Well, as I wrote all along on the innumerable occasions when the media declared the race over (see my archive link below), this presidential election will be over when it is over. Now it is over, and the preposterous but ever potent Donald Trump is President-elect of the United States.
Frankly, had Trump not been so dysfunctional as a candidate -- a week spent nastily arguing with an ex-Miss Universe, really??!! -- his election would have been much easier. No matter what the astoundingly clueless media said. That's because, as I wrote repeatedly, there is a huge right-wing vote in America aggregated by the new media culture and effectively consolidated and activated by Trump. And there is a smaller but nonetheless real swing constituency that liked Barack Obama but was disappointed by the results and could not buy into the Clinton legacy of economic uncertainty for them and endless scandal.
As I feared, there was a "Brexit" factor with the polling, as the mainstream media campaigned so assiduously against Trump as to make Trump support seem to some to be socially unacceptable. Well, till now, that is. And as feared, the vaunted "Obama coalition" again proved to be something regularly accessible only to the president himself, who, as I've pointed out repeatedly, has presided over a historic contraction of elected Democratic strength in Congress and state houses to pre-FDR levels. The so-called "Blue Wall" in the electoral college? Well, more like a picket fence that might have been but was not adequately defended, due largely to Hillary Clinton's weakness on trade policy. The only real wall in American politics for Democrats is the Sierra Nevada.
Hillary carried the Pacific Coast, most resoundingly here in California with a blowout 61 percent to 33 percent margin over Trump.
As a result of the incredible margin in California -- 2.5 million votes and growing over the next few weeks to come as vast numbers of late arriving ballots are counted -- Hillary will win the national popular vote. Which means that Donald J. Trump will join George W. Bush and Rutherford B. Hayes, not an illustrious duo, as a president who won the electoral college but lost the national popular vote. The Donald still has some winning over to do here in the rebounding Golden State, grown to be the world's fifth largest economy and global beacon of the fight against climate change that Trump has claimed is a Chinese hoax.
So what is to come?
Will we get the prospective President Trump who represents that ascendant aggressive know-nothing approach of Trumpism which I began warning about more than a year ago?
Will we get Il Duce Donald, the neo-fascist bully boy I began warning about early this year?
Will we get the opportunistic yet sometimes engaging egomaniac/megalomaniac who doesn't quite know what he is about, as he has seemed, essentially, throughout? That's a guy who, reports indicate, hangs with rock stars and is very knowingly in on the joke.
Will we get the showman semi-progressive who backed my candidate, then Democratic presidential frontrunner Gary Hart, perhaps the most intellectually prepared outstanding president America never got?
We don't know.
Although Trump gave an encouraging victory speech in the middle of the night -- complete with a nice unacknowledged lift from Lincoln's Second Inaugural about binding the wounds of division (and this does feel like a moment redolent of the Civil War) -- I am not sanguine. Certainly not yet.
For as intriguing as Trump has sometimes seemed -- as noted repeatedly, he has been right somewhat more often than the proverbial stopped clock and I did, after all, repeatedly urge Arnold Schwarzenegger to run for Governor of California -- Trump has been bad not only on all the issues everyone talks about but also very bad on what I consider the baseline issues for any progress in our present chaotic world situation and toxic political and media cultures.
Even had Clinton won, I have felt that the best we can achieve is preserving the habitability of the planet and promoting inquiry and exploration in advance of a better historical period.
The problem is that Trump, aside from likely averting an unnecessary new cold war with Russia (a good thing though he will need to draw a firm line with Vladimir Putin, most obviously in the Pacific), has been antithetical in both areas. Trump is a climate change denier who wants to further cook the planet by returning to the coal-fired energy policy of a century ago. And of course he is determinedly anti-intellectual in his core appeal, boasting that he never reads books and doesn't need to consult others because he already gets everything, somehow.
Yet we are where we are.
So over the weekend I told former Governor Schwarzenegger, who has proved repeatedly to be every bit the champion on climate and renewable energy he told me he would be back in 2001, that he needs to be ready to help persuade Trump to continue on the right path. Schwarzenegger announced he would not vote for Trump but did not join in the Hollywood group shriek against Trump. Even more to the point, Schwarzenegger is Trump's replacement as host of NBC's 'The Apprentice.'
Let's recall again that Trump is the loser of the national popular vote because of California, a global beacon of the climate and renewables movement again under Governor Jerry Brown, who won two big state initiative fights of his own and helped Hillary win Colorado, all without getting overly nasty about Trump.
There's plenty more, of course, and plenty of time to get to it.
Which, not least of all, includes the question of the Clintons, whose legacy has much to do with the election result. Not just the seamy revelations from Wikileaks and Russian intelligence (and I think there's good reason to believe there is much more, not that it is needed now), but the time bomb impact of Bill Clinton's deregulations and megacorporation friendly trade policies.
As election night unfolded, an old Clinton hand emailed rather early on to say it was over because the Rust Belt was lost. That is about NAFTA, as well as the future threat of the Trans Pacific Partnership, and as my primary choice Bernie Sanders first pointed out, the deleterious effects of NAFTA are Bill Clinton's legacy.
Then there was the conduct of this Clinton campaign. From the beginning, when she tried on and quickly abandoned the great and eminently adaptable mantle of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hillary never had a sense of mission that went beyond herself.
And in the end, her campaign was all about how awful Trump was. Where was the uplift, the positive vision of America as it could and should be?
Ironically, the candidate who ended up talking more like that was Donald Trump. Our unsurprisingly surprising victor.
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