I don’t want to add to the handwringing. The pundits were wrong, anyhow. So so wrong. Yugely. Bigly wrong. And I’m no pundit. As this election wore on, I kind of turned away and grew numb. Because while I scoffed at the idea of Trump’s victory something inside me was whispering that this eventuality was possible.
Look, I’m just a Canadian, so my handwringing is useless. But considering how many Americans didn’t vote in this election, that might not be true. My point of view is almost as valid as the millions who could have voted but didn’t.
This chart kills me:
— Mona (@MonaChalabi) November 9, 2016
And then this one, too:
So Trump won the thing with less votes than Romney garnered when he lost to Obama. That is bad math. And, yes, he won with less of the popular vote, but that’s the system. Being Canadian, I’ve seen governments form strong majorities with less than 40% of the vote (though our systems are different enough that this is really an apples and oranges comparison). And to top it off, people called it. Months ago. Michael Moore called it almost perfectly. This is back in the summer. He wasn’t the only one. But the granularity of his prescience is impressive.
I was in London for Brexit and I remember thinking about this new world, about how most Londoners had no idea this was coming. Similar forces voted Trump in as well (though let’s combine this with voter apathy, voter suppression – which worked like a fucking charm, and, let’s face it, a Democratic party campaign that was short on real ideas and was more in rest-on-our-laurels mode).
So already, a shop was spray painted with Swastika in Philadelphia (on the anniversary of Kristallnacht no less). Various POC have mentioned harassment and casual racism. “This is America” now means something else. Trump’s cabinet looks like an amazingly motley crew of morbid. The earth is about to get a lot dirtier and unhealthier. So long science. So long facts. And people are genuinely scared. There is nothing that happened during the campaign that should make them feel otherwise. Any touch of the “other” in you is now magnified, as the white majority takes its last kick at the can. I hope the assholes don’t remain emboldened. But the thing about assholes is they never know when to quit. That’s one of the things that makes them assholes in the first place.
There have already been protests in the cities (of course in the cities) and I imagine that protests in front of Trump properties across the country and around the world will continue for as long as Trump remains President. And if those protests galvanize enough people to form an effective – and loud – coalition of people, constantly reminding the world that 75% of Americans didn’t vote for Trump, that’s something. Or could be.
But return to those charts. Trump won and it turns out the system was rigged in his favor. He played the system perfectly. He did just enough to win. He complained about the system and the otherness of America just enough to drive up his vote in just the right places. His margins in those swing states in the Upper Midwest were thin, almost non-existent, but enough. Turns out he knew how rigged the system really was and played it.
Eight years after the US electrified all of us by electing a black man to be President, by electing someone who represented the “better angels” of America those same people turned around and elected an orange racist plutocrat up on charges of child rape and fraud. It’s almost as if the past eight years hadn’t happened. It’s almost as if the “progress” we were witnessing was too good to be true. Coupled with the Brexit, and the rise of the far right throughout Europe and elsewhere, and the debasement of the “other” – which has reached enough critical mass as to be mainstream – and we are living in dark times. People who want to fix it should probably remove their sunglasses right about now.