I was wrong.
I never thought the country would vote for a candidate who called Mexicans rapists, bragged about grabbing women's genitals, mocked the disabled, for years supported the birther fraud, had no policies he could explain in any coherent fashion, is narcissistic and probably clinically ill at some level, and is not at all prepared to be President.
We are in big trouble.
For proof, see second paragraph.
The argument from Trump's supporters is that he is not the racist, sexist, inarticulate charlatan I think he is. The problem with that argument is that the evidence for these realities comes from Trump's own mouth and behavior. Earnest supporters of the Donald nevertheless assert the contrary, saying the problem with people like me is that I take Trump "literally but not seriously" while they take him "seriously but not literally."
Now all of Trump is reduced to a metaphor.
Still, however, I am perplexed.
Because . . .
I cannot, for the life of me, conjure in my mind the metaphorical meaning of "grab[bing]" women "by the pussy."
The pundits are having a field day. All of them are doing apologetic cartwheels as they fess up to missing the possibility that His Hairness could actually win. As with all things "punditry," however, these should be taken with an large grain of salt. Clinton won the popular vote and lost all the states she was predicted to win -- Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan (perhaps; the final vote is not yet in), and Wisconsin -- by small margins. She even lost some states she was predicted to lose -- Arizona, Georgia, Texas -- by smaller margins than would normally have been the case had past been prologue. The pundit notion that Hillary was thus a uniquely flawed candidate is a bit over the top.
So is the notion that Bernie . . . or Elizabeth Warren . . . or Joe Biden . . .
Would have won.
All would have been painted as out of touch and unacceptable in the 24/7 negative campaign that was Trump's.
To be painfully honest, going negative is what Trump does best. Always has been. He learned it at the feet of Roy Cohn, Joe McCarthy's doppelganger in the 1950s who made lying with a straight face a habit until Donald Trump turned it into an art form.
So Bernie would have been painted as a Communist, Warren as an unvarnished Harvard professor who never created a job in her life, and Biden as . . . well . . . Biden -- an over-the-top. loose-lipped, forever politician (remember, Biden was elected to the Senate when he was 29 and has literally been a politician for more or less his entire adult life).
And, oh, by the way, lunch-bucket Joe also lives in a mansion in Wilmington, so the Scranton working-class-roots thing would have been a bit too much as well.
None of this would have been fair. Bernie is not a Communist; Warren is a courageous and informed policy wonk whose programs, especially those involving oversight of Wall Street, would actually work; and Biden is authentic.
But none of that would have mattered to our President-elect, the Tweeter-in-Chief.
Where to from here?
Though -- in light of my track record this year -- I shouldn't, I will venture some predictions.
The first is that all those white, working class voters in the rust belt are about to be very disappointed.
Bernie had a program for them. It involved something on the order of an FDR-like New Deal where government spending created jobs in places from which they have fled, and big-ticket expenses like health care and education were paid for publicly.
That's not what Trump will do because that is not what the institutional party he now controls will deliver for him.
They will cut taxes, eliminate Obamacare, repeal Dodd-Frank, and tell you the free market will take care of the rest.
But they will be wrong.
We have seen this movie once before.
Health savings accounts cannot fund medical care for poor people who have no paychecks or for the shrinking and struggling middle class living paycheck-to-paycheck. Wall Street unregulated is Wall Street run amok, at the end of which one is delivered into a financial meltdown tantamount to a depression. And tax cuts from Washington do not create jobs in Flint. They didn't during the last Administration in which the GOP controlled the House, Senate and Presidency, and they won't in this one either.
Now, auto-industry bail outs, like the one Obama created at the beginning of his Presidency when Chrysler, Ford and GM were on their heels and about to die, do create jobs in Flint.
But Trump and his fellow-travelers were against that legislation and presumably still are.
The second is that the trade deals that exist won't be repealed and the one on offer (TPP) may still pass.
The fact of the matter is that free trade significantly increases our nation's wealth. The problem with free trade is that the wealth created is very unevenly distributed. Were, however, free trade to end, the economic pie would shrink, dramatically, and the GOP Trump now runs won't give him the votes to do that. Instead, the new administration will tinker at the edges, bringing more claims under the deals to try to stop currency manipulation or dumping. In other words, on free trade, the Trump administration will pretty much do what would have been done in . . . a Hillary Administration.
The third is that there are now a host of national security experts who are very afraid.
This I know for a fact, from sources I cannot disclose.
Trump is dangerously uninformed and misinformed on issues of national security and needs to be set straight fast. Putin is not an ally. The middle east will not move forward if American troops are used to try to create the peaceful order only the people living there can create. Water-boarding didn't stop acts of terrorism in the past, won't do so in the future, and is a crime.
The good news is that Trump spent 90 minutes with Obama yesterday, a meeting that no doubt amounted in large part to a polite tutorial on the subject of national security. The other good news is that all the "Never Trump" DC policy mavens who swore they would not help him are now coming back because they think they have a patriotic duty to stop a potential train wreck. The bad news is that the President-elect is that wreck.
The fourth is that the Supreme Court is lost to the right-wing if Trump gets to pick three Justices and actually appoints the people he says he will.
All of them -- and I mean "all" -- will overturn Roe v. Wade (and the right to gay marriage, if they get a chance), and radically shrink the federal government's ability to pass regulatory legislation founded on the Constitution's commerce clause. A friend yesterday predicted that this latter reality means an end to the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.
That remains to be seen.
But it is worth noting that the kind of federal role right-wing jurists envision is basically the role the federal government had in the 19th century. That role is pre-gay rights, pre-abortion rights, pre-civil rights and pre-New Deal.
Or -- to put it bluntly -- a world you and I . . .
Will not recognize.
Trump's supporters will say that my parade of horribles either will not be that horrible or will not happen. They'll assert that Trump is a pragmatist, a businessman, a fellow used to getting things done.
That, however, is not what I see at first pass.
What I see is a guy totally enamored of himself with a penchant for holding grudges and skewering rivals by whatever means, foul or fair, will work. To that mind-set is married a character loyal only to those who never waver in their support.
His core advisers consist of his kids, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, the three GOP amigos (Rudy, Christie and Newt), and (maybe) Mike Pence. I am not convinced any of them can tell him "No" and make it stick, and of the pols in the room, all are destroyers, not builders. Rudy and Christie come at destruction from the vantage point of prosecutors with sharp elbows and pols who shut down bridges, Pence from the vantage point of a right-wing talk radio industry (where his political career began) that demeans much more than it informs, and Newt from his early days in the House where he used the politics of personal destruction to end the Democratic Party's control of that body. In these advisers, Trump has found soul-mates.
For some, Hillary Clinton didn't lost the election last Tuesday. She lost it in 1787 when guys in wigs created an anomalous (and anti-democratic) institution called the Electoral College that in two of the last five Presidential elections has awarded the office to the popular vote loser. The country is seriously and significantly divided. Anti-Trump street protests having already erupted in dozens of cities. There are enormous questions concerning the President-elect's temperament, competence and good faith. His "victory" is hardly a mandate.
A humble administration in these circumstances would govern non-aggressively, strive mightily for bi-partisanship, and delete the twitter account.
Unfortunately, these folks are not that humble.
I was wrong about this election once before.
I hope I am wrong again.