When I knew …Politically Aware Thursday, November 10th, 2016
Commentary: Politically Aware
For me, it was Wisconsin. That’s when I had to accept President Trump.
I watched results at work on slate.com, and saw promising signs for Clinton across the board. High turnout in Florida was likely to carry her to victory, and Ohio and Iowa seemed more competitive than forecast.
I got home and saw Indiana and Kentucky go for Trump. No surprise there.
Ohio and Iowa were called. Florida started slipping away. It wasn’t going to be a Clinton rout, but I believed the 272 Electoral Votes in the “blue wall” would hold. Maybe 278 with Nevada.
Virginia made me nervous, and I started getting “this can’t be happening” texts. Urban centers pulled Clinton through, and I believed the same would happen in Michigan, despite her early deficit.
Then I watched Wisconsin. Clinton was behind, and CNN’s John King couldn’t find anywhere that she could make up the vote. Pennsylvania flipped to Trump’s column, despite Clinton having achieved the margins in Philadelphia that she “needed.” Not long after, the friends who had gathered to celebrate Madame President left in a haze of shock and tears. Getting up on Wednesday seemed to make it real.
It reminds me so much of 2008, when the majority of Californians took away marriage equality. Maybe worse, because President Obama was some consolation that year.
Still, there are things that give me hope.
At the moment, it does not appear that a majority of Americans elected President Trump – the Electoral College did. That doesn’t mean he is illegitimate, but it means that the majority of Americans did not support his rhetoric.
Donald Trump likes to win and wants to be popular. He said what he thought would get him elected, and it worked. Even he likely knows he can’t govern that way. He may ditch some partisan rhetoric, and push some popular legislation, to win the approval of Americans.
If he doesn’t, we have the Constitution. Written in the shadow of an overthrown monarchy, it is perhaps history’s best bulwark against tyranny. It was made stronger when it was amended to limit presidents to two terms. We have a separation of powers for a reason, and the same checks and balances that limited the change I believed in will limit the changes I don’t.
We have Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
And Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is indestructible.
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