Parsing the 2016 US presidential election

#vote or shut yer trap. #election2016

A photo posted by Josh Shear (@joshuanshear) on

Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States.

As of noon or so on the 20th of January, 2017, Trump will take the oath of office and he will be the president of all Americans.

All Americans. Even me, one of the Jewish journalists his supporters want dead.

I'm not gonna lie: A large number of Trump's supporters scare me shitless. I'm going to spend much of the next four years glancing over my shoulder.

Some newspapers around the world went with "Oh My God" on the front page. At home, they went with "you're hired," you know, because he's a reality TV star and editors think they're clever.

Where Hillary Clinton and the Democrats went wrong

So many places.

Clinton wasn't the right person in 2008. She wouldn't have been the right person in 2012. It was only a small echo chamber who thought she was the right person this year. Nobody actually listened to the majority of actual voters.

The party elite forgot that Bernie Sanders supporters entered the primaries as Sanders-or-Trump folks. They forgot that those weren't dyed-in-the-wool Democrats — that they were independent thinkers. Having Sanders ask his primaries supporters to vote for Clinton wasn't going to work — they were going to vote for whom they thought would be the best candidate, not follow the guy who dropped out.

After the convention, Clinton ignored Wisconsin altogether. She sent surrogates to Michigan. She banked on Pennsylvania. She lost them all, to the tune of 46 electoral votes that would have swung the election.

She spent the last week posting Twitter ads asking for money, when she hadn't even shored up our votes.

Clinton spent the election season sounding entitled to the office.

Where Trump went right

Trump went for the heart. He's a smile-and-shake hands kind of guy. Some of us find that kind of slimy, but most of us go for it anyway. It's the kind of thing that sells millions of cars, houses, boats and insurance policies across the country every year. It's big business.

He didn't need facts. He got a lot of stuff wrong. Nobody cared. He knew that.

What Trump's first 100 days look like

Trump's going to have a difficult first 100 days, I think. His cabinet will sail through, he'll get someone appointed to the Supreme Court. All the Washington stuff will go easy. He has a Republican House and Senate. Expect a lot of rubber stamps for two years.

But the work is going to be intrinsically hard. He's a figure head. He runs companies, shmoozes, shakes hands and entertains. He's going to have to get his hands a little dirtier than he's used to.

He's going to earn in a year what some of his businesses earn in hours — he's going to take a pay cut to the tune of four or five zeroes. He's not going to be able to run his businesses. His assets are going to be caught up in a blind trust.

All that's going to be tough for a control freak.

What the next four years look like

Differently than you think.

That wall? Homeland Security says a wall is basically useless. We've had a border fence for five years. People go over it, under it and around it.

Built with Mexicans' money? They say they'd get that money by intercepting money sent back to Mexico by workers. That means they're going to be opening mail. If there's cash in an envelope, it might just go to the wall (or some other project). Do grandmothers still put $3 in Valentine's Day cards for four-year-olds? Yeah, that's all going to the wall now. Because the federal government will be opening our mail.

Trump says he's going to force Apple to build iPhones in the US? He's not. First, because he's not going to move his own manufacturing to the US (his hats, shirts, suits and ties are made overseas), but also because Apple's not going to pay the millions it would take to create the fabricating equipment, and you'll probably balk at whatever the iPhone costs after manufacturing costs go up $100, or about a third.

A lot of the campaign promises Trump made (let's make this clear — most presidents fail at most of their campaign promises) are big government promises. Dictating where companies make products. Checking mail for cash. Getting the federal government involved in local law enforcement. He's now at the top of the small-government party. The legislature is not going to go for most of that.

What you can do as a Trump supporter

Have some empathy and don't be an asshole. No, really. Your "team" won. There are people who are actually scared for their lives, their livelihoods and their liberty. These people are your neighbors, your coworkers and your customers. Some of them are people you hire for jobs you don't want to do. You don't have to agree with them. But you have to live them.

