I believed that Trump would lose. So strongly did I believe this (because I honestly couldn’t hold out hope for the elusive “hidden Trump voters”) that I decided I would not watch or listen to any media Tuesday night, believing I would be greeted today with ebullient headlines “Historic Hillary Win!”
About 11:30 PM PST Tuesday night I succumbed to my Albert Powell moment from Dirty Harry – “I gots to know.” I was stunned that Trump was ahead at 260 electoral votes to Clinton’s 214. I then watched for a couple of hours, ending with Trump’s surprisingly gracious acceptance speech. This might just work.
Like virtually everyone else (except the basket of deplorables who crowded every Trump appearance) I had expected his defeat at every point along the campaign. While his recently-exposed locker room braggadocio hadn’t shocked or changed my opinion of the man (I have been in a few locker rooms; men are all pigs) I figured it was one last nail in his coffin in our faint-hearted identity politics society.
Reading the array of commentary today (I even read Maureen Dowd, a shocker) I keep going back to the one insight I had that I feel explains Trump’s win – it was more than attacking the PC world we have come to expect and loathe from politicians.
Trump lanced the festering boil on the regular American’s psyche. Trump relieved the majority of Americans’ cognitive dissonance we’ve been forced to endure for decades, being told by our betters that outrageous things were proper when common sense and decency told us they were not.
He made it OK to recognize that our understanding of the world was not perverted, racist, Islamophobic, sexist or whatever. Real people, those who work hard and try to raise their kids decently and worry about bills and the future, have been forced to accept conflicting beliefs by news media and Hollywood and politicians and educators.
Trump, in his hyperbolic speeches, said things that people had always believed but were afraid to voice because of the guilt culture had imposed. You cannot speak openly against illegal immigration because you are racist, all the while knowing it to be wrong and harmful to the culture and country. You cannot acknowledge that there are real reasons other than racism for certain minorities having higher incarceration rates. It’s wrong to believe that transgender bathrooms make no sense and place children at risk of physical and psychological harm.
When Trump started speaking, in his self-important, coarse and contradictory manner, people were freed from the guilt they had been feeling for so long because they were constantly being told that their actual observations and understanding were abhorrent.
The elites on both sides still get it wrong. We will hear much about how white males with no college carried Trump across the finish line. That ignores the fact that many others had to have voted for him. It betrays the continuing conceit that informed and sophisticated voters could not possibly have believed him a better choice that Hillary. She went to Wellesley and Yale, doncha know?
So I was wrong again and again this cycle. What to do? Make predictions for Trump 45, of course. Here they are:
- Republicans in Congress will bring back the checks and balances to the legislative and administrative branches, rediscovering their courage in stopping President Trump’s excesses in the way they were too weak to stop President Obama.
- Justice Clarence Thomas will retire after seeing who President Trump nominates to replace the sorely-missed Antonin Scalia. I don’t expect infallibility in nominating justices of the caliber of Thomas and Scalia (remember Ronald Reagan gave us Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy) but I am certain Trump will give us a much better Supreme Court than Clinton would have. While Trump may be in the position to nominate 3-4 Supreme Court Justices, the Court will not move perceptibly conservative but will ward off the leftward swing of recent years. The First and Second Amendments will remain intact.
- Trump’s victory will mark “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Just kidding. Obama has done that already.
- Like all presidents before him, Trump will be exposed to a harsh dose of reality about foreign policy that will moderate many of his positions. He will be especially shocked by the Stargate program. He will then invest heavily in gold.
- James Comey will stay on as FBI director, but his marching orders will change. There will be indictments of players around the Clintons but not of Hillary. Much as I’d love to see her frog-marched in cuffs I don’t think it will happen.
- Melania Trump will be the most beautiful, classy and stylish first lady since Jacqueline Kennedy (no one will ever replace Jackie in the mythos, deserved or not). The press will ignore Melania. She will take on projects that actually help Americans.
- President Trump will not receive a Nobel Peace Prize, nor will he be nominated for one two weeks after his inauguration.
- Knowing they will not be vetoed, major legislation on healthcare, border security and immigration, and free speech will be passed by Congress.
- Some kind of a wall will be built along the US-Mexico border, and security will be enhanced. Mexico will not pay for it. Millions of illegals will not be deported.
- Deficit spending will continue and increase, but at a slower rate than the last 8 years.
I do expect that there will be many cringe-worthy moments during the Trump administration, but there should be some real gains. While Trump was not in my top 5 candidates, he may well be the only one with the ego and brashness to actually change the ingrown culture of corruption and favor-trading that sucks even the brightest and most ideal in Washington into Re-election, Inc.