President Elect Donald Trump is using Twitter to reassure all Americans that good things are in store for them. "This will prove to be a great time in the lives of ALL Americans. We will unite and we will win, win, win," he wrote Saturday. But it will take actions not tweets to begin to address the anxiety most Americans feel about Trump as president.
Hillary Clinton received the most votes in last Tuesday's presidential election, a higher percentage than Richard Nixon received in 1968, and Bill Clinton in 1992. But in the country where democracy was founded, getting the most votes does not mean victory. Trump was able to carry enough states to win the delegate count. He was helped by a depressed voter turnout, which always helps Republicans. Last Tuesday 57 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots, compared to 58.6 percent in 2012, and 61.6 percent in 2008.
The depressed turnout may have been due to several key factors. FBI director James Comey sent a letter to members of Congress in October advising them that he was looking into Emails on former Congressman Anthony Weiner's laptop that may be pertinent to the Clinton investigation. Republicans seized on the ambiguous statement as if it was an indictment. Then two days before the election Comey advised members of Congress that the investigation found nothing after going through the additional Emails.
This last minute reminder of Clinton's email problems could have helped depress turnout on election day, especially considering the fact that early voting was up over 2012. Clinton has mishandled her use of a private Email server, which Comey called reckless, and she played into perceptions that she cannot be trusted. It is worth noting that Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani told Fox News viewers something big was going to happen that would affect the election two days before Comey's first letter to Congress. Giuliani, a former United States Attorney from New York, later said that he never talked to anyone in the FBI about the matter. He now is the leading candidate to be U.S. Attorney General under Trump.
Prices for Obamacare increased substantially in some key states, including Arizona, just weeks before the election. The sticker shock eclipsed the good deeds the ACA is doing for millions of previously uninsured Americans. Obamacare has been the target of Republicans, and Trump has promised to repeal and replace it.
Hillary Clinton is not a great campaigner; she is no Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. While she put together a strong campaign team and a powerful ground game, Trump leveraged free media and kept driving the campaign conversation through his extensive use of Twitter. Trump is a good entertainer and a well-known personality, while Clinton is a long time member of the political establishment.
A number of states have added stricter voter identification standards, and have reduced polling places and the hours that they would be open. These changes discouraged the elderly, students and African Americans from voting. Republicans had made much of voter fraud in enacting these measures, even though there were only 31 cases of in-person voting fraud out of 1 billion votes since 2000 in all elections, national and local.
National polls before the election showed Clinton ahead in many key state races, even after the latest Comey kerfuffle. Perhaps the Clinton campaign was too overconfident. But many of those who were polled may have misled pollsters about their intention to support Trump. On the other hand, most of the media failed to grasp the magnitude of Trump's support in sections of the country, especially rural. These supporters were not fair weather fans; rather they were devoted Trump loyalists.
President-elect Trump has been focusing on policy briefings, phone conversations with world leaders, and on deciding whom he will appoint to his cabinet. In order to win the presidency he overcame many controversial statements and actions that would have sunk any other candidate. He insulted his opponents in the harshest terms. He spoke and allegedly acted in a sexually offensive manner with several women, and he was even caught on videotape speaking in an inappropriate way. He called Mexican rapists and drug dealers, he threatened to ban Muslims from entering the country, he said women who have abortions should be punished, and he demeaned war heroes and veterans. Throughout the campaign he displayed ignorance on many key issues, national and foreign, and he lied early and often about himself, at times denying that he had said something earlier in the same interview. In short, he often acted like a schoolyard bully, and conducted himself foolishly.
The news media has been bashed by Clinton supporters for not challenging Trump earlier in his campaign. Trump received the equivalent of $2 billion in free airtime on cable and network news channels leading up to his election. Now the media should continue to pursue Trump's income tax returns that he alleges are under audit by the IRS. Further, new organizations should investigate how America's First Lady to be, Melania Trump, entered the United States. She was supposed to have a press conference last summer to show proof she did not enter the U.S. illegally. Further, the media ought to investigate the truth behind Trump's shoddy business practices and his many conflicts of interest with foreigners and governments he has borrowed money from to maintain his empire. His generous use of the EB-5 program, where foreigners who invest in U.S. capital investments, like real estate, are granted U.S. visas, would be a good place to examine.
The Electoral College will cast its vote for President-elect Trump in December, and he will be sworn into office in January. He will then be president, but many Americans are having trouble accepting that fact.
Trump's rocky and unpredictable path to success calls to mind a quote written in 1926 by H.L. Mencken. "As democracy is perfected, the office of the president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people," he wrote. "On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."