I can’t believe I am writing that Trump is legitimately our president-elect. But, here we are. At the doorsteps of history, not to celebrate some monumental achievement which will lift our country up for generations. Rather, a head-scratching turn of events where we the people believe that an openly racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, fear-mongering businessman is a better option than a career politician. In route to that destination we’ve watched as much of the political discourse has been reduced to a headache inducing polarized pissing match – where “mud-slinging” has been replaced with knife fighting.
Post election we have seen a lot of finger pointing as political analyst and the democratic party try to come to terms with the election results. In major cities across the country we’ve seen people protest the election results and proclaim that Trump is not their president. Consequently, these protesters have been quickly characterized as soar losers who only want to undermine the democratic process and destroy neighborhoods.
There are so many moving parts to this election I am not even going to attempt to analyse all of them in one single post. So for now, here are my gut reaction, unedited takeaways.
Minorities Drank the Trump Kool-aid
According to exit poll data 29% of Latino and Asian voters cast their ballots for Trump. In fact, 8% of black voters cast their ballot for Trump as well. Trump was able to secure a larger number of minority votes than a more traditional Republican like Mit Romney did in 2012. Despite the plethora of reason not to, such as when Trump got sued by the Department of Justice because him and his father refused to rent their apartments to minorities. According to the DOJ investigation, Trump had his employees write a “C” on their application – where C stands for colored. But despite history and facts, none of this matters to these people.
This idea that it does not matter who we vote for, and that life in America will be virtually the same under both candidates might possibly be the most frustrating lie of all. We’ve seen this argument manifest itself in pre and post election data when measuring voter apathy. Somewhere along the way minority voters drank the Trump kool-aid and accepted his false narrative that Obama, and thereby Clinton, has done nothing for them.
One of the main reasons I hate when Black folks make this argument is that it completely ignores the indirect benefits of the Obama era. Consequently, these are the same things that have people currently marching in the streets – because they are scared of what America will look like under Trump’s stewardship. Let’s be clear, I am not talking about policy here. I am talking about what Trump represents. I am talking about how White Nationalist now feel like they have a mandate to go out in public and intimidate, defame and assault minority groups. I am talking about the minority students who are being told by their peers that Trump will deport them. Would white nationalist still feel this bold if Hillary won? Absolutely not.
I get it though, the argument is that currently Blacks are going through it anyway. Even under Obama we still have to deal with the day-to-day slights. As a black man I am certainly not immune to the day-to-day bullshit. So like I said, I get it, I understand, I go through it too. But everything isn’t so black and white. It is not a matter of one man or one woman unilaterally stopping crazy white people from intimidating and chastising minorities. It is about creating and cultivating an environment in which the collective will of the American people advance a societal norm of inclusion. Say what you will about Obama’s policies, but we cannot ignore that part of the Obama legacy is that he is infinitely more open and accepting of other cultures, religions, sexual orientations and lifestyles than any president we have ever had. Obama, intentionally or unintentionally, inspires people to be more accepting of people who do not look like them. Trump on the other hand, inspires people to believe the flagrantly racist idea that anyone who is not white was made by God more angry, lazy and violent. Big difference.
All of the Polls Were Wrong
Literally, all of them. The narrative coming into the election was that educated republican white woman were going to break from Trump. According to pollsters Trumps pathway to victory looked so unlikely that he would need to flip states which they were certain would be blue. You even had some pollsters who were so sure of themselves, like FiveThirtyEight, they literally devoted podcast to evaluating other pollsters work for accuracy and reliability. Really FiveThirtyEight, you guys are the arbiters of what constitutes sound scientific polling and even your models royally missed the boat. For example, in Wisconsin FiveThirtyEight told us Hillary had a 83.5% chance of winning the state. She lost by over 100,000 votes or 1%. They thought North Carolina would be close, they showed Clinton with a 55% chance of winning and Trump with a 44% chance. In reality, Clinton lost by 4%.
