Sunday, November 13, 2016
No one truly expected this. The only ones predicting Trump would win were Trump-enthusiasts who hoped for such a result but had no logical reason to give as to why it may happen. The pollsters were as wrong as they could possibly be. And I thought it would be close, but I did not think that Trump could win. Now there are people scratching their heads and there are protesters outraged in the streets.
Fortunately, the two candidates and President Barack Obama seem to have behaved decently since November 8. In his acceptance speech, Donald Trump for perhaps the first time sounded presidential. Hillary Clinton showed a great deal of poise in her concession speech. And our President has shown nothing but grace in his public remarks concerning the upcoming transition period. If the three can continue such behavior, the transition will go smoothly and the country will have far less to fear. For Donald Trump, he will continually need to resist the temptation to be less than presidential for the next four years.
Unfortunately, many media members have not behaved with equal dignity, and this is especially true of certain writers at The New York Times. The editorial staff at the Times is known for their moderate left and left-leaning positions. Many of their columnists are now engaged in shaming of voters. In their minds, a Trump victory was entirely due to voter backlash, anger and resentment. Columnist Charles Blow went so far as to suggest America elected a bigot. While the term bigot is easy to apply and difficult to refute, one understands Blow’s concerns with Trump’s history of remarks regarding women and Hispanics. But Blow also implies that the voters welcomed Trump’s alleged bigotry when casting their votes. Yet to imply this only one day after the fact could also show that Blow is guilty of jumping to conclusions without evidence to back up with what he says. Blow does not know what is in the heart of the voter.
More comical are the examples of Thomas Friedman and Paul Krugman, two economists who found being Times columnists more lucrative than being scholars. Thomas Friedman pitifully laments that he now feels homeless in America. Since Friedman married Ann Bucksbaum, a member of one of the 100 richest families in America, I don’t think Friedman will have to worry soon about begging upon the street.
Paul Krugman is a bit poorer than Friedman, with Krugman only having around $2.5 million in the bank, but he is no less prone to hyperbole. Krugman continues even after the election to espouse the “false equivalency” argument when it comes to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. His argument is that since Trump’s lies and sins are so much more egregious than those of Hillary Clinton, the press should focus almost exclusively on Trump’s defective character. This makes total sense to anyone incapable of admitting there is another side to any argument. And there’s no question that Trump’s public behavior is more scandalous (and therefore “newsworthy) than that of Clinton. This does not make Hillary Clinton a more moral person, however. I’d like to leave questions of personal morality to God and not to Paul Krugman, but it’s Krugman who throws out absolution to those he agrees with while castigating with whom he disagrees.
With all of their wonderful righteousness and wisdom, one asks how neither Friedman nor Krugman saw the election of Trump as a possibility. I doubt either Friedman or Krugman in forming their opinions went out to the countryside to access the mood of rural voters or visit urban areas in decline like Flint, Michigan. Both of these writers are out of touch.
The one Times columnist who came closest to getting it right was, surprisingly, Maureen Dowd. She did not like either candidate, and she felt both candidates had deep flaws. Nor was she willing to go lightly on the Democratic Party for losing sight of the blue-collared voter. Despite whichever candidate she preferred, she felt the Democratic Party’s condescension towards working class individuals left many such voters feeling they had no other option but to turn Trump.
The protests on the street show the significant dissatisfaction with the outcome. These will continue for some time and, so long as the protests do not turn violent, do send a useful message. Yet protesters also need to understand a couple of things. They can chant all they want that Donald Trump is not their president, but there is no evidence that Trump won the presidency unfairly or illegally. Hard-working individuals cast their vote for Trump. No protester has the right to say that their opinion is more important than that of any of these voters. Also, if love truly “trumps” hate, as the protestors like to proclaim, they could start by demonstrating their acceptance of people who think differently from them.
If the aim of detractors of Trump is make him look bad rather than find a way to help the country, no worthwhile message is being sent. Any criticism of Trump must instead keep him on track while forcing him to behave presidentially.
I do not endorse any of the political parties in the U.S. Like many other citizens, no party completely represents my interests – and maybe it’s not possible for such a party to exist. I have a number of positions that align me with the Democratic Party, others that align me with the Republican Party, some that align me with the Libertarian Party and others that align me with no party at all. Politics, in any case, should not define any individual. Every voter will face a wrong outcome many times during their lives. That does not mean life as we know it comes to an end.
© Robert S. Miller 2016
November 13, 2016