Obviously I see the results of this election as a tragic mistake, one that we’ll be feeling for a long time. It’s hard not to see this as a victory for fear, hatred, and bigotry. The man who came to political prominence by calling into question the citizenship and legitimacy of the first black president will be the one to succeed that president. (That he may do so while actually losing the popular vote will be salt in the wound.)
There’s obviously going to be a lot of soul searching on the left, but one thing I’m pretty sure of is that the inevitable articles touting Trump as some kind of political genius and Clinton as an incompetent campaigner will be utter and contemptible bullshit. Whatever happened here was seismic and far larger than either of them.
Many people this morning are talking about the economic anxieties of the working class whites who voted for Trump. I do think there’s something to that, but I think it would be a mistake to think that those economic anxieties were the only factor.
The much more difficult issue is the strong streak of nativism and racism that exists in this group, and the overall angst about the cultural and demographic changes that are happening in the country. I’m not sure what anyone can necessarily do about that. (Not that I think anything should be done about it.) As this graph from a Pew Research article shows, the changes are happening and aren’t something amenable to being addressed by government policy, at least other than (hopefully) unthinkably draconian ones.
One thing that is glaringly obvious is that the polling industry has some serious issues. That their methodologies didn’t see any significant whiff of this coming means they’ll have to thoroughly reassess those methodologies. It’s one thing to talk about results within the margin of error, but when every poll was wrong in the same direction, something’s definitely broken.
For better or worse, the Republicans now hold all the keys to government. Whatever happens in the next couple of years, they own it. We can only hope they can find the wisdom not to run the country into the ground. I wish I could say I was optimistic, but I desperately fear that the coming years will not be good ones for the economy, science, climate change, or for anyone who isn’t white, Christian, and male (and it’s not even at all clear to me it will be good for that group).