|The Annunciation, Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1472|
As performed by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge:
|The Annunciation, Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1472|
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|From 12 to 2 o'clock: sweet potato souffle; 3 to 6 o'clock: turkey and dressing; 7 to 10 o'clock: maque choux; squeezed in from 10 to 12: green bean casserole. Not pictured: real mashed potatoes, which I had no room for, and the giblet gravy and cranberry sauce, which were waiting just offstage to be added.|
The law's totally on my side, meaning, the president can't have a conflict of interest.Perhaps some of my truckbuddies were as surprised as I was to hear that the Orange One is not required by law to place his business holdings in a trust when he takes office. But it's true, and as a public service, your Head Trucker has tracked down what the law says about it. The relevant statute is Title 18 of the United States Code, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, under Part I of which Chapter 11 deals with Bribery, Graft, and Conflicts of Interest - here is the first part of the contents of Chapter 11, via the Legal Information Institute of Cornell University:
--Donald Trump, interview with the New York Times, November 22, 2016
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The law doesn’t say the president can’t have a conflict of interest. But Congress, under Title 18 Section 208 of the U.S. code, did exempt the president and vice president from conflict-of-interest laws on the theory that the presidency has so much power that any possible executive action might pose a potential conflict.So there you have it. Trump can legally, in his words, "run my business perfectly and then run the country perfectly. There's never been a case like this." The only hindrance is the provisions of Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution:
“As a general rule, public officials in the executive branch are subject to criminal penalties if they personally and substantially participate in matters in which they (or their immediate families, business partners or associated organizations) hold financial interests,” the Congressional Research Service said in an October report. “However, because of concerns regarding interference with the exercise of constitutional duties, Congress has not applied these restrictions to the President. Consequently, there is no current legal requirement that would compel the President to relinquish financial interests because of a conflict of interest.”. . .
While spoken in classic “Trumpese” that fails to capture the nuances of the law, the president-elect did rightly point to an exemption for the president and vice president in conflicts of interest laws. And while such an exemption exists, the theory was that the presidency has so much power that any policy decision could pose a potential conflict. The law assumed that the president could be trusted to do the right thing and take actions to avoid appearance or presence of impropriety — not that the law is “totally” on the president’s “side” or that it would allow the president to use the exemption to his favor.
Trump’s statement does not quite rise to the level of a Geppetto Checkmark, nor does it qualify for a Pinocchio. So we will not rate this claim. Trump, nevertheless, should be more careful about his wording on this point. It’s quite possible he will face a number of conflicts of interest during his presidency. The law may offer an exemption for the president, but political reality — and perception— often does not.
No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.But little good will that do with a man whose global business organization far outruns anything the Founding Fathers could have imagined.
Permit me to share some personal experience. When Japanese Americans were sent away to internment camps during World War II, simply because we looked like the enemy, we had legitimate fear of angry mobs, as well as a deep and utter despair over a country that had turned its back, not only upon a whole group of its own people, but upon its very values. But amidst all the unfounded hate and suspicion of us, there were also many good Americans who came to our aid: neighbors who offered to look after farms, homes and pets; Quakers who visited us in camp to bring vital services and monitor our treatment; lawyers who filed suits on our behalf and saved tens of thousands of us, including my own mother, from being deported. Even in the darkest of times, there were so many ordinary heroes who gave us hope and succor. It is they whom I remember most today. It was they who helped change things for the better.
There are many who rightly feel afraid for what will happen next. But hard as it is to face, we must remind ourselves that fear is the favored weapon of bullies and thugs. Fear can make us turn away from our hopes and give in to mistrust and cynicism. Let us instead take each moment of fear as a challenge to stand up ever taller. When my community was faced with some of the harshest of treatment during the internment, there was a word we often repeated: gaman. It means to endure, with dignity and fortitude. We did not permit them to strip away our basic humanity. We rallied, gave comfort to each other, and got through it. Gaman has been a steadying and comforting bedrock principle for me through these many decades. . . .
