Many Americans awoke Wednesday morning to the startling news that Donald J. Trump had won the 2016 presidential race. The one who they had reviled so much and thought would be buried under the landslide victory of Hillary Clinton had narrowly done it. Regardless of how bombastic and exaggerated many found Donald, he had obviously convinced enough Americans that he had a superior vision for the next four years than Hillary.
If you listen to the right and left leaning news sources and political blogs across the blogosphere, there are a host of explanations for Trump’s victory.
The Clinton supporters are convinced that Trump won because the American voter is actually much more racist, misogynistic, less educated, polarized, and right-wing than they ever realized. In fact, several riots, marches, and protests occurred Wednesday night and Thursday.
The political left is utterly shocked and appalled that Clinton did not win and several universities call off classes so that students can deal with their political losses. Female democrats, in particular, find the situation hard to deal with in that they were hoping to wake to the first woman president.
The Far Left
The Far Left were particularly disenchanted because they never stopped burning the candle for Bernie Sanders and had only reluctantly settled for Clinton, yet they found her ultimately to be worlds better than Trump, which reflected none of their values. The Far Left saw Trump as a demagogue and wannabe dictator. They are young and dream of socialized college education that would be free for all as well as a free health care.
Clearly, the Republicans stayed up all night, and were intoxicated by the close win by Trump. His message appealed especially to the working-class, White voter who came out in droves to support this candidate that gave a voice to their angst. The working class voter has felt very marginalized over the last 8 years under Obama and Trump’s popularity can be directly attributed to his counter-Obama stance. The right-leaning voter ate up Trump’s rhetoric aimed at ethnicities such as undocumented Mexican immigrants and his opposition to Welfare programs that serve the working poor including groups like African Americans.
The Trump campaign used many “dog whistle” terms in their rhetoric on the campaign trail that were little more than pseudonyms for ethnic groups. Talk abounded of “draining the swamp” of government’s politicians who were doing little more than pandering to ethnicities just to garner their votes. Lots of references to “handouts” “takers” and a generous use of variations of the word “socialist”, these terms were quickly picked up by ethnic listeners to Trump’s rhetoric as well as the White, working class base that Trump was targeting. Trump never wholesale adopted White Nationalist language, but it was interesting that both the KKK and the American Nazi Party opening and vociferously supported Trump.
The Christian Right
The Christian Right was initially divided about favoring Trump, but after several influential and prominent mainstream evangelical ministers met with Trump and later endorsed him, the Christian Right voters soon embraced the “Trump train.” There were dissenting voices among evangelical leaders, but they were quickly drowned out due to all of the worry that Clinton would appoint Supreme Court justices that were opposed to religious liberty issues and abortion.
These issues coupled with the fact that Hillary emphasized very strongly her support for all forms of abortion, especially late-term abortion, was very off-putting to many in the Far Right and even to some moderate swing voters. Catholics, in particular, struggled with the decision over which candidate since most tended to align themselves with HRCs policy positions, but differed strongly with her on the issue of abortion.
Many parties on both sides of the aisle thought that a civil and cordial meeting between President-elect Trump and President Obama was impossible. However, in a superlative example of grace and decorum, both politicians put their differences aside and had a 90-minute meeting when only a 10-minute meeting had been scheduled. It was evident that both men were sincerely trying to do the right thing for the nation and it is hopeful that this demonstrates a new phase in Trump’s political career.
There is a great difference in running for president and being president. Assuming the mantle of leadership involves a lot of pressure and information that candidates are not privy to. Former presidents have remarked that being president of the United States is not something that you can really prepare for. It is something that you only know how to do once you are aware of all the sensitive and classified information that only our nation’s top leader knows.
I hope that all Americans will put aside their petty differences and will give our new president a chance to see what he can do to help our nation. It does not help anyone to riot or vandalize our cities or neighborhoods. We are the world’s example for democracy and we must trust the democratic process.