My two yen on the US election

Today I’m really taking some time to go deep and digest all of the events over the last few days. To say that Trump’s win was surprising is an amazing understatement, and the overwhelming amount of anger, frustration, and sadness that I’ve seen around me is completely understandable. I am seeing the reactions of my co-workers here in Tokyo, who, like me, come from around the world. Some of them are smug. Some of them are concerned about what this will mean for global security. Others are seeking to commiserate and process the cost of putting Donald Trump into power.

Similarly, in some online realms, I am hearing many voices of concern about what the future holds. I see old friends expressing concern for the future of (their) gay marriage, or dealing with the inevitable hard questions from children who are trying to make sense of how this affects their respective families. I also see those I follow on Twitter who are taking the news very hard. They seem unable to comprehend or cope with the idea that there are nearly equal numbers of people who have similar beliefs to them, as have beliefs that are counter to theirs. Even though they know, on some level, that “everybody has their reasons,” they can’t quite admit to themselves that people actually do believe in crazy things. Even further, some people have an amazing capacity to easily accept groups of ideas that are absolutely incompatible with each other.

Personally, I’ve been trying to grok the breadth of the effects of this election. How the mere prospect of such a person coming into this great power can change the assumptions of other countries’ governments. I’ve been going through a lot of new possible scenarios where a Trump presidency can upset the status quo in both positive and devastating ways, in the same way that we are watching the Brexit issue manifest itself in various unforeseen ways (e.g., the devaluation of the pound, possible Scottish independence, the rethinking of various trade agreements and treaties).

Yet, it is inevitable that the denial and shock will soon wear off, and we will be left with nothing but ourselves and the expanse of the next four years ahead of us. It is clear that the Republicans are probably just as surprised as the Democrats about how this election turned out. There are clearly a number of Republicans who have refused to play the game by withholding support for the party candidate. What will be the repercussions for them? It is difficult to say, but the fact is that they now have to work with Donald Trump.

The Democrats seem to have been dealt a grievous blow. It seems that they are without refuge in any of the major seats of government. I will leave it to others to dig into the data and somehow tease out the factors of this election that steered us into this ditch — whether it is the self-segregation of conservatives and liberals into their respective camps over the last several years, or if it is the bombs that we occasionally lob at each other. For that matter, it could be that a very strategic first strike of class warfare that has been threatening to break out for more than a decade. Regardless, it is clear that, although there are some in the Republican party who will need to do some careful analysis, it is the Democrats who have some major work ahead.

Say what you will about the self-serving behavior from Donald Trump, if you take a look at Hillary Clinton’s conduct over the last 30 years, by itself, you will find a disgusting track record of behavior that would shock the conscience of anyone else on the planet. The fact that so many people actually smiled and said that they were “with her” without having to hold their nose was telling. I am quite supportive of putting a woman in that office, but it seems that nobody actually asked the question about why it had to be this woman that should be installed there first. Despite having a pretty decent number of good, qualified people on the bench for that job, the Democrats went with the most compromised person running — only because she was a woman! Then, they doubled down on that bet by saying that anyone who complained about her was a troll, a misogynist, or both.

Yes, Donald Trump is bad. Very bad. And yes, there were many who could see the quantity of Donald Trump, and who chose to hold their noses while casting a ballot in Hillary Clinton’s favor. When the election came around, though, the right number of people couldn’t be convinced to do the same. Indeed, despite the clear part that racial politics played in the election, it wasn’t the fault of white men, or even white people, for the way this election turned out. The blame for that lies solely at the feet of the Democrats for putting out such a terribly compromised candidate because it was “her turn.” In the process of having to overlook her serious shortcomings, liberals also had to defend their position by lashing out at anyone who pointed out what was going wrong. Further, this self-induced blind spot also made it impossible for Clinton supporters to accurately assess the valence of emotions against Hillary Clinton from most of the country. Now, this is where we find ourselves — with a sociopath waiting to take his (fairly won) office as the head of the United States.

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