Some sixty million Americans voted for Donald Trump, and I refuse to accept that most did so because of what he stands for, but rather despite it. And while some argue that enabling or ignoring his rhetoric when casting a vote makes his supporters complicit, I choose to find hope in the despite—in the fact that most Americans still agree that racism, sexism, and discrimination of any kind is wrong. For these voters in this election, these things sadly did not outweigh their bitterness and mistrust of the political establishment. Our answer must not be to shut them out as uncaring or bigoted, but to address their concerns, to win back their trust by restoring their hopes, to not turn our backs but to open our hearts. And to do so when all of our instincts cry out simply to cut them out—that is the measure of true commitment. . . .
With the bulk of Trump’s supporters, we must find common ground, as tough as that presently sounds. But let me be clear on this other point: It is one thing to reach out, as we must and should, to white working-class voters who rejected our message in this election. But it is another thing entirely to oppose, as we must, the real threat to our values, progress, and rights presented by the incoming administration. While we recommit ourselves to being the champions to all middle class and working Americans, we can and will do so by holding Trump and his cohorts accountable at each step for their regressive economic agenda, by safeguarding our cherished liberties of a free press and the right to worship and assemble, and by opposing any policies or actions that might do damage to our communities, our economy, and our environment. . . .
No one is under any illusions that the next four years will be easy. But the Japanese have a saying: “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” It is time for us to stand up again, and to press on with renewed determination. So hold your heads up high and carry on, turning your fear and anger into clearest resolve. As my mother would say to me in the camps, “Gaman, Georgie. Gaman.”
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.That said, here's comedian Trae Crowder in his typically vulgar character, giving his take on the meaning of the election results:
--Max Ehrmann, "Desiderata"
A lot of people in politics and the media are scrambling to normalize what just happened to us, saying that it will all be OK and we can work with Trump. No, it won’t, and no, we can’t. The next occupant of the White House will be a pathological liar with a loose grip on reality; he is already surrounding himself with racists, anti-Semites, and conspiracy theorists; his administration will be the most corrupt in America history.
How did this happen? There were multiple causes, but you just can’t ignore the reality that key institutions and their leaders utterly failed. Every news organization that decided, for the sake of ratings, to ignore policy and barely cover Trump scandals while obsessing over Clinton emails, every reporter who, for whatever reason — often sheer pettiness — played up Wikileaks nonsense and talked about how various Clinton stuff “raised questions” and “cast shadows” is complicit in this disaster. And then there’s the FBI: it’s quite reasonable to argue that James Comey, whether it was careerism, cowardice, or something worse, tipped the scales and may have doomed the world.
No, I’m not giving up hope. Maybe, just maybe, the sheer awfulness of what’s happening will sink in. Maybe the backlash will be big enough to constrain Trump from destroying democracy in the next few months, and/or sweep his gang from power in the next few years. But if that’s going to happen, enough people will have to be true patriots, which means taking a stand.
And anyone who doesn’t — who plays along and plays it safe — is betraying America, and mankind.
How did he speak with his two daughters about the election results, about the post-election reports of racial incidents? “What I say to them is that people are complicated,” Obama told me. “Societies and cultures are really complicated. . . . This is not mathematics; this is biology and chemistry. These are living organisms, and it’s messy. And your job as a citizen and as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding. And you should anticipate that at any given moment there’s going to be flare-ups of bigotry that you may have to confront, or may be inside you and you have to vanquish. And it doesn’t stop. . . . You don’t get into a fetal position about it. You don’t start worrying about apocalypse. You say, O.K., where are the places where I can push to keep it moving forward.”
The liberal firewall against Trump was, most of all, the belief that the Republican contender was too disorganized, outlandish, outré and lacking in nuance to run a proper political campaign. That view was only confirmed when Bannon, editor of the outlandish and outré Breitbart News Network, took over the campaign in August. Now Bannon is arguably the most powerful person on the new White House team, embodying more than anyone the liberals' awful existential pain and fury: How did someone so wrong — not just wrong, but inappropriate, unfit and "loathsome," according to The New York Times — get it so spot-on right?It seems to your Head Trucker that "they" could just as well refer to all those happy-clappy, Bible-thumping, oh-so-holy Christianists who pulled the lever for Trump and his greasy gang.
