapulted that sniveling baboon to power. We will be left to clean up their mess, just as we did with the collapse of the housing market, and the repercussions will be devastating, and they won’t care because they’ll be dead.
What keeps me up at night now is not the idea of Trump at the helm – democracies often elect national embarrassments (see Berlesconi and Duerte) – but that Mr.Trump will almost certainly have no idea what he is doing on a basic level, and his administration will be primarily driven by a cadre of faceless and unelected right wing aides. This is a recipe for disaster, and we need to look no further than Paul Bremer’s mismanagement of a post-invasion Iraq to see just how much damage this type of hands-off policy can inflict.
This is a blowout victory for American fascism. You don’t need to take my word for it, ask the Klu Klux Klan what they think. Their publication, of course, was one of only two that endorsed Mr.Trump. They are invigorated by his success, and instead of leaving them in the dustbin of the 1950’s, we have given them a needed shot in the arm.
I suppose I am most disappointed in the idiocy of the Evangelicals, who, in an insane attempt to solve a fundamentally unsolvable issue in abortion, threw away every pretense of moral authority and principle with unbridled excitement. I am warmly consoled, however, at the steadily declining numbers of church-goers. The religious right should enjoy the political influence they have now, because it is going to die off for good over the next two decades.
Perhaps most irritating are the ‘uncle tom’ voters – Trump secured 31% of the Latino vote in Florida, and his numbers among female voters, while still anemic, are mind-numbing. The wealthy have long been able to trick the poor into voting against their own interests, but this development – winning the votes of demographics you threaten to deport and of a gender that you boast of sexually assaulting with impunity – is truly unfathomable.
What makes me truly depressed about this election is not a Republican win, or a Democratic loss, but that millions of young women and girls, instead of seeing a qualified and successful woman elected to our nation’s most prestigious and powerful office, saw a bloated sexual predator, unrepentant about his flagrant behavior, coast to an easy victory. I don’t envy you, parents, because I don’t know how I’d ever explain this to a daughter of my own, and I have never been more ashamed of my country in all my life.
Oddly enough, both sides of this political conflict feel slighted by the media. The right believes that American journalism displayed how biased they truly were by discounting Trump’s chances from the start (and failing to predict his win), and the left believes that the profit-crazed media saw Trump as a useful idiot that drove ratings and slathered him with free publicity. Both ideologies are mostly wrong.
To begin with, this faction of the right doesn’t seem to understand the basics of statistical analysis and probability. Polling isn’t an exact science, and it’s never presented as such. There was good reason to believe Trump would lose – and that’s because Clinton was polling into a double-digit lead in many of the states she would lose only hours later. This election was unprecedented in its volatility, and the results reflect this reality. A liberal conspiracy it ain’t.
Neither should the left heap scorn on the media for inflating Mr.Trump’s profile. Maybe you could blame this industry for his successful primary run, but beyond that, the blame lies with the people who elected him. He was the legitimately nominated candidate of one of the largest political parties on the planet, and this was newsworthy. Further, they confronted him fiercely when called upon, and never stopped asking necessary questions. “The media told you who he was,” lamented former Gawker gossip baron Barry Petchesky on Twitter, “but you didn’t give a shit.”
Was there a profit incentive for American journalism? Of course, but the timbre of this campaign proved to be immune to any barbs the journalism world had to throw at it – if the Times ran Trump’s tax returns, they’d lament more mainstream media bullying.
This, strangely enough, may produce Trump’s downfall. If he thought the media was unkind to him during the general, he has a rude awakening in store midway through his term. Especially when you consider these journalists might now feel complicit in his meteoric rise. If there was blood in the water before, there’s a new ocean of chum floating at the surface now.
Maps and Sexism
Say whatever you like about the outcome – I don’t dispute that ordinary sexism precluded many men from voting for Mrs.Clinton – but the undeniable and objective truth here is that Clinton failed to carry states she should have held, and failed to defeat the most vulnerable opponent in American history:
It must be said simply – she fucked up a cakewalk and she ought to feel bad for doing so. 53% of white women cast their ballots for Trump. Gender equality is being hamstringed by women too uneducated, delusional, or religious to vote for their own advancement.
Why was it easy for a self-professed molester to walk into the White House? Because President Clinton had a long line of accusers, and no shortage of accusations and court settlements. We gave the Clinton family a little ethical leeway, and President Trump wriggled through the same moral cracks we lovingly dug for Hillary. That, strangely enough, is the lesson I think we all ought to learn. Unethical behavior always catches up with you, and as our world becomes more transparent, it will catch up at an even quicker rate of speed.