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jducoeur
*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.

*Sigh*.

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?
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I would always rather see a higher voter turnout, because it means that the result (even if abhorrent) is more likely to be representative of people's opinions. It's much worse if one suspects that all the like-minded people didn't bother.

What I really wish for is a more informed electorate. I've been wishing this for all my adult life, so this is nothing new with 2016. Civics classes, for a start.

Little room for civics classes unless they get added to the standardized tests along with math and writing.

And... it looks like the voter turnout is *down* from 2012.

According to:
http://www.electproject.org/2016g
Total Ballots Counted (Estimate) 128,843,000
Voting-Eligible Population (VEP) 231,556,622
VEP Total Ballots Counted 55.6%

http://www.electproject.org/2012g
Total Ballots Counted 130,292,355
Voting-Eligible Population (VEP) 222,474,111
VEP Total Ballots Counted 58.6%

Thanks. Looks like my first source was horribly wrong -- I have no explanation for that.

I'm not good at math, but according to this article, there were well over 200 million US voters--REGISTERED to vote. As it points out, when Bill Clinton won, there weren't 200 million who were even eligible to vote.
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/38290-us-voter-registration-is-highest-in-history-but-what-about-turnout

Yet the total ballots counted (true, an estimate) is 128,843,000

So while turnout and registration were better than usual, there were still MORE non-voters than voters for either candidate. What would results have been if the other 75 million had voted?

Comey managed to tick off just about everyone, either for saying the things he said (knowing that at the late hour even a lack of proof would be used as proof) , or for saying them at the time he did (breaking long established norms and politicizing a job that has ten year appointments specifically to avoid being politicized).

I'm actively concerned about our economy now. Between the misguided tax plan, the anti-free trade stance, the potential to undo any progress on healthcare costs, and the added volatility to the markets of an unpredictable leader I do think we're going to have a rough go of it for a few more years.

I'm also concerned about transparency and free speech. Not just his outright egregences like threatening to sue just to silence people, or fueling the invalidation of the journalism field. He also has many pro-media and pro-industry ties that are going to shape the FCC and FTC, and attempts at copyright and patent reform. His cavalier attitude about power giving him the right to do whatever he wants, his refusal to release tax returns or a credible medical report make me thing he'll exceed the worst vices of the recent administrations in paying lip service to transparency while obscuring ever greater amounts of information.

I'm actively concerned about our economy now.

Yeah, there's widespread agreement on that -- the markets have more or less tanked this morning, because everybody's worried. Especially if he goes starting trade wars, we're almost certain to tip back into recession. I *hope* he's too lazy and disorganized to do anything quickly on that front, but we'll see.

And totally agreed on transparency and free speech, especially given the likelihood that he'll have the Republican Congress sufficiently cowed / co-opted to let him get away with murder even when they disagree with him...

Hillary Clinton, like me, many of the people reading this, and many Democrats, is a problem-solver, an engineer at heart. Which means she gets down in the weeds with the pros and cons of all the possible solutions to problems, and sometimes forgets to poke her head up with a clear, simple story. ("Clear and simple" doesn't necessarily mean "misleading", just leaving out some of the details and caveats.) The Republicans, at least since Reagan, have done a much better job of telling that "clear, simple story" and connecting with voters on an emotional level.

Some of yesterday's election was about racism, sexism, xenophobia, and "Mad Men" nostalgia. I don't want to connect with that; the Republicans can keep them and I hope they're very happy together. But there were a couple of more legitimate concerns:

1) the despair of working-class Americans at the prospect of ever getting ahead, or even feeling secure in what they've got.

2) the resentment by non-coastal, non-highly-educated, religious people of educated secular urbanites viewing them as "superstitious rednecks from flyover country".

#1 should be a natural Democratic message, as witness Bernie's surprising success. Compare the actual effects of Republican policies in recent decades on working-class people, with the actual effects on those same people of such Democratic initiatives as Medicare, Obamacare, minimum wage laws, and OSHA.

#2 is trickier. It doesn't take a graduate degree to know when you're being condescended to. Democrats will never connect with the Trump-voter demographic until we can sincerely respect and empathize with people without much education, people with deep religious belief, people who live where it's a half-hour drive to buy a carton of milk, people who seldom meet anyone of a different race or religion.

Yep -- I've been thinking a lot of the same, and have a half-formed blog post particularly on the topic of "clear and simple". I quite agree that that was of the starkest and most important differences in this election...

Yup. Until somebody takes the people in #2 seriously, treating them as people and not demons, and not assuming that we have The Truth and they just need to listen to us (for any value of outsider "us"), we're not going to get anywhere. We need to understand their perspective, understand what keeps them up at night, and care about that.

Sure, some of them are racists, part of the rape culture, and otherwise unacceptable. I really don't think it's most of them.

Bingo. We need to really understand that the "deplorables" are a minority of the Trump voters, and the rest are reasonable people who we can and should win over. But we're only going to manage that with some bloody *humility*...

I actually would prefer him to nominate another Scalia over another Roberts. I don't have time to write details now but I can expand this later. This difference might only matter to Court wonks like me.

I do not expect Trump to start a war; what I expect is Putin to start a war and Trump to do nothing, or worse. I think the people in the most actual physical danger right now are something of a toss-up between people of color in America and any person living in a country that borders Russia (Baltic States, anyone?).

And now I have time to expand on this. The difference between a Scalia and a Roberts has to do with their fundamental philosophies and approaches to being a SCOTUS justice.

Take as given that I tend almost all the time to disagree with the conclusions that both men reached. I don't see a huge difference there.

Scalia saw his role as digging at fundamentals. He valued scholarship and though I think he was deeply wrong in his originalism at least he was willing to put together an argumentation framework for it. Occasionally I found his framework persuasive - he changed my mind on how to read the Second Amendment.

Roberts famously in his confirmation hearing saw the role of Justice as being like the umpire who calls balls and strikes. I just think that's terribly wrong. The role of a SCOTUS justice is not to tell us whether the ball is above or below the knee, but to figure out what that rule means - does it mean the top of the knee, the middle, or the bottom? What if the umpire can't see the player's knee at the moment the ball comes across the plate? I thought Roberts' ruling on the ACA was terrible - it was a tax because he said so.

You could argue with Scalia's reasoning (as I said, I often thought he was full of it) but it was an argument for reasoning. With Roberts you're often reduced to "yes it is" vs "no it isn't" which I find much less productive.

Hmm. I can see your point, although I'll have to mull over how much I agree. For the record, I not only agreed with Roberts' argument on the ACA, I'd been making the same one for several months before he came out with it...

I actually would prefer him to nominate another Scalia over another Roberts. I don't have time to write details now but I can expand this later. This difference might only matter to Court wonks like me.

I do not expect Trump to start a war; what I expect is Putin to start a war and Trump to do nothing, or worse. I think the people in the most actual physical danger right now are something of a toss-up between people of color in America and any person living in a country that borders Russia (Baltic States, anyone?).

I would expect Putin to push increasingly blatantly into Ukraine, first. Having calibrated Trump's response there, Putin will decide whether he can invade Estonia unchallenged to score the big prize, breaking NATO.


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