A venal and debauched crew of clowns is about to take the steering wheel of the most powerful government on earth. This is a calamity of epic proportions. Do not minimize it. Do not attempt to normalize it. And for godssake stop spewing platitudes about bridging the divide and working together to move forward. The new regime has no intention of moving forward.
Stop fretting about understanding the people “on the other side.” It’s not about “sides.” There are 3 types of people who voted for Trump: 1) actual racist, misogynist, xenophobic hate-mongers, including white, Christo-fascists; 2) ordinary, garden variety rubes and naifs, who fell for his self-serving lies and demagoguery, who have little understanding of the world and/or are miserable judges of character; and 3) people who studiously practice intellectual and/or emotional dishonesty to protect and rationalize their narrow, immediate interests. Trying to understand their tortured logic will be a waste of your mindshare.
Instead, read Autocracy: Rules for Survival, by Masha Gessen in the NYRB. And resist (obviously, non-violently).
“Thank you, my friends. Thank you. Thank you. We have lost. We have lost, and this is the last day of my political career, so I will say what must be said. We are standing at the edge of the abyss. Our political system, our society, our country itself are in greater danger than at any time in the last century and a half. The president-elect has made his intentions clear, and it would be immoral to pretend otherwise. We must band together right now to defend the laws, the institutions, and the ideals on which our country is based.”
That, or something like that, is what Hillary Clinton should have said on Wednesday. Instead, she said, resignedly,
We must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power. We don’t just respect that. We cherish it. It also enshrines the rule of law; the principle [that] we are all equal in rights and dignity; freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values, too, and we must defend them.
Hours later, President Barack Obama was even more conciliatory:
We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country. The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy. And over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world….We have to remember that we’re actually all on one team.
The president added, “The point, though, is that we all go forward with a presumption of good faith in our fellow citizens, because that presumption of good faith is essential to a vibrant and functioning democracy.” As if Donald Trump had not conned his way into hours of free press coverage, as though he had released (and paid) his taxes, or not brazenly denigrated our system of government, from the courts and Congress, to the election process itself—as if, in other words, he had not won the election precisely by acting in bad faith.