In these dark days for Democrats, Bannon has become the blackest hole.
"Darkness is good," says Bannon, who amid the suits surrounding him at Trump Tower, looks like a graduate student in his T-shirt, open button-down and tatty blue blazer — albeit a 62-year-old graduate student. "Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power. It only helps us when they" — I believe by "they" he means liberals and the media, already promoting calls for his ouster — "get it wrong. When they're blind to who we are and what we're doing."
For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
--I Corinthians 11:13-15, NIV
|From National Election Pool polling data via Wikipedia. Click to enlarge.|
“I thought Donald Trump disqualified himself at numerous points. But there is now this idea that anyone who voted for him is -- has to be defined by the worst of his rhetoric,” Stewart said. “Like, there are guys in my neighborhood that I love, that I respect, that I think have incredible qualities who are not afraid of Mexicans, and not afraid of Muslims, and not afraid of blacks. They’re afraid of their insurance premiums. In the liberal community, you hate this idea of creating people as a monolith. Don’t look as Muslims as a monolith. They are the individuals and it would be ignorance. But everybody who voted for Trump is a monolith, is a racist. That hypocrisy is also real in our country.”
Stewart said America wages a fight “against ourselves” because it is not “natural.”
“Natural is tribal. We’re fighting against thousands of years of human behavior and history to create something that no one’s ever-- that’s what’s exceptional about America and that’s what’s, like, this ain’t easy,” Stewart said. “It’s an incredible thing.”
We’ve elected an internet troll as our president.
Yes, it is likely that misogyny played a negative role, to a degree – but if Clinton had been strongly in favour of guns and closed borders, these voters would have voted for her regardless of gender, as many of them would probably have voted for Sarah Palin, a rightwing favourite whose gender has never disadvantaged her.
Maybe Trump won’t do a thing to change or fix any of it. Hillary definitely would not have changed any of it. So I voted for the monkey wrench—the middle finger—the wrecking ball.
I do not have the time, energy, or opportunity to march through downtown and chant vulgarities or spray paint buildings or set cop cars on fire. So I protest—and use my voice—with a ballot.
Go ahead: Label me a racist, a bigot, a hate-filled misogynistic, an uneducated redneck. But I turned down Yale, motherfuckers; I ain’t who you think I am. And while I love grits and pulled pork barbecue and collard greens and cold beer in a bottle, I also love my neighbors of all colors, especially if they can cook. I want a synagogue, a church, and a mosque on Main St. all in a row, getting along and following the golden rule. And we mostly do.
But I have grown tired. I admit, I am tired of arguing with crazy. . . .
Crazy is treating the same symptoms and never the disease.
Here’s the recipe for success and comfort in modern America: Stay in school, do your best, stay away from drugs, don’t have kids until you are no longer a kid, don’t break the law. You might be a pipe-fitter or a welder, a truck driver or a rapper. You might sell insurance, teach school, sell homes, or pave roads. You might become a chef or a mechanic, work with computers or take care of people in a nursing home. You will be able to afford Netflix, have food on the table, pay the rent or own a home, buy a car that runs, not get shot by the police, and probably find some happiness. Nobody will hate you because you’re a girl, or a person of color, or gay or straight, or speak with an accent. We just won’t.
But Trump is anything but a regular politician and this has been anything but a regular election. Trump will be only the fourth candidate in history and the second in more than a century to win the presidency after losing the popular vote. He is also probably the first candidate in history to win the presidency despite having been shown repeatedly by the national media to be a chronic liar, sexual predator, serial tax-avoider, and race-baiter who has attracted the likes of the Ku Klux Klan. Most important, Trump is the first candidate in memory who ran not for president but for autocrat—and won.
I have lived in autocracies most of my life, and have spent much of my career writing about Vladimir Putin’s Russia. I have learned a few rules for surviving in an autocracy and salvaging your sanity and self-respect. It might be worth considering them now: . . .
