A supporter once called out, “Governor Stevenson, all thinking people are for you!” And Adlai Stevenson answered, “That’s not enough. I need a majority.”
A panoply of emotions are acceptable regarding the outcome of the 2016 election–dread, anger, sadness–but one thing that you are not allowed to feel is surprise. If you’re surprised by the election results, that means that you believed in either the fundamental decency or the fundamental intelligence of the American people. Both are in short supply.
The most revealing moment of this election was after Trump won the primary in New Hampshire . He told his “fans” (I’ll get to this later), “Elections are mean and nasty and vicious and terrible…they’re beautiful.” Trump sees beauty in viciousness and nastiness, but what was revealing wasn’t Trump’s comments, but the response of his supporters–they laughed. They laughed because they too are mean and nasty and vicious and terrible. It’s no secret that when given the choice, American voters have always chosen the anti-intellectual over the smart, qualified candidate, but this is something completely different. The 2016 presidential election was a referendum on kindness and decency and Americans are neither kind or decent. In Dick Meyer’s 2008 book Why We Hate Us: American Discontent in the New Millennium, Meyer quoted one woman who said, “I avoid as many people as possible. Why? I am tired. Tired of rude people. Tired of angry people. Tired of people who have no pride in their homes, their neighborhoods, their jobs. Tired of people who disregard how they affect others. Tired of people with no patience, no compassion, no understanding. Tired of people who have no tolerance at all.” Exactly. Politicians often kiss up to the voters by saying, “America deserves a leader as good as it’s people.” Well, on Tuesday, we got just that: a self-entitled, narcissistic, arrogant asshole who takes pride in not knowing anything.
Yes, the most qualified candidate in U.S. history lost to the least qualified candidate in U.S. history, but this is a country where forty-two percent of the citizens are creationists, where sixty percent believe that the tale of Noah’s Ark actually happened, and where sixty-four percent believe that Moses parted the Red Sea. This is a country where, when Hillary ran against Obama in 2008, a woman from South Carolina told a reporter, “I wanted to vote for Hillary, but the Bible says that a man is supposed to lead.” This is a country where Congress has an eleven percent approval rating, but 96.4 percent of Congress is re-elected. In 2013, a CBS News poll found that a vast majority of Americans support the Affordable Care Act. However, the pollsters found that when those very same respondents were asked if they support Obamacare, that very same majority said that they do not, even though the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare are the exact same thing. We can draw two conclusions from this: 1) Fox News is really good at what they do, and, 2) Americans are idiots who get the government that they deserve. “Get that baby out of here!” Trump yelled at the parent of a crying baby at one of his rallies. It’s the only thing he’s ever said that I agreed with. Like Trump, I don’t like children either, especially when they’re in inappropriate settings (like anywhere outside of their homes or schools). But unlike Trump, I’m smart enough to not run for president, because when you’re the president of the United States, you instantly become the father of 325 million special needs children. The rapist-elect thought that it was perfectly acceptable to enter the stage at the RNC by first revealing his shadow in a white screen like a WWE wrestler. This puerile stunt was one of about a thousand reasons why no one should take him seriously, but his white trash base loves their “wrasslin,” so what’s wrong with being entertaining, right? Maybe that’s why he referred to his supporters as his “fans.” Rock stars have fans. Athletes have fans. Politicians should not have fans. But isn’t having fans better than being branded as “boring” like Tim Kaine was? Guess what. Boring is good. We’re not electing the prom king. Legislation doesn’t have to be exciting. Read Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business and you will find that…oh wait. That’s right. Thirty-three percent of Americans never read another book after high school.That number actually increases to 42% among college graduates. Fifty-seven percent of new books are not read to completion. Seventy percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years. Eighty percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year. Fifty percent of adults can’t read a book written at an eighth grade level.
America deserves a Donald Trump presidency.
But despite what hoi polloi deserves, I–unfortunately–live here too, and I take no joy in knowing that Donald Trump will be our next president. The dangers to this country–and to the world–cannot possibly be understated by giving this man that type of power. For any of you who might be thinking of moving to Canada, just wait until Justin Trudeau says something derogatory about Trumplethinskin in an interview and he responds by nuking Quebec.
If there’s a slight glimmer of hope here, it’s this: there is a very good chance that Trump will not finish his presidency. First of all, there are his various legal problems. He’s going to court on November 28th for civil racketeering charges regarding his Trump University scam, and then he’s headed back to court on December 16th for raping a thirteen-year-old girl, a fact that the so-called “liberal media” has been conspicuously silent about (but please, tell us more about Hillary’s emails). In addition to these two court dates, he’s still being investigated for his mysterious ties to Russia, and for his charitable donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Putting Trump’s misprisions aside, once Trump realizes how things actually work, once he realizes that he’s not a king or a CEO who can just issue a ukase and have it be immediately obeyed, he’ll quit. Once he realizes that it’s a hard job, and his ego can’t handle the public scrutiny, he’ll run away from the oval office as if it were an IRS agent. There’s one other possibility. Susan Sarandon is an idiot, but she was correct when she said that a Trump presidency will likely be the novaturient that leads to a revolution. If you want to take the word of someone who is actually smart instead of Susan Sarandon, Chris Hedges said the same thing in his 2015 book Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt. He wrote about how, due to various socioeconomic reasons, a revolution will probably occur during the next presidency regardless of who is in the White House. If, for whatever reason, Trump doesn’t finish his term in the White House, the question now comes down to this: will we all die before he leaves? Orange Hitler and the First Slut (which happens to be a great name for a heavy metal band) move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on January 20th. The smart money in Vegas is that the apocalypse will occur around Valentine’s Day, which will surely fuck up your romantic dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack.
If Trump does leave office prematurely, we’ll be stuck with Mike Pence as president, a religious lunatic who doesn’t believe in climate change. A Pence presidency will look and feel like a George W. Bush presidency (which is hardly a meliorism) but at the very least, when some Iranians “flip the bird” to U.S.Navy men, Pence, unlike Trump, won’t start a war over a hand gesture. That’s a pretty low bar for a world leader, but it’s all that this country deserves. Like Henry Kissinger once said, “Democracy is too important to be left up to the votes of the people.”