Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Day After Trump Was Elected

I always try to look for paths through adversity, for reasons to take hope in difficult situations. Some times that's more difficult than others.  But there's usually something there.

Here are a few of my thoughts -

  • The racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio was voted out of office.
  • Hillary Clinton is on track to win the national popular vote.   Someday in the future, our country will do away with the Electoral College, and its disenfranchisement of people in big states, and what happened last night will be a prime reason.   (This is the fourth time in our history that a winner of the popular vote lost in the Electoral College - it happened to Samuel Tilden in 1876, Grover Cleveland in 1888, Al Gore in 2000 - via a Supreme Court decision that stopped a Florida recount - and now Hillary Clinton in 2016. All four were Democrats.)
  • We still have a Constitution.   President Trump may ignore it, but we still have a court system. with judges not appointed by Trump, and if he oversteps his bounds, we can expect this check-and-balance to work in at least some cases.   Even Republican justices sometimes do the right thing - Chief Justice Roberts supported Obamacare.
As for blame, there's more than enough to go around -
  • The polls were way off in many states.   We've known the polling is an inexact science, to say the least, ever since the Literary Digest poll predicted FDR would lose by a landslide in 1936. In the aftermath of that, and subsequent miscalls, polling methods were improved.  The same mistakes were not repeated.  New mistakes were made.  This is the way of progress.
  • The media coverage of Donald Trump was abysmally uneven, offering too little critical coverage far too late.   The prospects for improvement of media coverage are not as good as for improvement of polling, but there might be some lessons learned.
Winston Churchill is said to have said that "democracy is the least worst form of government". Whether he said it not, the observation is profound and true.   The values that so many hold dear took a beating last night. But that's the way of the democratic process.   We still have our democracy, and we need to do whatever we can to make it work.


PS - As for why Trump won, here are my McLuhanesque reflections, from back in September, at The Players Club in New York City.  I begin with answering an earlier question about why Trump's speech is protected by the First Amendment...

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