For the white working class, having had their morals roundly mocked, their religion deemed primitive, and their economic prospects decimated, now find their very gender and race, indeed the very way they talk about reality, described as a kind of problem for the nation to overcome. This is just one aspect of what Trump has masterfully signaled as “political correctness” run amok, or what might be better described as the newly rigid progressive passion for racial and sexual equality of outcome, rather than the liberal aspiration to mere equality of opportunity.
Much of the newly energized left has come to see the white working class not as allies but primarily as bigots, misogynists, racists, and homophobes, thereby condemning those often at the near-bottom rung of the economy to the bottom rung of the culture as well. A struggling white man in the heartland is now told to “check his privilege” by students at Ivy League colleges. Even if you agree that the privilege exists, it’s hard not to empathize with the object of this disdain. These working-class communities, already alienated, hear — how can they not? — the glib and easy dismissals of “white straight men” as the ultimate source of all our woes. They smell the condescension and the broad generalizations about them — all of which would be repellent if directed at racial minorities — and see themselves, in Hoffer’s words, “disinherited and injured by an unjust order of things.”
And so they wait, and they steam, and they lash out. This was part of the emotional force of the tea party: not just the advancement of racial minorities, gays, and women but the simultaneous demonization of the white working-class world, its culture and way of life. Obama never intended this, but he became a symbol to many of this cultural marginalization. The Black Lives Matter left stoked the fires still further; so did the gay left, for whom the word magnanimity seems unknown, even in the wake of stunning successes. . . .
And what’s notable about Trump’s supporters is precisely what one would expect from members of a mass movement: their intense loyalty. Trump is their man, however inarticulate they are when explaining why. He’s tough, he’s real, and they’ve got his back, especially when he is attacked by all the people they have come to despise: liberal Democrats and traditional Republicans. At rallies, whenever a protester is hauled out, you can almost sense the rising rage of the collective identity venting itself against a lone dissenter and finding a catharsis of sorts in the brute force a mob can inflict on an individual. Trump tells the crowd he’d like to punch a protester in the face or have him carried out on a stretcher. No modern politician who has come this close to the presidency has championed violence in this way. It would be disqualifying if our hyper¬democracy hadn’t already abolished disqualifications.
And while a critical element of 20th-century fascism — its organized street violence — is missing, you can begin to see it in embryonic form. The phalanx of bodyguards around Trump grows daily; plainclothes bouncers in the crowds have emerged as pseudo-cops to contain the incipient unrest his candidacy will only continue to provoke; supporters have attacked hecklers with sometimes stunning ferocity. Every time Trump legitimizes potential violence by his supporters by saying it comes from a love of country, he sows the seeds for serious civil unrest.
Trump celebrates torture — the one true love of tyrants everywhere — not because it allegedly produces intelligence but because it has a demonstration effect. At his rallies he has recounted the mythical acts of one General John J. Pershing when confronted with an alleged outbreak of Islamist terrorism in the Philippines. Pershing, in Trump’s telling, lines up 50 Muslim prisoners, swishes a series of bullets in the corpses of freshly slaughtered pigs, and orders his men to put those bullets in their rifles and kill 49 of the captured Muslim men. He spares one captive solely so he can go back and tell his friends. End of the terrorism problem.
In some ways, this story contains all the elements of Trump’s core appeal. The vexing problem of tackling jihadist terror? Torture and murder enough terrorists and they will simply go away. The complicated issue of undocumented workers, drawn by jobs many Americans won’t take? Deport every single one of them and build a wall to stop the rest. Fuck political correctness. As one of his supporters told an obtuse reporter at a rally when asked if he supported Trump: “Hell yeah! He’s no-bullshit. All balls. Fuck you all balls. That’s what I’m about.” And therein lies the appeal of tyrants from the beginning of time. Fuck you all balls. Irrationality with muscle.
The racial aspect of this is also unmissable. When the enemy within is Mexican or Muslim, and your ranks are extremely white, you set up a rubric for a racial conflict. And what’s truly terrifying about Trump is that he does not seem to shrink from such a prospect; he relishes it.
