Despite garnering almost two million more votes than Donald Trump nationwide, Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential race. Like so many of my fellow Democrats, as well as many Independents and rogue Republicans, I’ve been feeling down and on edge since Election Day, unsure of the political realities we are about to face. Yet, I’m sure that nothing I feel can compare to the sheer terror that is being felt by millions of Hispanics, Muslim-Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, undocumented immigrants and people with differences. How frightening for them that so many whites in this country voted for a candidate who views them with such disregard.
Swastikas, racial slurs and personal threats have appeared on public buildings, schools, religious institutions and dorm room doors. And vicious word-slinging has escalated to include videotaped accounts of violent confrontations. In response, thousands of people across this country are marching, shutting down highways, burning effigies and shouted angry slogans, protesting the election of a fascist demagogue as president and the unraveling of common decency.
Does a scenario exist in which a Trump presidency succeeds? So far, there are no advanced plans for anything—just threats and proposed barriers to personal freedoms. Other than tax cuts for the wealthy, mass deportations, the obliteration of Roe vs. Wade and Obamacare, the building of the wall, and a major increase in military spending, there is no positive or coherent Trump strategy.
Immigration reform, job creation, healthcare, infrastructure improvements - don’t hold your breath. There will be cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and the attempted privatization of Social Security. How will Republicans replace Obamacare? They won’t! And, equal rights for women? Women will lose significantly more than they gain. But most frightening will be appointments to the Supreme Court, shaping the tenets of our Constitution for generations to come.
Most disgruntled white Americans, full of sanctimonious indignation, “took back” a country they felt they owned and feared losing. Who knew that tens of millions of white men and white married women felt so challenged by minorities and threatened by strong women? Who knew that tens of millions of white Americans felt such deep resentment that they would eagerly forfeit civility to welcome a lying manipulator, capable of propelling them back into political power, no matter the cost?
Trump turned out white men and white married women in record numbers, arming his most ardent followers with an assuredness that ignorance and intimidation of others was a sign of patriotism and strength. And this base of voters—stirred on by his foul-mouthed statements—did not have a single target. They hated black people; they hated women; they hated immigrants; they hated Muslims; they hated Jews; they hated gay people; they hated Hispanic people, and they hated the disabled. And if you were white and any of those things, they hated you, too.
We are already beginning to see that in the Trump administration white men will be securely in charge. His entire transition team and practically every name offered for a potential cabinet or government post is a white man. They will be governing to take America back from multiculturalism. Enter Steve Bannon as Trump’s chief advisor—the toxic alt-right ideologue endorsed by white supremacists, American Nazis and the KKK.
Look, Republicans have already been disrespecting the democratic process for decades. They’ve treated Democratic presidents as illegitimate; tried to close down the government; refused to vote on or confirm appointments, and prevented popularly elected Democrats from effecting policy.
Well, Republicans are about to own it all. One party will now dominate almost everything in American governance. Come January, Republicans will control the White House, both chambers of Congress, the tilt of the Supreme Court, more state legislative chambers than any time in history, and more governors’ offices since the 1920s. Mass changes to leadership, already underway, will effectually place political hacks in strategic positions, undoing years of legislation meant to ensure a more equitable America and to fight the impending disasters of climate change.
All too likely, the world will be less safe; millions of Americans will be stranded without health insurance; harsh laws against immigrants will be carried out; good jobs will continue to disappear overseas; our infrastructure will continue to crumble; and nothing—yes, nothing—will be done to improve the plight of the working man and woman.
Trump campaigned on the slogan “Make America Great Again,” a phrase in which “great” was widely perceived as “white.” His election is a victory for white nativist Americans, especially men. Trump threaded racist and xenophobic messages and the mockery of women and the disabled throughout his campaign. With his early appointments, it appears he is now giving license to others to do the same. Our moral values as a nation are in danger of seriously eroding over the next four years, threatening a generation of our youth, and robbing the world of the moral compass the United States was once considered.