Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur


*Sigh*. I was sure this was possible, and was thinking for the past two weeks that it was starting to feel likely, but was really hoping otherwise. I went to bed when they called NC and FL for Trump -- at that point, the writing was on the wall.

(The little cynical voice in the back of my head points out that the problem with effective "Everyone Should Vote!" campaigns is that the people you disagree with may also be listening. One thing this election proved is that it *is* possible to get peoples' butts off the couch, but that means *everyone's* butts.)

Trying to stave off existential angst this morning, so indulging the analytical side of my brain instead, with some initial still-waking-up reactions.

Not many silver linings here, save that the Republicans now have nowhere to hide: we can and should make sure that they get blamed for the consequences of their actions in the coming years. That will likely make *some* of them a bit more responsible, now that they have to actually govern instead of just playing political games, although certainly not all of them.

As for Trump, it's sad that I now have to put my faith in how much of an undisciplined, unprincipled liar he has proven himself to be historically: odds are decent that he will just quietly ignore some of his more heinous campaign lines. In particular, the "lock her up" bullshit is offensive to the core principles of democracy, and even he has been back-pedaling the "wall" nonsense.

Similarly, one can *hope* that the Narcissist in Chief is mostly going to be driven by what is popular -- his lack of any actual principles may well make him one of the great panderers of political history. The result would be likely to be scarily majoritarian, but I suspect he will be *some* check on the worst excesses of the right wing, at least in areas where the public is clearly opposed. But there's little chance of him making many things *better*, and he seems likely to retreat into Nixonian bitterness when things go wrong.

I take some comfort living in relatively sensible Boston, nestled deep in blue country. I think the odds are against *actually* seeing jackbooted thugs anywhere (although, seriously, "odds are against" is a depressingly weak statement), but they're less likely here. But my heart goes out to the immigrant communities -- more than perhaps anyone, they've woken up to a truly bad day.

The most immediate and stark damage, of course, is the Supreme Court. The Republicans won with their damned holding action. I can wish for the appointment of another Roberts, but we're more likely to see another Scalia. (And let us all wish Justice Ginsberg more years of good health.)

Trump is all but certain to damage America's reputation and power abroad -- all indications are that he's going to be a gigantic fuckup in terms of foreign policy, and he may well break the back of NATO simply through inaction. Putin is having a pretty good day. (Although I've heard reports that even he is somewhat wary of Trump's sheer insane unpredictability.) The really scary part is that I would guess the chances of Trump literally ending the world are non-trivial -- by no means *likely*, but it's easy to paint scenarios where the combination of a international crisis and a bad hair day go horribly wrong for everyone.

Let's start a betting pool: how soon does Trump start a war with someone? Here I'm talking about a small, winnable war, mind -- Trump may be dumb, but I'm sure he is aware that the Wag the Dog scenario of patriotic war fervor is a fine way to boost one's popularity when things slide. And he's enough of a schoolyard bully that finding somebody small to pick on seems exactly his style.


Sadly, this story is far from over. There are some serious priorities that are becoming clear for the next few years. One, obviously, is keeping an eye on Trump, and calling him on the stupid. But just as importantly, the left side of the aisle needs to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up.

For better or worse, I think the Republican Party has just finished redefining itself, as the white nationalist party. The cultural and economic conservatives will be in denial about that for several years, but Trump has just crushed them pretty flat. (The economic conservatives especially: I expect a Trump administration to be *monumentally* irresponsible with the debt. That will probably be an economic plus in the short run, but I suspect we can count on excess from Trump.)

But the Democrats have proven themselves equally riven by this election, between the centrists and progressives. There are many stories to be written about this mess, but one of the major ones, I'm afraid, is about Clinton's inability to really engage the progressive wing of the party. If they're going to recover and be able to really bring it in two years (which, let's be clear, is going to be an uphill battle), they need cohesion at a lot of levels. I suspect that they desperately need a new generation to start taking over at the national level; the existing leadership is looking kind of tired and behind the times. I hope they can get their act together.

I'm glad that this damned election is over; I wish I could be less morose about the result. Anybody up for burning James Comey in effigy?
Tags: politics

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