I know many of my friends are still reeling from Tuesday’s election results. I sympathize. Thus, allow me to provide a positive, locker-room-halftime-style pep talk that addresses some inconvenient truths.
First, I understand how you feel. I felt much the same way when former law school classmates gleefully taunted me after Hillary Clinton was declared the winner of the rigged Democrat primary. It is an unpleasant feeling. But we move on. We keep fighting.
Second, Trump won fair and square. And before you attack me, please understand, I am just as upset about that outcome as you are. Frankly, it seems like the most absurd and embarrassing moment in American political history to me. However, the fact remains that Donald Trump is our legitimate President-elect (typing that felt painful). And Trump won by a decisive margin of electoral votes, unlike G.W. Bush. The sooner we accept that reality, the sooner we can start fighting for a better future.
So, here are three election takeaways that are helping me stay positive about our situation:
- Trump voters are not all racist monsters. I refuse to believe that. To me, it seems much more likely that 47.4% of American voters simply would not cast their ballot for a candidate who embodied the corrupt status quo at which they were so angry. To me, it seems likely that Americans, especially in the Midwest, are sick of working longer hours for less pay, and feeling like they have no voice in Washington. To me, it seems likely that these citizens wanted more than fear-mongering and false promises from a dishonest Washington insider. They likely felt desperate. And desperate people do desperate things, like vote for a complete scumbag with no coherent policy agenda just to send a message to the ruling elites. To me, this election seemed more like a referendum on the Democratic Establishment than a dress-rehearsal for facism.
- Trump will fail. He is incompetent. The people around him are incompetent. His agenda (to the extent that he even has one) does not enjoy widespread support. He was only elected because the Democrats nominated a terrible candidate (sorry guys, but it’s objectively true). Unless Trump can do something to vastly improve the lives of the people who elected him, I seriously doubt he will enjoy the same level of support four years from now. And count me as skeptical that our President-elect will be able to deliver on his amorphous promise to “Make America Great Again.” This guy will be toast in four years. He’s not worth your fear.
- Commit to fighting like hell to elect a real progressive in 2020. Trump actually did us a huge favor by taking out the establishment wings of BOTH major American political parties. Now, all we have to do is organize to defeat Trump in 2020 by electing a real progressive who will actually fight for the interests of working people. As noted above, this seems like a very attainable goal. Whether we bring the Democratic Party back to the people, or start something new remains to be seen. Either way, we already have the grass-roots infrastructure in place from Bernie’s campaign. We also have a number of strong progressive leaders like Tulsi Gabbard, Nina Turner, and Elizabeth Warren. I would be thrilled to see any one of them become our first woman President four years from now.
Instead of wallowing in an unpleasant present, let’s focus on where we want to take this country in the next four years, ten years, twenty years, fifty years, one-hundred years. Then, let’s mobilize, organize, and fight like hell to make that vision a reality.