For, like all tyrants, he is utterly lacking in self-control. Sleeping a handful of hours a night, impulsively tweeting in the early hours, improvising madly on subjects he knows nothing about, Trump rants and raves as he surfs an entirely reactive media landscape. Once again, Plato had his temperament down: A tyrant is a man “not having control of himself [who] attempts to rule others”; a man flooded with fear and love and passion, while having little or no ability to restrain or moderate them; a “real slave to the greatest fawning,” a man who “throughout his entire life ... is full of fear, overflowing with convulsions and pains.” Sound familiar? Trump is as mercurial and as unpredictable and as emotional as the daily Twitter stream. And we are contemplating giving him access to the nuclear codes.
We are not planning on erecting a deportation force. Donald Trump's not planning on that.
What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, we have a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate. But we’re getting them out of our country, they’re here illegally. After the border is secured and after everything gets normalized, we’re going to make a determination on the people that you’re talking about who are terrific people, they’re terrific people but we are gonna make a determination at that . . . .
Don’t be afraid. We are going to bring our country back. But certainly, don’t be afraid.
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
But what kind of a president will Donald Trump really be? In the past, he has also voiced approval of more liberal abortion laws and he once demanded health insurance for all Americans himself. Over the years, he has held all manner of contradictory opinions on many different political issues, sometimes at the same time.
Those who think they know what Donald Trump will do as president are likely overestimating their own intelligence. Trump will be the most unpredictable president that America has ever had. That holds true of his thin-skinned personality just as it does for his political positions. Anything, really anything, is possible. And that is the most disturbing thing.
It is possible that Trump will turn out to be the US version of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez -- that he will appease and divert Americans while at the same time dramatically eroding the country's institutions and politicizing the judiciary, the CIA and the FBI. And that he, as he indicated he would, will allow for the return of torture. And that he will build the promised wall on the border to Mexico, impede people from Muslim countries from coming to the US, turn up the volume on bigotry and use the presidency to personally enrich himself. It could mean the end of NATO -- but it could also be that his bromance with Putin will cool and turn hostile.
It is equally possible, though, that Trump will turn over the governing of the country to experienced Republican politicians and will preside over proceedings as a kind of CEO. It is possible that he will build his wall as a sop to his supporters but will quickly realize that his announced intention to deport 11 million illegal immigrants makes no economic sense. It is possible that he will service the yearnings for a resurgent white identity primarily with rhetoric, that he will seek to stimulate the economy with billions in investments and that his foreign policy will simply be a continuation of the American withdrawal that began under Obama.
We simply don't know. The only thing we know -- from his statements, his campaign and his personality -- is that he will be a president unlike any that has come before.
This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!Such haunting words: Donald Trump's tweets on Election Night, 2012, when it seemed that Obama had lost the popular vote to Romney (in fact, as it turned out Obama won 5 million more votes than his opponent).
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|The brown-nosing and sucking-up begins:|
People magazine glorifies Trump on the cover of its next issue.
(Do I really have to point out the divine-halo effect for you guys?)
|A summary of the popular and electoral votes from Wikipedia.|
|Voting-age population characteristics from the United States Census Bureau, |
posted on their website Oct. 28, 2016. Click to enlarge.
In the hours since voters chose Trump to serve as our country’s forty-fifth President, I’ve thought about those students often — perhaps because this torturous election season was, among other things, a sharp, sudden reminder of just how briefly a political “era” lasts in America. We have often, over the past eight years, congratulated ourselves for the fact that an entire generation of American children will take for granted that a figure like President Obama — black, brilliant, wholesome, dignified, cool — can ascend to the loftiest peaks of our national life. Trump’s admission into a club that includes Washington and Lincoln, both Roosevelts, and, yes, Obama promises to teach the same generation a different lesson altogether. Certainly, we seem to have ratified the darkest of their suspicions: that our politics are a joke; that American democracy is a game fit for reality-TV contestants; that their elders, however well-intentioned, are feckless, or fools.
