To the Trump campaigners:
Congratulations. I know you worked very hard for this. You have accomplished a remarkable historic feat. You should be proud.
To the voters who voted for Trump:
Based on the most recent data I’ve seen, it appears there is a deep latent disgust with our economic and social policies of the last 20+ years. That so few saw this ahead of the election means we as a nation weren’t paying attention. I’m guessing you have despaired for years with very few candidates willing to take your pain seriously. I’m sorry for your pain. I hope you feel vindication through this election.
To the voters who voted against Hillary:
To those of you who hated her. I think you judged her too harshly. Living in a red state, I heard firsthand how many of you thought she would lead our country to its actual non-figurative destruction. Really? You really believed that?
To those of you who got ‘the willies’ watching her. Was your unease because she’s an older, not-very-feminine, tough woman? No? Still, I believe too many of you applied an unfair gender bias.
“Imagine a woman who showed up [to a presidential debate] unprepared, sniffling like a coke addict and interrupting her opponent 70 times. Let’s further imagine that she had 5 kids by 3 men, was a repeated adulterer, had multiple bankruptcies, paid zero federal taxes and rooted for the housing crisis in which many thousands of families lost their homes. Wait… there’s more: she has never held any elected office in her life.”
– Michelle Vitali
To those of you who disagreed with her policies. I understand. To those who didn’t like her impersonal and too-secretive nature. I agree with you. I didn’t like it either. To those of you who saw the email scandal as emblematic of larger concerns. Ya, I get that. However, it seemed to me that, in this election, it paled to the emblems displayed by the alternative. But I respect that you disagree.
To our electoral college system:
I don’t have a problem with you. If you didn’t exist, candidates would only spend their time and money addressing the concerns of large urban centers around the country at the expense of everywhere else. However, it’s past time that we passed laws to force electors to vote according to the votes of their constituents.
To our First Past the Post election system, a.k.a. our 270 electors to win system:
Go. To. Hell.
You perpetually guarantee two, and only two parties will ever really exist. Any party will pick a candidate more favorable to the extreme elements inside the party.
Imagine if there had been seven well credentialed, experienced candidates on this ballot. How well do you think Trump and Hillary would have performed? I’m pretty sure they would have performed near the bottom.
Relatively few wanted either of these candidates. This is the real tragedy of this election. In this sense, this election was undemocratic. It’s as if you were forced to pick a babysitter for your kids, and you had to choose between someone who’s occasionally investigated for child abuse, and someone who seems likely to abuse your children but has never had the chance to be abusive because he’s never babysat anyone before. Which will you choose? That’s not freedom. That’s more inline with Iranian style “democracy”.
To the Democratic party:
You brought this on yourselves. You protected and sheltered your favorite candidate when you should have embraced a survival of the fittest fight. When you had such a fight in 2008, Hillary lost! The Republicans had 17 candidates. You had three! In a nation of 300+ million, you could only come up with three? Clearly something wasn’t right from the beginning.
Yet another reason to abolish our two-party system: if one party negligently drops the ball, others are available and willing to exploit the opportunity. Survival of the fittest.
To President Obama:
You shouldn’t have groomed Hillary for the presidency. Although I understand why you did, doing so was the beginning of the end of your legacy. This is not to say anything negative about Hillary. You simply shouldn’t have tried to groom your successor. As the leader of your party, everyone took your cue and fell in line.
To the Republican party:
You have been the party of ‘No’ for a long time now. In 2018 if you want to maintain your majorities in congress, you must lead. If you simply repeal Obamacare, pop the champaign, and pat each other the back, you will lose. If you justify your inactions by your devout faith in the invisible hand of the market, you will lose.
Also, please work with the Democrats. I get that you don’t have to work with them, and I know it feels really good not to. But if you don’t, you will have to turn to the extremists in your party.
Please take the long view. If you use your new majority to handcuff the opposition, you have made it worse for everyone in the long run. They’ll do the same to you when it’s their turn in power.
To my fellow left of center friends:
This is so painful. I know. It’s devastating.
I know there’s more to despair of than to hope for. But here’s some comforting possibilities. Potential silver-linings if you will:
- Trump’s campaign wasn’t traditionally financed. Therefore he is beholden to few. If you created a list of all the people that can pressure him to do something and sorted it by influence, who would you guess is at the top of the list? I’m guessing it is: Voters, Congress, and Executive staff. It’s been a long, long time since any president has had a list with these three groups, and not donors, at the top. Keep this point in mind as you read the remaining points.
- During the primary debates, he called out the man behind the curtain. On national television. Everyone sharing the stage with him just squirmed. We’re so used to massive campaign spending that it’s easy to lose perspective on what it really is: corruption. If Trump managed to dramatically reduce campaign spending, it would resolve one of the fundamental underlying issues that has broken our democracy.
“When you give they do whatever the hell you want them to do.”
“Because when I want something, I get it. When I call, they kiss my ass.”
“When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them, and they are there for me. And that’s a broken system.”
– Donald Trump
- Trump seemed to support the idea of allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. if they paid back taxes. Then he was sharply criticized from the political right, and he began talking about the Wall. No one believes Trump can actually build the Wall, but everyone assumed he was dumb enough to believe he could. Is he really?
- On the public bathroom gender issue, Trump seemed surprisingly pragmatic.
“North Carolina did something that was very strong and they’re paying a big price. There’s a lot of problems. You leave it the way it is. There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom they feel is appropriate, there has been so little trouble.”
– Donald Trump
- Trump was fully pro-choice until three years ago. In other words, he was pro-choice until he had a complete change of heart around the same time he started eyeing the presidency – In his late sixties no less. Also, Trump never listed “pro-life” as one of his positions on his website. It was included in some of his press releases, but never as one of his main positions.
- Trump was for raising the federal minimum wage. He recently changed his position that states should raise their own minimum wages, but again that was a late change of heart.
- Just today, Trump called for fixing our broken mental health system in America as a big step toward addressing gun violence. I have personally come to the conclusion that this is the only practical step we can take right now in America. I was repeatedly disappointed and frustrated that leaders on the left never focused on this after each mass shooting.
- In his victory speech, Trump struck a conciliatory tone, and praised Hillary for her many years of public service. Just today Trump called Obama “a very good man” and declared he would seek his counsel in the future.
I could go on. But consider: Is Donald Trump a master of national theater? Clearly yes. Could he be quite a bit left of what he represented during the campaign? That’s a very distinct possibility. I could be wrong. Very wrong. But go back and read the first bullet point again. I choose to be hopeful.