Thoughts on the Election

Devastated. Still processing what this means. Here are a jumble of thoughts, some quite raw. I hope you continue sharing yours.

-To all those who will be attacked and marginalized by this election, my heart breaks for you. Please remember that half the country tried to protect you. We are still here.

-The civil rights movement broke through when the privileged and oppressed sacrificed together, enabled leaders like MLK and LBJ, and applied pressure from radical groups like the Black Panthers. We may need these again.

-In now the last eight presidential races, from Bush I vs. Dukakis to Trump vs. Clinton, the more charismatic candidate won regardless of experience or competence. Trump was more disliked but inspired more enthusiasm and that made the difference.

-I hope some of our officials, on the down low, are double-checking that no significant voting fraud occurred. My guess is the polls were indeed just way off, but given the multiple state actor attacks on our infrastructure and the importance of this election, double-checking is warranted.

-Hillary Clinton won the popular vote despite blatant voter suppression. If we had a true democracy, she would be President.

The electoral college has now screwed the Democratic candidate twice in the last five elections. Constitutionally eliminating it is likely impossible given approval from 2/3 of Congress and 3/4 of states is needed.

However, eliminating it is possible by passing the National Popular Vote bill in a couple more states. This should get more attention.

-Republicans should not interpret their win as a mandate. It is, at best, a guarded and temporary willingness to work together.

I support some of the agenda that Trump has announced, such as lowering corporate taxes, reducing FDA regulation, encouraging charter schools, and steering some government programs toward privatization. I do believe some well-intended progressive policies have hamstrung innovation and choice.

However, I deeply disbelieve Trump’s ability to execute these policies well. Conservatives must remember how Bush II ran on fiscal conservatism, then started an unnecessary $2 trillion war and doubled the national debt.

-Further, if Republicans try to undo marriage equality, abortion rights, global alliances, and sensible environmental protections, as I unfortunately expect, the 48 Democratic senators must find their spines, channel Bernie, and filibuster until the Senate floor feels like home.

I hate gridlock but I believe Republicans are more responsible for breaking the norms of bipartisanship. It’s fair for Democrats to use the obstructionist Republican playbook until leaders from both sides agree to restore functional norms, preferably into law. Democrats should not be Ned Stark; they should be Tyrion.

-To Trump supporters, especially those I know and care about: I still care about you. Some of you are in real pain and I didn’t see how much. I am genuinely sorry.

Some real talk: the closeness of this election was enough to trigger change. This didn’t need to be taken over the deep end.

Please suspend disbelief for a moment. Watch the basket of deplorables video, listen to how Clinton talks about the pain of the disillusioned, and read about her thirty years of service helping others. She has flaws and made mistakes but she would have fought for you.

Then read Trump’s history of lies, lawsuits, bankruptcies, threats, and overall cruel behavior. Please explain to me why you believe he is willing and able to help you more. Especially explain how he would help fellow Americans who are not like you.

When I think about the gap between what could have been and what will be, I feel despair.

-But that gap has passed so here we are, sharing a turbulent ship. We are facing climate change, global terrorism, massive job automation, and yet out of fear and anger, you took a flare gun to our hull and blasted a gaping hole. You have our attention now, but it’s going to take a while to forgive how you got it and even longer to repair the damage, if we can.

-Another tragedy is that the damage may be subtle at first. Cancer and rot don’t alert us on four year schedules. If nuclear weapons proliferate, ISIS rebuilds its ranks, or global warming tips, the alert may take ten years but shock us in scale. Long cycles make it too easy to misattribute cause and effect, especially willingly, and may doom us to repeat mistakes we don’t have time to make.

-This election result – no election result – can sanction cruelty. Look at the abuse being reported on Twitter. We must seek to understand each other but mutual respect and human rights are non-negotiable table stakes, full stop.

Without them, the abused will feel, like Trump voters, that they have nothing left to lose. The result could tear the country apart.

-Many will use their voices to prevent that. Personally, I am passionate about exploring exit, as Balaji has outlined. California seccession is a pipe dream given 3/4 of states would need to approve, but we should be experimenting with new cities, countries, and systems of governance.

There are only 196 countries for 7.1 billion people. Surely we can create a few more to form a market of governments, apply competitive pressure, and better align citizens by values. As we increasingly see, diversity of values can only stretch so far. I think exit activity will now accelerate.

-Finally, venting is important but it must be channeled into action. A separate post will be about options I see.

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