Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Trump Presidency and a Glimmer of Hope

When I realized that Trump had been elected as the 45th President of the United States, I fell into a deep despair.  I wasn't ashamed of being an American, but I was angry, sad and frightened for America. Our ignorance is appalling, and I'm not saying this simply because my candidate lost. Trump won this election because the majority of the electorate believed all of his lies, despite the abundance of unbiased fact-checking that was available to them. They just didn't care enough to read.

What happens next?  Pundits like Bill Maher believe that this is just the beginning of a "slow right-wing coup" in which Trump, once he gains control, will not give it up.  A year ago such a statement would have been laughable.  After last night, though, anything is possible.  At this point you're probably wondering "Where the hell is that glimmer of hope?" Read on.

There are two characteristics that epitomize Donald Trump: his huge ego and his skill at lying.  He is such a good liar that he received over 80% of the white evangelical vote, despite the fact that he has been married three times, has admitted to committing adultery, has been caught on audiotape making incredibly misogynistic statements, and has been accused of sexual assault by at least 12 women, one of whom has accused him of raping her in 1994 when she was 13.  Why "in God's name" would evangelicals support this man?  Because he promised that, if elected, he would appoint Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v. Wade.  That's it.  That's all it took to lock up the white evangelical vote.  But will Trump actually follow through on this promise?  This video from 1999 would suggest otherwise.  In it, Trump characterizes himself as "pro-choice in every respect" and states that he is not even in favor of banning partial birth abortions.  It's impossible to know what Trump truly believes but the "glimmer of hope" is that he will not follow through on most of the promises he made in order to win the election. No wall, no Muslim ban, no repeal of Obamacare, no repeal of Roe v. Wade.

And then there's the Trump ego.  Everything with Trump has to be the best. The best steaks.  The best University.  The best hotel.  The second "glimmer of hope" is that he truly wants to go down in history as the best President of the United States.  If that's the case, he can't preside over a 4-year train wreck and then leave saying "I was the greatest President ever!" Trump may be the master at controlling our malleable media but he can't control history.  Even he knows that.  So for Trump to truly be the greatest President he is going to have to do a complete about face, work harder than he ever has in his life and lead this country to the "greatness" he has promised.  And, to be honest, with Republican majorities in the both the Senate and the House and with a favorable Supreme Court in the near future, Trump will be in a much better position to do this than Hillary would have been had she been elected last night.

As I said, though, this is only a glimmer of hope, one that will keep me functioning for the next few days.  If Trump appoints Chris Christie as his Attorney General, Rudy Giuliani as head of the FBI, and Sara Palin for Secretary of the Interior, then all is lost.