After the Fact…
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Well, this election certainly escalated quickly.
And then it exploded into a glorious, orange, blonde-haired cloud.
Donald Trump, Republican nominee and Democratic Satan, has won the presidential election, though people would have to be living under a rock to not hear that startling news. The odds were set against him going into the last week before Election Day, and some might re-imagine this as a fabulous underdog story in which the maverick rebelled against the establishment. Honestly, Trump shouldn’t have won. According Reuters, Clinton had a 90 percent chance of collecting those precious 270 electoral votes, yet she didn’t because of arrogance and incalculable human pettiness. As much as some might like the romantic notion of an underdog story, I think that Trump’s election speaks volumes about a group of American people that had, whether factually true or not, thought themselves oppressed by the current system of government.
In the 2012 election, Mitt Romney struggled to win the votes of working class whites, especially those in Michigan, Ohio, and Florida. However, in this election, Trump soared to the top because of them, claiming those same states with Michigan being the biggest surprise. All Democratic strategists on all networks were racking their brains to think of how, just how did this political and military rookie manage to beat the veteran despite a erratic temperament and a poorly run campaign, and finally some had answers. In the last eight years since Obama took office, working class whites have felt threatened by the recent domestic and foreign changes such as increasing globalization and the political growth of minority or ignored groups. In 2012, these issues were present but not at the forefront of the election, but in this election, all of these ingredients had boiled together to make something that some considered progress, others a decline. To many of these working class whites, it was the latter.
While this belief in the threat of these changes may be written off by the educated public as discriminatory, it still resonated with this group because of its strength, and Donald Trump took advantage of that with his blunt, unforgiving, and frankly outrageous style. They, like most of America, want change, but they want the nostalgia of the old America, to, as the Trump campaign aptly puts it, “Make America Great Again”. To do this, they did what every good citizen does on Election Day: vote. States had large unexpected turnouts of working class whites, and the polls showed as key states that Clinton needed swung to Trump. Ironically, some swing states had lower overall turnout this year than in 2012, and nationwide turnout was lower than in 2012. This had been a worry of the Clinton campaign, but since they reasoned that Trump would be Trump, they wrote off the concern cockily. Now look where they are. The working class whites could be considered the true underdogs of the election, but not every underdog story is encouraging and heartfelt.
As the dust settles from this ground-shaking election year, let us look at some of the issues that President-Elect Trump will face once he is sworn in. Obviously, there is the looming international shadows of Russia, China, and ISIL on the foreign policy front. Dealing with any one of these alone would require a caliber of experience that Trump does not have and intelligence that he questionably might have, and all three may prove to be impossible to effectively solve within one term. He also needs to consider the United States’ relationship with Mexico and Canada, two of our largest and closest trading partners, and destroying NAFTA would not do the U.S. economy any favors despite reassurances. On the domestic front, Trump will, of course, appoint the ninth and final judge to the Supreme Court and may even appoint more than just one judge in his four years because of death or retirement. In any case, this court will make decisions on controversial cases such as transgender rights, gun rights, and abortion. Any judge Trump picks will most likely be conservative, but let’s hope he bucks the Republican trend yet again and chooses a moderate. Increasing racial tensions will be in Trump’s future too, and it would not be a wise move to write off movements such as Black Lives Matter lest he wants worsening race relations. Speaking of worsening race relations, Trump will be in charge of making immigration policies, a fact that some of the Latino community dreads, and following through with his half-baked ideas will result in a disaster. He will also have to manage the domestic economy, and, unlike a business, a country cannot file for bankruptcy three or four times to stay afloat. All I can say is that let us hope that he hires John Kasich to be in charge of foreign and domestic policy and be too busy “making America great again” to actually have any real effect.