Where to begin?
I was blindsided as much as at least half the country Tuesday night. It is going to take an extended period of time to see what this election means. Elections have consequences.
I think the campaign, as a previous post noted, was rigged by some Republican-controlled state governments that worked to restrict voting opportunities. But the polls were open everywhere on Tuesday, with people free to come and vote. Fewer did so than four years ago. More people voted for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump. Imagine what would be going on today if Trump had more votes and Clinton won the Electoral College.
I have thought about how I felt as a politically aware college student in 1968 after Richard Nixon was elected. It took several weeks to get over it. We had not then seen the Watergate scandal, so the feelings were more simple and gut-wrenching. Say what you will, but Nixon, even with his character flaws, was an intelligent man with a vision of the world and an understanding of the Constitution and how the government works.
Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. To date, Trump has not demonstrated his intelligence. He has bad judgment and a bad temperament to match. He admits he is his own best advisor. He does not know the Constitution. He listens to no advisors. He knows more than the generals. He does not read. Apparently he has a limited attention span. He cannot admit to mistakes and takes no responsibility for his words or actions. He is comfortable mocking and bullying people. He respects no one.
They say presidents can grow into the job. Trump has a Yuge amount of growing to do. Amazing amount, big league, believe me.
Trump early Wednesday gave his victory speech. He sounded the right tone as he read from the teleprompter. That’s good, for what it is worth. Actions of the Trump administration, however, will count for a lot more than words.
An administration filled with the likes of Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and perhaps Sean Hannity does not make me comfortable or reassured. And where does super alt-right fanatic Steve Bannon, he of score-settling and bigoted rhetoric, fit in?
The pundits are now saying that Trump will likely work cooperatively with Congress to promote a conservative agenda. Except that Trump is not really a conservative.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are gearing up to promote – what? Ryan has his Pollyanna Agenda. Don’t count on it Paul.
Republican congressional candidates, when they avoided endorsing Trump and anticipated having to deal with a President Clinton, talked about being a check on the president. Little Marco and Lyin’ Ted, among others, were unsuccessful in standing up to Trump on the campaign trail, so why should we think that they or other Republican members of Congress will stand up to President Trump?
Both parties now must face their futures, but the views are quite different from each perspective. The Republican Party is now led by an aggressive bully who only listens to himself. He will command the entire federal administration, including the Justice Department, the FBI, the IRS, the National Security Administration, the CIA, the Defense Department, etc. Sort of tailor made for a person whose MO is harassing and settling scores. It should be interesting.
Meanwhile Little Marco, Lyin’ Ted and the others will need to cool their heels and grow stodgy in Congress. John Kasich is like a man without a country.
The Republican base is actually two bases: the populist group that rose to power this year in response to the Party elite leadership’s inability to deliver on what they promised; and that elite leadership itself, which populated various Republicans for Hillary groups including retired military officers and diplomats, plus lots of Republican elected officials.
The Democratic Party has its own serious problems. Its left wing will feel invigorated to push their agenda, even though that approach has previously led the party astray. Barack Obama will be the titular leader, for whatever that is worth. The Party bench of future political stars has been decimated over the past six years both in Congress and in State Capitols. There are no obvious party leaders who might be contenders for the presidency in 2020.
The one thing that might – I emphasize, might – assist the party is demographics. But that factor, at least in 2016, did not produce the results that were hoped for. The party will wander in the wilderness for a while.
During the campaign Hillary took a lot of heat for her “basket of deplorables” comment. The truth is that some Trump supporters are deplorable – neo-Nazis; white nationalists; the Klu Klux Klan to name a few.
Most Trumpkins are not deplorable. There are millions of Trump supporters and Bernie Sanders supporters who have legitimate grievances about the way they have been treated, or the way they perceive they have been treated. Middle class Americans have not benefited much from the economic recovery that followed the Great Recession of 2008. Incomes are stagnant. Folks who do their jobs and pay their taxes watch while others get away with the housing and banking scandals that led to the Recession.
The Republican Party come January 20th will have all the tools they need to actually do what they said they would do. Repealing and replacing Obamacare will potentially take medical coverage away from more than twenty million Americans. Families with adult children under the age of 26 will see those children lose their coverage, and it will be too bad for those with pre-existing conditions.
Millions of undocumented aliens will face deportation. Immigration will be a big issue.
How will federal budgets be balanced as trillions in tax cuts are enacted along with big increases in defense spending? Paul Ryan’s phony magic asterisk budget plans will not work when the budgets might actually need to be enacted.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama yesterday gave very classy speeches conceding the election. They are, of course, correct that we should all hope, for the good of the country, that Donald Trump succeeds. The words are Clinton’s and Obama’s, but the burden of producing results rests with Trump.
I’ll leave this note with a short quote from Hillary’s speech. “This is painful, and it will be for a long time. … I still believe in America –- and I always will. And if you do, too, then we must accept this result -– and then look to the future.”
The local results
Both the Erie County Democratic Committee and their Republican counterparts gained some bragging rights Tuesday evening.
The Democrats, in the face of strong headwinds, carried the county for Hillary Clinton. DA-elect John Flynn had an impressive victory in the face of Joe (I’m self-funding) Treanor’s TV commercial onslaught that was paid for the Republican Party.
Monica Wallace followed up on her big primary election win with a solid victory margin in her Assembly race. She was facing her own strong headwinds from the Trump vote in Cheektowaga.
Chris Jacobs’ election as State Senator gets the seat back in the Republican column, helping the party maintain their control of the Senate. Jacobs’ record as County Clerk as well as financial resources from his own money and that of Senate Republicans overcame the Democratic enrollment advantage in the 60th District.
Finally, Democratic candidates for State Supreme Court Lynn Keane and Grace Hanlon ran far ahead of Republicans Mary Slisz and Dan Furlong in Erie County, but Keane and Hanlon could not overcome the Trump wave in the smaller counties of the 8th Judicial District. The wheeling-dealing Working Families Party placement of a New York City lawyer on our local ballot cost Keane the election.