So, that’s how it’s going to be, is it? Well, okay then.
The election for #45 has come and gone, and it certainly didn’t go the way I had hoped. I’ll admit to spending a day or two in shock and despair. As with most things in life, though, there’s nothing much to be done now except pick yourself up, dust off, and get back to work. (“This too shall pass.”)
What happened, exactly? Oh, the number of electrons being used right now to analyze, blame, parse, rationalize, sob, wail, and moan… I’ve got a few thoughts on the matter (when do I not?), but I’ll try to keep it brief.
To go briefly into the blame game, I’d like to lay this one firmly at the feet of the baby boomers. Apologies to any readers from that generation; while many of you as individuals are great, you as a group sometimes seem… less so.Trump’s largest bloc of support came from the boomers–“older white males.” (To let emotion fully into the picture, and rant just a bit, I’ll opine that every time they’re given the chance–every single time–they’ve elected to screw over future generations. Mine, my kids’, my eventual grandkids’… Pollution? Peak oil? Global warming? The most recent economic collapse/depression/recession? While I normally dislike the “us-vs-them” game, these are almost all on them, the Boomers. This election was one more big, steaming pile of fuck you from the Boomers to their descendants. End rant.)
But let’s face a few simple facts: They, as a group, have been trying to screw up this particular choice for about two decades. This demographic tried to bring us Romney. And McCain before him. They succeeded, but mostly (mostly!) tripped over themselves with Bush. And they did everything they could to make hell out of Clinton’s term. But as to this election, there’s a thing: they didn’t vote in significantly larger numbers than ever before.
The best analysis I’ve seen (by the numbers) (trying to find a link, but I’ve misplaced the article…) shows a couple of things, analyzing the last three elections. First, the number of votes cast for the Republican candidate has remained more or less static, while the number of votes cast for the Democratic candidate has fluctuated wildly. Second, Democratic voter turnout this time around was abysmally low.
In all, this means that the people who were going to vote for Trump came out and did so. The people who might otherwise have voted (for a different Democratic candidate) didn’t. So while it’s comforting to put the blame on the Boomers, really, folks, it’s not them. Not completely. Yes, the DNC gypped Bernie out of the candidacy. But it’s not them, either. In the end, it’s us.
Some other thoughts: I saw lots of calls (mostly from right-wing sites/people) for the abolition of the Electoral College. They’d rather things were completely up to a direct popular vote. (I’ll have to see about doing a post on the Electoral College someday.) I’m not generally for making such a change: the reason behind setting things up that way was so that every State mattered, in proportion to its population. If it was a question of the direct popular vote, none of the candidates would hit anywhere outside the big cities. (To be fair, they hardly do so these days–but it would become much worse.) And what’s the majority demographic in the cities? Liberals/progressives/left-wingers. To say nothing of the fact that if things were up to the popular vote, according to the latest numbers I’ve seen, Hillary would have won. (Heck, Gore would have won, back in ’00. Then we’d be in a completely different place…) But the Electoral College sets things up to be fair across the states. (Note: fair. Not equal. And they’re two quite different things.)
That’s a lot of words on that topic. Picking up, dusting off, and moving on. Next question: what do I see coming of this?
Well, it’s not going to collapse civilization (probably–at least, not directly). We’ll probably see an economic depression. Possibly some wars. Things are likely to get really dicey in Eastern Europe, with Putin eyeing those former satellite states and dreaming of the glory of the Soviet Union. Pollution levels are likely to jump, as we go full-tilt back into coal and other fossil fuels. Climate change? Probably going to be irreversible (and barring the appearance of a supervolcano eruption or large meteor impact, probably ultimately what does for civilization as we know it).
I do see a point of darkest, blackest humor in all of this, though. The Republicans control the White House, the Senate, and the House. They’re certain to appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court. But that means that it’s all on them. They’ve got to govern, now–and I think they’ve forgotten how. They’ve got to run the country, and be the “adults”. Yes, it’s probably going to be painful for the rest of us. (Make no bones about it–it’s gonna suck.) But they’re likely to crash and burn, too–enacting even half of Trump’s “first 100 days plan” (link to annotated NPR version) would have unintended consequences spinning so wildly, far, and quickly, that nobody’s certain just where things would end up. And the Markets, as we know, hate uncertainty…
The biggest issue, really, is that the rest of us will be dealing with said consequences, and suffering mightily for it. But, we’ll also be here to start picking up the pieces afterwards.
I’ll be taking time off over the holidays–a little break is in order, the better to deal with the big break happening at the national level. I probably won’t post again before early January, but I’ll still be around to read and reply to comments. When I get back, I’d like to start talking about step-by-step things that can be done to increase your level of preparedness (plus I’ll have political commentary, I’m sure). (Also, to pass some time, an interesting read, related to all of the above: Rules for Surviving an Autocracy.) Stay safe, out there!