A few weeks ago, I noted that the conservative fraction of the United States was desperate.
Was I off …. I sorely underestimated how desperate they were. They came out in apocalyptic numbers to stave off progress. And it worked. Unfortunately, this is going to hurt for a real long time. It is going to hurt our country, and likely some other countries.
Who won, and who lost?
They were hanging on be their fingernails, yet, despite a highly publicized endorsement of Trump by their poster child David Duke, and in the last week of the campaign by the Ku Klux Klan itself, endorsements that should have not simply killed a campaign, but buried it in Krakatoa-sized lava flows, Trump’s campaign turned out white American voters like never before to vote, and they lined up shoulder to shoulder with the Klan. As David Duke said, it was a new morning for our (read: “His”) people. In fact, casual racists might be the biggest winners of them all … how bad can their actions and words be now … its presidential material. We still wait the Trump campaign in any way to distance themselves from these people. With Trump, all of these fears have become legitimate and politicized, and by politicized I mean a major platform in the ruling party.
The Klan is having a victory parade and rally in North Carolina. I’m sure Trump won’t be there, but there has still been no public refutation of these terrorists.
Union of Church and State
After decades of moving toward a government that was more and more starting to reflect a less monolithic stance on religion that while extremist religion was becoming more and more fringe, those extremists have been re-energized, there will likely be some new Supreme Court justices that will walk that back a bit, and make sure it stays walked back for the next few decades. Yes, a majority of people back same-sex marriage, but don’t be shocked if that decision gets returned to the states to decide. Abortion is not likely to go away, but “common sense” restrictions may very well become the norm. There will be less support for sex education, and that means after decades of taking the teen pregnancy rate down, we can expect it to go up again (especially in many of those same states that just elected Trump, if history is any indication). And if businesses already have achieved a degree of personhood for political donations, there is a good chance we can see business owners having the right to refuse service on religious grounds. It’s like playing a game of “Sorry”. We were close to finally achieving a degree of equal footing for all …. now we go back to the beginning.
While more and more people support reasonable restrictions on guns, you can be sure that it won’t be long before we have a Supreme Court willing to gut any state’s attempts at limiting firearms. The NRA hit the jackpot here, though ironically, without Obama and Clinton around, there will likely be fewer sales of guns because now the gun fetishists will know they can safely buy a flamethrower or grenade launcher whenever they want … that is, unless, fears of race wars and such can be stoked a little for sales purposes.
Any Single Party state or dictatorship
I’ll single out China a bit. China, perhaps moreso than other truly communist governments, has had public attempts to move toward democracy (just last week, two pro-democracy politicians won low, regional office, and then were promptly removed when they refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the Beijing government). Part of the reason that China doesn’t have a mass upwelling of pro-democracy folks, despite the recent inflow of cash and western ideas, is because they are educated from a young age that in China’s system, the best and brightest are groomed and trained from a young age to lead and lead wisely, while in a democracy, any doofus could get elected and lead the country to disaster.
So Donald Trump is not just likely to set our nation back, but has become the living poster child for oppressed states everywhere to say “This is what you get with democracy, and it isn’t good!” … and it is difficult to wholly refute that lesson.
Trump has made it a priority to dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the name of reducing oversight on businesses. This means that (among other things), consumers will need to be more cautious than ever before taking out loans (especially student loans, taken out by young, inexperienced kids). Did we mention that predatory lending practices tend to disproportionately affect minorities and young people who tend to vote for Democrats? That’s true, but it also tends to hit (wait for it) uneducated whites in the rural South and Midwest, too. It would have been better if they had shot their own foot with one of their guns (at least while they are still insured).
The man who brought us Trump U (and who has a court date over that soon) will support an increased corporate presence in schools, likely trying to increase the profitability of online schools, for profit schools, while trying to shut down or malign traditional schools. Charter operators and will likely see major boosts under Trump; the most direct way he will harm a lot of kids.
