And then I wiped the sleep out of my eyes and set my feet onto the reality of it. Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States.
The discontent is real. That’s been clear for some time. Several years ago I began imagining a candidate who could positively channel it and win 2016 with optimism and hope.
As I said in an earlier post, Donald Trump is not the candidate I was imagining.
Many will comment on all aspects of this historic election—on the seeds from which it sprouted, on the wholly inaccurate assessment of what the electorate would do, and on the budding aftermath. Here are my few thoughts on just a couple of threads.
To my Hillary-supporting friends and readers: it did not take much to beat Donald Trump. You nominated possibly the only candidate who could plausibly lose to him. (Welcome to my world. I haven’t voted for the winner of the presidential race since 2004.) Hillary Clinton is widely disliked for good reasons, and will remain so. Disbelieve that at your political peril.
(Note that all of that could be turned around and still be true, and I’d have written something very similar with the names flipped had Clinton won.)
Please, stop your preparations for harakiri, and don’t gnash your teeth out of your head. If I can take anything positive from the past eight years, it’s that who’s president matters, but not as much as we pretend it does. We are still, nominally, a country of laws, not men. If Donald Trump turns out to be a disaster, then we shall survive him.
I invite you to consider the possibility that he will not be a disaster. Wish him well, just as I did Barack Obama at a similar moment eight years ago. Also, get up, get your shower, get a bite to eat, and be about your day. Your plans didn’t change, just as mine didn’t at a similar moment four years ago.
Most importantly, shake your neighbor’s hand.
I did not vote for Donald Trump. However, he starts at zero with me on January 20 just as Barack Obama did. I would be delighted for him to exceed my expectations.