Election 2016 produced stunning surprises, and if you are still looking for explanations, try this one used on an eight-year-old when he asked his grandfather, “I thought you said Trump was a bully?”
The answer went something like this: “Sometimes, the bully wins.” And some-times, the bully changes his/her ways.
It’s our best hope.
Now for the math:
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. For that accomplishment, she can assume her place on history’s mantle alongside Al Gore. And not much more. When a candidate’s negative ratings are consistently above 60 percent, and when you’re the first female candidate for president, it takes a very artful campaign to win.
This math is teed-up thusly for many reasons. First, Trump tapped into a growing dissatisfaction with status-quo Washington. Hillary Clinton was the poster lady for establishment DC. Secondly, the Democratic/Republican alignment has largely become an urban/rural patchwork
quilt. Underneath that sad fact: Rural America votes at about a 70 percent clip; urban America, about ten points less, give or take.
So, do we tell our young LGBT citizens, “Move to a city”? Maybe. But here’s what we tell them, and everyone, for starters:
It’s never OK to begin or end a cam-paign with threats: Threats to Hispanic Americans. Threats to our LGBT community via the judicial-appointment route. Threats to women who exercise their legal right to choose their own path to reproductive health. Threats to an entire religion, on the off-chance a few of their flock might be terrorists. Threats to our right to privacy.
Blustery stump speeches — that’s the stock-in-trade for our new president. We don’t really have a clue how he’ll lead the ship of state. We can judge his executive leadership skills from afar, because The Trump Organization is a Byzantine private intertwined enterprise. But we can judge this: his character.
His character is visible on the stump and in debates. He shoots first, asks questions later. He mocks disabled folks, and any opponent automatically gets a disparaging nickname. He is heard disparaging women in awful terms, which caught many of us off-guard.
Don’t give up hope. And don’t ever forget: When we aren’t fully on-guard, the bully sometimes wins.
But never forever.