At this point, it might be a plus (at least for my state), if Trump dismantles the Department of Education, and lets the states do as they please, as my state should be able to stave off most of the corporate changes in education. However, if he gets a taste for power, and follows through on his promise to pour $20 billion into school choice, then large sections of the country will likely be saying good bye to their public schools as corporate schools move in and take over.
At least Common Core and NGSS are likely to finally go away. I’m reaching for the good at this point.
First Amendment Rights on College Campuses
I think one thing that scared a lot of those white uneducated men into voting was seeing college campuses adopting these “safe spaces” and restrictions on language that were only comforting to certain people, and forbidding any “uncomfortable” language that might “hurt” others. I won’t be surprised to see legislation related to collegiate funding and grants moving through Congress that carry caveats on not restricting free speech. In the long run, this may not be all that bad because I have seen the idea of a reasonable safe space to support people in need of support transform into a multi-headed beast which really does threaten legitimate academic freedom, though I suspect that Congress will, as always, go overboard.
Even if a lot more people appreciate the president today than two years ago, the overwhelming turnout to sink Hillary and prevent a senate take over that could protect Obamacare was a fair repudiation of his administration. Had Obamacare worked better, it may have survived and been fixed by the new Congress. As it is, I suspect that it will be gone completely, and replaced by some token program that will amount to little. Obama’s other signature accomplishments: education (already dying, with the sharks coming in for the final blow) and foreign policy will be largely erased with the new administration. In the end, I suspect Obama’s legacy will be “He wasn’t W. Bush or Trump”, which is good, but nowhere near what it could have been. In the end, having a Black Man in the White House, making changes that had a suspected odor of socialism, was too much for a lot of older, uneducated, easily fearful, white people to have. Obama claims that his crusade after office will be to end gerrymandering. With the current Congress and soon to arise Supreme Court, he could spend his time more usefully trying to turn base metals to gold.
Julian Assange and Wikileaks
I think it was easy for a lot of people to jump on board a website which helps to uncover state crimes and injustices throughout the world. However, I think at least some people (and this number may grow as Trump screws more and more things up) are seeing that Julian Assange used Wikileaks to either carry out a vendetta against Hillary Clinton, or to demonstrate his ability to influence an election like an anarchist might. Assange’s claims of “I didn’t mean to hurt Clinton’s election chances” carry as much weight as Trump claiming he really does respect women. It is ringing hollow, and as it is, Wikileaks needs to consider becoming more like Edward Snowden, and a lot less like the Joker … perhaps with its own regime change.
They came out for Obama, but did not support Hillary anywhere near enough. The message is that: we’ll support our own, but no one else. That may not be so big a deal, but with the African-American community already eclipsed in size by Latinos, and soon the be eclipsed by Asians, it may not have been a good time to remind people that their votes are starting to carry less and less value. I suspect in the future, there will be less and less reliance on African-American voters, and that likely means, less need to help that community. Just on the cusp of being politically powerful, the community gave up on itself. That is a damn shame!
Political campaigns can get dirty. This is not new. What is new is the level of performance that politicians will go to. This was 100% Trump. Think for a moment: had this been Clinton v Jeb Bush or even Clinton v. Cruz, would we have seen the level of depravity that we have seen in this campaign? Heck no!!
The worst part – it 100% worked! That means Donald Trump isn’t a scumbag, he’s a pioneer! What we just saw was not the end of a horrible campaign that raised everyone’s blood pressure, we just saw the start of how campaigning is going to be, because if you want to win, you are going to have to fight like Trump did – repeated obvious lies followed by repeated denial while discrediting your opponent while dominating the news cycle while the press sits there with “We are not fact checkers” hats on.
Trump has already backtracked on his promise to get rid of the EPA … but since noted climate skeptic Myron Ebell seems to be in line to head the EPA, it might as well be shut down. I think the irony is that this move is going to greatly hurt many of the states that voted for Trump. States can still have their own environmental laws that can cushion the lack of federal intelligence in environmental science,but in places that think the environment is just another pussy to grab, they will fuck things up royally with the help of the new federal government.