Time to face the music pollsters, ya’ll were an unmitigated disasters. Don’t try to front and act like you were “less wrong then the other guy” because no one is trying to hear that. All of you, wrote story after story about how Clinton was likely going to win and many of you were beginning to question Trumps ground game and strategy. Just admit you were wrong and apologize to the American people. Yet, people like FiveThirtyEight got on the airwaves the day after the election talking about how they were not as wrong as everyone else. You were still wrong, by a lot! Not to mention, we saw Nate Silver and company on national television with that dumbfounded look on their faces. I will never forget the look on Nate Silver’s face when they had him try to explain, in real time, how Trump could be doing so well. He looked like he just got done watching an episode of American Horror Story with Lincoln Chafee’s hairstylist. Seriously, if you don’t have enough backbone to admit you were wrong just sit down and shut up. At this point, Hillary’s trustworthiness rating should be higher than pollsters.
Racism, More Than Meets the Eye
Nope, this isn’t a promotion for a new Michael Bay movie. This romantic fantasy about how Obama ushered in a post-racial America, where people don’t see color is a nauseating joke. For many black folks living in America the only thing new about the “alt-right” is the name. Alt-right’s character of blacks and people of color is one that we must navigate on a daily basis, to dispel the sweeping stereotypes about how “all black people” act. In many instances, we dress a certain way or use a particular vocabulary to make other people more comfortable with our blackness. Because, you know, being ourselves is not socially acceptable.
America has not resolved its original sin. American history has proven time and again that a significant number of people do not want to live in a diverse America where men can marry other men, and woman are paid the same as men. They want the old America back, where Jim Crow discrimination was acceptable under the disguise of safety and security. Remember after the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision, they had to send in the National Guard to get people to comply with integration. Folks didn’t just roll over willingly and I’d argue that to this day some people didn’t roll over at all. If you follow housing trends, they just moved out of the neighborhood so they didn’t have to be around people of color. Which sounds frighteningly similar to what Trump was attempting to do prior to getting sued by the Department of Justice. I feel terrible for my LGBT friends who have to spend the next 4 years listening to a guy like Mike Pence, who believes we should use taxpayer dollars for “conversion therapy” to try to “rehabilitate” gays and lesbians.
Scholars, like Dr. Michael Eric Dyson and others, have been saying for years that racism in American hasn’t gone away, it has only changed forms. They’ve written book after book going through the timeline of social, economic and legislative events that contribute to the systematic oppression of blacks and the most vulnerable members of our society. I think now more than ever we should start listening to guys like Dr. Dyson who say that a Trump presidency should “raise the fight in you.”
Bump Politics, the Whole Thing is a Scam
Finally, speaking to the “I didn’t vote” crowd. There is no moral high ground for you to stand on. If you are looking for a pat on the back for sticking your middle finger up to American democracy you aren’t going to get it here. If anything I think we should congratulate you on voting for Trump, because effectively that is what you did by staying home. Sure, you could make the argument that none of the candidates were what you wanted and that you didn’t want to choose the lesser of two evils. Unfortunately for those making that argument, that is how things have gone forever so I suspect you are going to sit out of every election. No candidate in the history of politics in the United States or anywhere else perfectly matches, issue by issue, with voters. It is time to wake up and face the reality that you can’t have it your way on every single issue. Eventually you are going to have to compromise on certain things. That whole compromising aspect is exactly what has been missing in Congress and sitting at home perpetuating the problem doesn’t make it better.
Alternatively, you can continue to drink the Trump kool-aid and claim that you are choosing between a criminal or a racist. Even though facts, logic and the FBI have proven Hillary is not a criminal – as it pertains to her emails. Continue to walk blindly into Trump’s reality TV version of America, while kicking your feet like a petulant child and complaining about the two party system. That is the true American way, bury your head in the sand and act like nothing is happening. Or better yet, continue to educate us through your Facebook statuses and comment section post, which read more like a mix between a Dr. Huxtable babble and Gary Johnson explaining Aleppo.
Conclusion: Don’t Hold Your Breath
For me, there is plenty of blame to go around for the results of this election. In addition, it would be easy for me to suggest that under Trump’s leadership America will fall apart both socially and economically. I’d even argue that there is some evidence for that type of doomsday scenario. But frankly, America has made its bed and for the next 4 years we are forced to live with the results. That doesn’t mean we should sit back and wait and see how things go. Trump is 70 years old and in my mind there is a zero percent chance that he will blossom into a person wholly different than who we’ve known him to be for the last 50 years. So don’t hold your breath. Unfortunately, the current identity crisis we are going through is a necessary step in becoming the country we ultimately would like to be. Which side of history will you be on?