Tina Griego has an excellent column exploring the reasons her cousin voted for Trump. It is a highly personal column which forced me to reflect on what was and what could have been accomplished that might have prevented the rise of Donald Trump, with all the risk of disaster his administration represents.
When first elected in 2008, President Obama had an overwhelming mandate to institute the change he promised in his campaign. With control of Congress, and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, he could have implemented an agenda bringing fairness and opportunity to all.
However, his desire to achieve a post-partisan consensus with a Republican Party united in outrageous opposition — bent on painting him as Hitler, Stalin, a foreign born Muslim — combined with his innate sense of moderation, led him to fall short of the expectations he had raised during the campaign.
The Great Recession of 2008 and the aftermath have raised the very real concern that the income disparity between the very wealthy and the rest of us is accelerating, and that our children will be the first to suffer a lower standard of living than that of their baby boomer parents.
Thus the frustration and squandered idealism of the past 8 years driving not only support for Bernie Sanders, but ironically Donald Trump as well, despite his many and nefarious flaws. After eight years, Obama, while personally popular and respected by voters, had become to represent the status quo. I believe a false equivalence ultimately doomed Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, through an effective portrayal of her as corrupt, but with the added flaw of also being the standard bearer for the status quo.
But for the young idealists that voted for Trump the likely outcome will be crushing disappointment as his empty promises to “fix” things are only vaguely honored and subverted into vicious policies by cynical legislators and bureaucrats that place the greatest burden on those that needed and expected most to benefit.
But so as not to end this on a sour note, I believe today’s nationwide demonstrations, led most appropriately by women, show that our spirit is not broken. Trump and his dystopian view of the world will not go unchallenged. Women’s voices will be heard across the country and likely the world.
I can’t predict the outcome, but I do believe we’ve crossed an inflection point that will radically change the world. I think it will be hard, with much sacrifice. Fasten your seatbelts because it will be a bumpy ride.