Black Lives Matter
BLM is done. They protested against the GOP, and protested Bernie Sanders, and protested Hillary Clinton, and now they have less than nothing to show for it. Their latest protest was in the Mt. Greenwood neighborhood of Chicago where they protested the shooting of a young African-American who was holding a gun on a firefighter who was complaining that his car was blocking a firehouse driveway. The residents of mostly white (and very pro-police Mt. Greenwood) turned the tables and protested the protest with a lot of Trump signs. BLM backed down, and that is where they are headed. This latest protest was an example of what their movement has become, and that is not good, because what it started out as was good, and is necessary, but I suspect now their protests are falling on ever more deaf ears, and I don’t think that anyone in Washington will be returning their calls for support. They chose to go it alone, and rather than see the reality of what was happening in the world, they are alone, without support, and dying.
Left Wing Progressivism
As one commentator pointed out, a critical difference between the two parties this year was that the GOP ran a completely LSD induced fucked up campaign from start to finish, but it was completely transparent. The Democrats ran a more orderly campaign from start to finish, but as we have learned, the Democrats decided to support Hillary early, and only pretended that Bernie Sanders actually had a chance to win. Bernie still wouldn’t have won, but some of the younger people who hitched their wagon to Bernie, the young progressives, have walked away, and are likely to be a bit like myself … willing to sit on the sidelines and watch this mess, but will be damned if they are going to get involved again. That might change as time goes by, but for the moment, the Democrats have already learned that their next candidate needs to likely be young likeable, and more progressive in the sense that they offer change … in other words they need a candidate exactly like the ones they have driven away from getting involved.
The number show that the Bernie Sanders folks stayed away in large numbers … there was no huge showing for the Libertarians or Greens, and each showed only small gains.
The Legitimate Press
What line from the press will be remembered from 2016? My favorite was Donald Trump demanding that the debate moderators not fact check him, and they mostly complied. In the end, even if Hillary had the questions in advance, this was all the advantage Trump needed. When no one calls you on a lie, is it really a lie? The press was thrilled that Trump was selling papers and advertising, and let him run wild. If we cannot trust the press to investigate, what exactly is their purpose?
I do hope that this lack of investigation won’t continue into the Trump presidency? He would want nothing less.
The FRWEASPs (in the long run)
The far right wing Christian evangelical Anglo-Saxon Protestants, for now, are looking down the barrel of a couple of decades of a supportive Supreme Court. But one day in the future, this will come back to haunt them. This was the election when the FRWEASPs finally sold out their faith in return for power. Despite the fear mongering, there really was no worry of the government forcing churches to perform gay weddings or whatever other nonsense they were afraid of. However, when early on there was a sign that the FRWEASPs might actually hold to their Christian faith and stand against the thrice married casino owner (married to a woman who has done a porn shoot and who worked illegally in the US) who represented just about everything that the FRWEASPs rally against. Instead, they caved as the unChrist-like group that they are, and tied their boat to his dock. These folks can never claim the moral high ground again. Had they stayed on the side lines, I could have respected them as I disagree with them for doing the Christian thing (at least in the consistency of how they practice their faith). They can claim to be Christian (I guess), but moral? No, they turned their backs on their own moral standards, and in so doing they will not be able to hold that high ground again. Their numbers are already dropping, but will drop more when people realize who hollow their claims of morality are. I’m not sure I could even use the term “Christian” to describe a self-proclaimed Christian who voted for Trump given all of his baggage.
Third Parties (in the short run)
Libertarians and Greens were served up everything they wanted – two hard to like candidates and lots of air time covering third party candidates … at least until people listened to them.
