If you’re like millions of other Americans, you’re stunned by the election results and you’re worried about a Donald Trump presidency — and that includes many of Trump’s supporters. Political analysts will be dissecting the carcass of this election for years, trying to explain all the factors that led to this incredible upset. In the meantime, here are just a few thoughts on the election results, and Trump’s looming presidency.
Trump Has History of Progressive and Liberal Views
Democrats can take heart in the fact that Trump has voiced support for many progressive ideals through the years; many people forget he was a registered Democrat until a few years ago. Long before he announced his run for president, he expressed his admiration for President Barack Obama, Clinton and Nancy Pelosei. In 2004, he told CNN that, “It just seems that the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans.” So Trump will likely be more moderate than many Republicans will like, and less conservative than many Democrats fear.
Did Black Lives Matter, National Anthem Protests Hurt Clinton?
Heading into the final weeks of the campaign, the group Black Lives Matter became increasingly vocal in protesting police shootings of black men. In the most visible incident, a protest in Charlotte erupted into violence that evoked images of the riots in the late 1960s. Republican Richard Nixon won the presidency in 1968 running on the theme of “law and order.” Trump vowed to “Make America safe again.” No coincidence there. Along those same lines, many Americans were angry about those national anthem protests inspired by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Democrats generally embraced the protests, but Trump and Republicans saw it as disrespect for veterans, police officers and the flag.
There’s no way this issue alone swung the election to Trump; but it undoubtedly influenced many voters. As Julian Garcia of the New York Daily News presciently wrote in early September, “Not that he could have foreseen such an unintended nightmare, but I wish Kaepernick could have waited until after the presidential election takes place on Nov. 8 to protest such a hot-button topic in such a controversial way …”
Trump Can Help Heal Country by ‘Pardoning’ Clinton
Trump promised during a presidential debate that he’d request a special prosecutor to further investigate Clinton’s email scandal, telling her, “you’d be in jail.” That vow certainly excited his base supporters who regularly chanted “Lock her up,” but it scared many people, including conservatives. Those are the kind of threats and actions you see in a banana republic.
Yes, polls showed roughly 60 percent of Americans thought Clinton should have been indicted after the FBI’s first investigation. But any attempt by a Trump administration to further investigate Clinton’s emails or the Clinton Foundation’s activities will only further divide the country. President Gerald Ford drew the wrath of Americans for pardoning Richard Nixon for his involvement in Watergate, but he spared the country what might have turned into a debacle. Trump should do the same by declining to pursue any action against Clinton.
Welcome Mr. President: A Recession is Looming
The U.S. is overdue for a recession. The average length of time between recessions in the post-World War II era is a little over five years. The current economic expansion began in June 2009, more than seven years ago. It’s the fourth-longest expansion dating to 1854. A Wall Street Journal survey last month found economists believe there is a 60 percent chance a recession will happen in the next four years; there’s a 20 percent chance it will happen within the next year. Fair or not, Trump will be left shouldering the blame. It will be interesting to see if he tries to prime the economy with a stimulus package, the bane of many conservatives.
This is a Bad Time For Pollsters
The national pollsters who almost universally predicted a Clinton win today look like the quarterback who fumbled the ball away to lose the Super Bowl. Even the widely respected website FiveThirtyEight.com had given Clinton a 71.4 percent chance of victory. One poll, the USC/L.A. Times Daybreak poll, had been widely ridiculed for months because it showed Trump with a consistent lead. Pollsters and political scientists will closely study the polling from this election to find better ways to forecast elections.
Trump Needs to Stay Away From Twitter
This needs no explanation. Trump looked extremely petty and juvenile when he ranted on Twitter in the middle of the night about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado. We shudder to think about a President Trump doing this sort of thing at 3 a.m.
In the End, Clinton Ultimately Bears Blame For Loss
Many Democrats are almost apoplectic trying to explain why Clinton lost. Some blame FBI Director James Comey for reopening the agency’s investigation into Clinton’s emails. Others claim she was a victim of bad luck in many ways (for example, all the bad news about Obamacare surfacing in recent weeks). In the end, Clinton can only blame herself for the self-inflicted email scandal, the Clinton Foundation revelations, and other issues that dogged her. Facing a man who for months had been deemed the most unlikable presidential candidate in history, Clinton somehow managed to fare as bad or even worse with voters. An ABC/Washington Post poll in late October put Trump’s unfavorable rating at 58 percent; the same polling a few days earlier put Clinton’s unfavorable mark at 60 percent.
Americans Trust Trump to Fix the Economy … But Wait
President Obama has touted the steady economic growth under his administration, but too many Americans still feel left behind. A CNN exit poll found almost two-thirds of voters rated the economy as “poor/not so good.” Those voters went for Trump by a 2-1 margin.
Yet Trump has already promised a no-win scenario, vowing in essence to bring back the high-paying industrial and blue-collar jobs that have disappeared in the past few decades. Those days are gone forever. But based on the way Trump emphasized trade agreements and economic growth, his presidency will be defined in large part by his efforts to improve the economy. If he fails, the political tide will certainly turn in the 2018 and 2020 elections.