Obama had the younger generation in mind yesterday afternoon, when he stood in the Rose Garden and delivered a short speech on the election results. “To the young people who got into politics for the first time and may be disappointed by the results, I just want you to know, you have to stay encouraged,” he said, toward the end of his remarks. “Don’t get cynical, don’t ever think you can’t make a difference.” This was of a piece with much of Obama’s rhetoric this year; his general-election exertions on Hillary Clinton’s behalf often doubled as civics lessons in miniature. There were tactical reasons for this, of course: the Democrats’ strategy depended, in large part, on describing the distance that lay between Trump’s trashy ethos and the norms of the democracy that he hoped to lead. . . .
Frustrations notwithstanding, Obama was characteristically graceful and mature in the Rose Garden. He had called the President-elect, he said. He’d meet with him to insure a smooth transition. He even made a joke or two. After a year spent pointing out Trump’s unbelievable unfitness for the Presidency, he tried to make the election result seem continuous with the patterns of American progress. “You know, the path that this country has taken has never been a straight line,” he said. “We zig and zag and sometimes we move in ways that some people think is forward and others think is moving back, and that’s O.K.”
This was all appropriate. It was time, after all, for the President to model the ideals for which he’d so strenuously — and, in the end, it must be said, ineffectually — argued. It’s up to the rest of us, however, never to allow Trump’s rise to seem O.K. A morning that arrives with the huckster strolling into the Oval Office should always strike us — and the kids who already expect so little of us — as an instance of the absurd. This was the most powerful impression of Obama’s speech: one tried, stupefied, to imagine Trump behind that lectern, following the class act that was Obama.
After great pain, a formal feeling comes –
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –
The stiff Heart questions ‘was it He, that bore,’
And ‘Yesterday, or Centuries before’?
The Feet, mechanical, go round –
A Wooden way
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought –
A Quartz contentment, like a stone –
This is the Hour of Lead –
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow –
First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go –
|The sickening nationwide results, as of noon today. Click to enlarge.|
Alas for the Trump voters, the disasters he will bring on this country will fall more heavily on them than anyone else. The uneducated white males who elected him are the vulnerable ones, and they will not like what happens next. . . .
We liberal elitists are now completely in the clear. The government is in Republican hands. Let them deal with him. Democrats can spend four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen, traveling around the country, tasting artisan beers, and let the Republicans build the wall and carry on the trade war with China and deport the undocumented and deal with opioids, and we Democrats can go for a long, brisk walk and smell the roses. . . .
Don’t be cruel. Elvis said it, and it’s true. We all experienced cruelty back in our playground days — boys who beat up on the timid, girls who made fun of the homely and naive — and most of us, to our shame, went along with it, afraid to defend the victims lest we become one of them. But by your 20s, you should be done with cruelty. Mr. Trump was the cruelest candidate since George Wallace. How he won on fear and bile is for political pathologists to study. The country is already tired of his noise, even his own voters. He is likely to become the most intensely disliked president since Hoover. His children will carry the burden of his name. He will never be happy in his own skin. But the damage he will do to our country — who knows? His supporters voted for change, and boy, are they going to get it.
The party had a night so miserable that its leaders cannot chalk it up to the Russians or to James Comey, though there will be plenty of talk about that, much of it warranted. They had a gorgeous chance to retake their Senate majority, and not only did they fail to do so, but Democratic candidates who were thought to be in tight races lost by significant margins.
Clinton struggled more than had been predicted in the so-called Rust Belt — states like Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — in yet another illustration of how disaffected working-class white men had become and how estranged from a new economy and a new age they felt.
Their anger was the story of the primaries, the fuel not just for Trump’s campaign but for Bernie Sanders’s as well. And it manifested itself in the general election. Both parties are going to have to reckon with it.
And they should. If this were all that Trump had shown us, we’d owe him our thanks.
But there are darker implications here, too. After all the lies he told, all the fantasy he indulged in, all the hate he spewed and all the divisions he sharpened, he was rewarded with the highest office in the land. What does that portend for the politics of the next few years, for the kinds of congressional candidates we’ll see in 2018, for the presidential race of 2020?