“What is Aleppo?” will go down right next to “Who am I? Why am I here?” (that was Ross Perot’s vice president, Admiral Stockdale, assuring that his boss had no chance of winning in 1992). Promising to end public schools and remove all of the restrictions on businesses gave Gary Johnson many of Trump’s foibles with a nicer personality. He was essentially Mike Pence with a better civil rights record and a cowboy hat. But the ignorance to lead anything bigger than the Albuquerque 4th of July Parade was clear, and by the end, Johnson’s own vice president was trying to nicely get people to vote for Hillary.
Dr. Jill Stein was like Ben Carson, but respectable … at least right up until she refused to throw the anti-vax movement under the bus to hold on to their support. And like that, any attempt she had of influencing the outcome evaporated like mercury over 357° Celsius. The Libertarians will get a better candidate and will survive nicely, however, the Green Party’s first big foray into national American politics ended quite poorly.
If Johnson and Stein can take any solace, with the exception of Cher, no one is throwing them under the bus with the body of Ralph Nader for throwing the election to Trump. However in the end, that was only because their respective candidates were ineffective in resonating with many people, even if their respective parties’ platform still might. Down the road, they may have won some converts over, and if the election had been more out of hand either way, may have seen solid gains in voting.
The LGBTQ Community
Today we had to send two kids home because their anxiety had grown to the point where they could not function today. I have a good colleague who is trying to hold together while contemplating that her marriage may one day be declared null and void, or might be made only legal in some places. The recent conversations on the rights of transgendered kids will almost certainly be set back with an unsympathetic Supreme Court. This group may be the one that has gained so much in the past decade and has the most to lose in less than that amount of time.
As the election was collapsing, I remembered a clip from the outstanding comedy Veep. In the clip, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss’ character, Selina Meyer, (now President of the US after a resignation) is running for election, and has brought in a new adviser who is pushing out her (mostly competent) top advisor, Amy, (played by an all grown up Anna Chlumsky). In this scene, Chlumsky finally blows her stack, and rage quits, but her last words to her incompetent boss have a sting in 2016:
In the end, I think women lose the worst. I’ve noted a few things above, but in the end, there was a candidate who was not simply misogynistic, but who reveled in being a man’s man from the 1950s who put women down and treated them like objects, unapologetically, and carried a majority of the white female vote. Short of Hillary Clinton being an actual convicted felon or strongly suspected of treachery or murder or molestation, this makes the least sense of anything that happened. Yes, you too can publicly and proudly claim that you can grab women by the pussy, have a dozen women claim you have assaulted them, and joke about sneaking backstage of a teen beauty pageant, and both men and women will prefer you to a woman who has been, at worst, not very organized and overly ambitious. Going back to that video clip, I don’t think for a moment that Hillary Clinton is the worst thing to happen to this country … not even close. However, because she was unable to win the easiest presidential layup since Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford in the wake of Watergate, specifically against a man who made being a sexist pig one of his central themes, I would think that any woman in politics would have to think twice about ever running again, especially given the complete inability to connect with women. It isn’t Clinton who fucked this up. It was the women who refused to vote for her because of her looks? her smile not quite being right? choosing to stand with her philandering husband? her strength? her pantsuits? her inability to be perfect? Those are the people who will make sure that it will be a long time before we have a woman willing to submit herself to this level of humiliation all while her #1 demographic is judging her like this was a beauty pageant. Hillary’s crime was in wanting this a lot. That might not be an easily embraceable trait, but by comparison, her weakness was better than any of Trump’s strengths as a leader.
It makes one wonder what Trump would have had to have done in order to cost him the election? The answer in the end might be that Trump, short of a capital crime, was bound to win, because too many women simply didn’t like an ambitious woman who happened to make it. It makes you wonder if we are living in a very bad episode of Mad Men, where all of the worst stereotypes about women being catty with each other are 100% correct and 100% accepted. More than a few good parents are going to have to think carefully about how they are going to explain this to their daughters. Can this nation tell its daughters that being president is realistic? Beats the hell out of me how that conversation would go. I actually had one of those moments where I quietly thanked myself for never having children.