This isn't football. You don't get a good ribbing in this week and then get back together next week for pizza, beer and the game again.

The future of third parties, and other US election issues

If you were hoping for Clinton to win, don't blame her loss on third-party voters. Most Gary Johnson supporters were not going to vote for Clinton. He was a Republican governor and had a Republican governor as his running mate. Jill Stein wasn't even on the ballot in most states.

It's not up to voters to vote for people they don't want to win. It's up to candidates to rally passion in voters.

I've begrudgingly voted for people before, but never as strongly as I did when I voted for Clinton yesterday. She was never the right candidate for me, and I still didn't know when I walked into the room whether I was going to click that box for her.

We're going to see more third-party candidates coming out of the woodwork if we keep seeing first-wave baby boomers running as major-party candidates. They're just out of touch with most of us.

Polling is going to change. We can't keep relying on people answering landlines or hanging up cell phones as an information collection method.

We need to get big money out of politics. We say it every election cycle, but until we have an election cycle that allows people to run without requiring many millions of dollars, we're going to keep having rich, entitled people with little actual empathy (despite what their ads show) running for president.

Finally, we need to put term limits on the House and Senate. Make it 10 or 12 years in the House and 12 years in the Senate — that way if you're awesome, you're serving under at least two presidents. But career politicians who get rubber-stamped into office need to get out of the way and let fresh blood help move the country forward.

The back-and-forth we have right now isn't working. We're behind in education, in manufacturing and in social issues (seriously, stop pointing at the Bible and saying being gay is wrong if you've spoken back to your parents since you were 13 or can't name a price to sell your daughter into slavery).

We need ways to get fresh brains into office, and term limits and curbing campaign spending would go a long way.

What you can do because you're scared after the election

Organize. Love. Hell, organize love.

Yes, Trump will be your president, too. If you feel like he's not going to do a good job, you can run away or you can work toward making things better. Do the latter. If you run off to Canada or Australia or wherever you have dual citizenship, consider whether your patriotism is fairweather and maybe consider staying there when someone you like better is elected.

Revolutions aren't built by majorities. They're built by a passionate 10 percent. Get a couple of revolutions together, and you have a coalition. Pretty soon you have a plurality. Good for you. That's what you need.

Build great stuff in your neighborhood, in your city and your state. Share it. It will grow.

Finally, don't bury your head and disappear. This election (and any other) isn't about you. It's about us. Americans. We were built on collaboration and peaceful transfer of power. Our system was built to survive its government. Buck. The fuck. Up. Do something great. Do it from love, not from fear.

I posted this at 2:30 a.m., right about the time AP and CNN called the election:

Here are a few things that I learned tonight:
- We are bitter winners
- We are bitter losers
- We are full of anger
- We are full of hate
- We are full of love
- We are full of fear
- We really don't understand one another as much as we thought we did
- We have a lot less empathy as a whole than we thought we did
- We have a de facto system that is broken in a lot of ways

Here are a few things things I'll be thinking about going forward:

- Revolutions aren't built on majorities, they're built on a dedicated 10%
- No one is entitled to the presidency. We need to stop treating the office as though party elites get to dictate who "should" wind up in the chair
- As a Jewish journalist, I'll spend a lot of time looking over my shoulder. I don't trust a lot of people right now.
- We need to get money out of politics. Until that happens, elections are out of the hands of the majority.

I really wish we could hear from George Carlin this election season.

Waking up Wednesday morning, these were my first thoughts:

Some things you can do to move forward:

(1) importantly, remember it's still OUR America and no one tells US how to live
(2) there are some groups of people who might seem Truly Fucked, but there are organizations that help almost all of them. Volunteer. Donate. Don't leave your friends, neighbors and loved ones stranded.
(3) be physically and mentally strong. You may get less help than you hope for. That doesn't mean you're helpless.
(4) love.

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One Comment

  1. Well said Josh!
    After all, until God Himself rules in the White House/Parlament what can one person do by themselves.
    They also say history repeats itself.

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