The idea of Donald J. Trump as the President of the United States was unthinkable before November 8. Since he descended the golden escalators of Trump tower in June of 2015 the country has been subjected to his vitriolic rhetoric and transfixed by the cruel spectacle of his campaign. By late October I was looking forward to the end of the election solely to be free from the persistent trauma of candidate Trump. Now the nation is going to have to survive 4 years of President Trump.
I supported Hilary Clinton for president because I believe in Barrack Obama. His election in 2008 was the first that inspired me to see what was possible in politics. His re-election in 2012 felt like vindication for a progressive and diverse vision of our country. Clinton seemed like the surest bet to continue his legacy. On election day Obama's approval rating was in the mid-50's, and with his full support behind Clinton I assumed she would easily win. I couldn't comprehend at the time that so many Americans who voted twice for Obama could vote for a man who spent much of the last eight years delegitmizing the President.
I also believed Hilary Clinton, while flawed, had the capacity to be a good President. Over the course of her life she had shown flashes of compassion. From working for the Children's Defense Fund straight out of law school to spearheading a childrens healthcare program as First-Lady, she used her position to lift up the less fortunate. Of course there is also another side. The paranoid, secretive opaque side that is motivated by self-preservation and self-interest. Was it the email scandal that did her in? Maybe. It definitely confirmed a negative perception about her.
As a candidate she was unable to inspire the electorate. I don't know if this was because of sexism or because she was perceived as inauthentic. When she shared a stage with President Obama during the election she always seemed like the warm up act. A big lesson from this election is how much the charisma of the candidate matters. She had more money, a better campaign, ran a better convention, won three debates and still lost. Enough Democracts turned away from her to allow Trump to win the presidency with less votes then Mitt Romney got in 2012.
Trump ran a campign that would have disqualified anyone else. He is uniquely terrible in character and temperament. The concerns are not just that he will purse overtly conservative policies. It is that he will run government with a disregard to our laws and customs. He has no ideology but what will make himself more popular with the 47% of Americans that voted for him. Over the course of his business career he used deceptive practices to swindle millions from investors and average Americans. Eventaully even his most loyal supporters will be humiliated when they realize they too have been played.
Many Americans who did not support him are afraid about what comes next. Uncivility and blatent racism that has descended the nation doesn't seem like it is going away. Many of his supporters feel emboldened. The trifecta of bashing immigrants, proposing a Musilm ban and attacking The Black Lives Matter movement has left a vocal minority of white voters feeling that they have an advocate for their cause. White nationalism is coming to the White House.
Of course not all of Trumps voters are racist, but they have shown a tolerance for it. The economic concerns of the workers in the rust belt are real and tragic. Many Americans feel left behind by an economy that only caters to those at the top. Their pain is real, but unfortunately for them the solutions Trump offers will only make their lives worse.
Peaceful protests against Trump's presidency is a necessity. Throughout his life he has proven to be thin-skinned and defensive. Attacking anyone for the smallest slight. He must be continually challenged. Hopefully he will awaken to the pain he has caused so many Americans and take action to heal the divide. More then likely he will double down and wage war against a country he is supposed to represent in the highest form.
After the election my anger was primarily directed at the DNC. Not because they stole the election from Bernie Sanders, but because the party all but endorsed Clinton after the 2012 election. If a deeper bench of candidates was able to compete someone without all of her baggage could have won the nomination. The Democract party is a drift. After some soul searching the party will need to open itself up to more voices, inspire the grass roots, and embrace an economic message that addresses the needs of all Americans. It is crucial in the age of Trump that the Democratic party not forget about is commitments to equality and civil rights, because right now the idea of what American stands for is at stake.
Throughout the history of our country we have struggled in fits and starts to live up to the values that are enshrined in the constitution. The election of president Obama confirmed the idea that America is an open country for all who want a better life. We are a people defined by a love of liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. An idea that can be embraced by anyone. That notion is under threat from a man who is trying to redefine Americanism as a culture, as a religion, as an ethnicity. To ensure America stays great Tump's vision of America must be challenged.