I can’t bear to think about the conflagrations to come.
Before I lay out all my fears, is there any silver lining to be found in this vote? I’ve been searching for hours, and the only one I can find is this: I don’t think Trump was truly committed to a single word or policy he offered during the campaign, except one phrase: “I want to win.”
But Donald Trump cannot be a winner unless he undergoes a radical change in personality and politics and becomes everything he was not in this campaign. He has to become a healer instead of a divider; a compulsive truth-teller rather than a compulsive liar; someone ready to study problems and make decisions based on evidence, not someone who just shoots from the hip; someone who tells people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear; and someone who appreciates that an interdependent world can thrive only on win-win relationships, not zero-sum ones.
I can only hope that he does. Because if he doesn’t, all of you who voted for him — overlooking all of his obvious flaws — because you wanted radical, disruptive change, well, you’re going to get it. . . .
Unlike the Republican Party for the last eight years, I am not going to try to make my president fail. If he fails, we all fail. So yes, I will hope that a better man emerges than we saw in this campaign.
But at the moment I am in anguish, frightened for my country and for our unity. And for the first time, I feel homeless in America.
The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.
There are, inevitably, miseries to come: an increasingly reactionary Supreme Court; an emboldened right-wing Congress; a President whose disdain for women and minorities, civil liberties and scientific fact, to say nothing of simple decency, has been repeatedly demonstrated. Trump is vulgarity unbounded, a knowledge-free national leader who will not only set markets tumbling but will strike fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and, above all, the many varieties of Other whom he has so deeply insulted. The African-American Other. The Hispanic Other. The female Other. The Jewish and Muslim Other. The most hopeful way to look at this grievous event—and it’s a stretch—is that this election and the years to follow will be a test of the strength, or the fragility, of American institutions. It will be a test of our seriousness and resolve. . . .
All along, Trump seemed like a twisted caricature of every rotten reflex of the radical right. That he has prevailed, that he has won this election, is a crushing blow to the spirit; it is an event that will likely cast the country into a period of economic, political, and social uncertainty that we cannot yet imagine. That the electorate has, in its plurality, decided to live in Trump’s world of vanity, hate, arrogance, untruth, and recklessness, his disdain for democratic norms, is a fact that will lead, inevitably, to all manner of national decline and suffering. . . .
The commentators, in their attempt to normalize this tragedy, will also find ways to discount the bumbling and destructive behavior of the F.B.I., the malign interference of Russian intelligence, the free pass—the hours of uninterrupted, unmediated coverage of his rallies—provided to Trump by cable television, particularly in the early months of his campaign. We will be asked to count on the stability of American institutions, the tendency of even the most radical politicians to rein themselves in when admitted to office. Liberals will be admonished as smug, disconnected from suffering, as if so many Democratic voters were unacquainted with poverty, struggle, and misfortune. There is no reason to believe this palaver. There is no reason to believe that Trump and his band of associates—Chris Christie, Rudolph Giuliani, Mike Pence, and, yes, Paul Ryan—are in any mood to govern as Republicans within the traditional boundaries of decency. Trump was not elected on a platform of decency, fairness, moderation, compromise, and the rule of law; he was elected, in the main, on a platform of resentment. Fascism is not our future—it cannot be; we cannot allow it to be so—but this is surely the way fascism can begin.
|As of 5 p.m. today, it appeared from this NYT map that Clinton had edged out a bare majority in the popular vote. Click to enlarge. |
Readers in other lands, before you curse and castigate "Americans" for whatever may befall your countries in time to come, please do remember that more than half of us did NOT will this catastrophe upon the world, and in fact did all we could to prevent it.
The Republicans now own the country lock, stock and barrel. The own the white House, the Senate and the House. They will soon own the Supreme Court again. They own a majority of Statehouses & Governer's Mansions. If thing go wrong I don't want to hear any "it's all the fault of the liberals."
Well, here we are a week into the unthinkable, and the response on the part of everyone left of center, high and low, north and south, yo...