I watched the results come in last night in a state of disbelief.
I knew that Clinton probably couldn’t beat him fair and square. I knew that months ago. What surprised me was that we apparently live in a democracy after all. Who knew? If there is a silver lining to the gathering stormclouds, it is that our vote does, indeed, still matter — and that there are no sure things in politics.
I was as sure as could be that Drumpf was a plant, and that the same kind of fraud that was present in the primaries would be present in the general. Instead, Drumpf won handily — a blowout in the Electoral College, at least, even if he didn’t win the popular vote.
Drumpf is going to be our President. So what now?
I can list a number of reasons why this isn’t the end of the world. Why, in fact, we might be in a better position now than we would have had Hillary won. I hold no illusions that the coming days are going to be rough, but this crisis is also an opportunity that we can embrace. With this vote, the country has dealt a harsh rebuke to Clinton cronyism and the neo-Liberal politics that have been entrenched in Washington for over two decades. No matter what happens next, the Clintons are gone for good, and the repudiation of the Democratic establishment is complete.
This moment is our clarion call. All we have to do is embrace it.
I give little credence to those who say that he may not be as bad as we fear. While it’s true that his rhetoric has softened since the early days of wall-building and Muslim-deporting, he remains at best unpredictable. Now that he no longer needs his base to bolster him, he has already backed off his “pro-life” stance … but on the other hand, his ghoul of a VP has confirmed that Drumpf will roll back Obama’s LGBT protections. So who knows?
When dealing with these kinds of uncertainties, it is prudent to plan for the worst case. We must proceed as if he will try to implement every terrible thing that he has promised to do, and regard any movement windward as an unexpected bonus. We must engage our Congress-critters and let them know that we are watching, that we expect them to stand against him and his hate. We must fight him in the courts, fight him in the forums, fight him in the streets. We must denounce his hate to all who will listen.
Second, we must engage his base. We must not dismiss them as “dumbfuckistan,” but instead engage them. Try to understand why he appeals to them, why they are so full of anger and hate. They voted for him for a reason, a reason that others have spent some time articulating. If we don’t address their concerns, if we don’t strive to incorporate their hopes and fears into our platform, we cannot expect future elections to go any differently.
We must organize. We must build on the work we have already done. We have to get people out to vote in local elections, in midterm elections. State legislatures are going to be unbelievably important in the coming years — in 2020, after the census is taken, state legislatures will control redistricting. As many of you know, the 2010 redistricting gerrymandering gave the GOP an unassailable lock on the House. If we don’t replace some of those red legislatures with Progressives, we’re going to have another decade of conservatism.
We must demand the DNC tack to the left with a vigor, or we must abandon them for good. It is now impossible to argue that the DNC does not need progressives; enough of us stuck to our guns and refused to blink in the face of armageddon to deny Hillary her coronation. Our power is real, it has been proven. The DNC has one chance to clean house, one chance to bring us back into the fold, by listening to us and acceding to our demands. If they fail to do so, then we must move on and find our own champions.
Finally, we must educate and defend. Wherever we see racism or bigotry, be it online or in public, be it with friends or strangers, we must intervene. The racists and bigots, the “deplorables,” feel emboldened by Drumpf’s victory. We must push back. We cannot fail to apply our own pressures, take up our own space, refuse to be browbeaten by hate. We must be as fearless and assertive as they will be, and make it clear that the disadvantaged remain under our protection.
There are things I am glad of. I am glad that our democracy has survived — the integrity of the process has been respected. I am glad that we will be making common cause with Hillbots and independents and opposing white supremacists rather than vice versa. I am glad that the evil in the White House is big, obvious, and isolationist, rather than subtle, deceptive, and interventionist. I am glad that the true face of America has shown itself, so that we can know what we are truly up against.
This election season has been a horror. Prepare yourselves; though I believe there is light at the end of this tunnel, the worst is no doubt yet to come.