By Paolo Federico-O’Murchu, The Miami Student
Every day I pored over FiveThirtyEight, Politico and The New York Times, trying to discern the power of the “shy Trump voter.” But yet again, I underestimated Trump and his supporters. I consider myself a generally logical and moderate thinker and therefore I always understood that Clinton could lose. There were enough indicators that the incumbent party could lose to the party with the congressional majority. After all, history is not kind to 12 straight years of single-party rule during times of peace in America. Should McCain, Romney, Kasich or Rubio have won, I would not have felt anything near this trepidation (not even Cruz, though I definitely would’ve been consternated).
Despite the fact that I thought a Republican could win, I have never been able to fathom Donald J. Trump winning. It’s cognitive dissonance on my part, which I think is shared by many of the liberal elite/media (for example, Huffington Post had an irrational 99 percent chance of Clinton winning this, having Florida up by 6 points for her).
Trump is an amalgam of everything that I dislike in humanity, let alone presidential candidates. I perceive him to be proudly anti-intellectual with a startling lack of self-perception that any president, let alone an inexperienced one, needs.
But that is not a constructive way of thinking anymore. It was just my justification for voting for Clinton, independent of whatever Comey would potentially come up with.
For instance, a few weeks ago my roommate (a frustratingly very smart Trump supporter), asked me what would have to be in the emails for me not to vote for Clinton. I struggled for an answer, so convinced was I that Trump was worse in every way. In this way, I am just as blindly loyal as anyone else.
There is a two-fold fear and disappointment in my emotional dolor. The first is the image of our country. I view myself as an equal member of the international community, very much opposed the nationalistic views of Trump. I am ashamed of how other countries now view us. Even Brexit didn’t have the immediate and obvious ignorance of a Trump presidency. While I am not so pretentious as to believe that the rest of the world views the Oval Office as a bastion of pure democracy, I do think that other countries view the American presidency as loosely indicative of the general path of the world. When I travel to Luxembourg next semester, I am squeamish at having to answer questions about a man I abhor (as I did this summer in Ireland, where I assured all of a Clinton presidency).
The above, though, is borderline irrational and not that important. I suppose I was naive to view the president as someone who was supposedly greater than the common denominator of Americans, naiveté likely brought on by my great respect for Obama. The above is what my social media is covered with: poorly spaced soliloquies decrying him as a misogynist, rapist, racist, etc. They attack him as a man and drape policies around this archetype to fit their description of him.
I don’t think that matters much though for America. Once you tear away the curtain and see that the president is just a man, and in this case one who reflects his voting populace like almost none before, the question is whether he can lead or not. I do not equivocate my shame at the infidelities of JFK, FDR and Bill Clinton with how I view their policies. Rather, I judge them as a president based on their legislative performance and hold their marital actions against how I view them as men.
So the puzzle to analyze is: how will a demagogue backed by party majority but not entirely by ideology change America? That is the question that kept me up election night. There is an interesting dynamic with a Congress that does not entirely support their own president. Assuming they work together fairly well, I worry about the fate of three main institutions.
The first and likely most immediate revision to America will be the reversal of Obamacare. I am no Obama apologist and realize that the rising prices may soon become untenable. However, Trump cannot operate in the unequivocal words he campaigned in.
Bill Clinton once said, “You campaign in poetry, and govern in prose.”
Donald Trump campaigned in infomercials, but he must govern in documentaries. Therefore, it is not feasible to un-insure over twenty million Americans. Rather, amending it to increase choice and competition between state lines would preserve a healthier America and Republican agenda.
I lean farthest left on social issues, and I am concerned about the future of these momentous progressions. Interestingly, I believe Trump is apathetic towards these concerns, as he has never struck me as either religious or intent on the sanctity of marriage. However, his Vice President and the judges he wants to install are. Fortunately however, should the remaining judges remain in good health, it is unlikely the fairly moderate court would reverse its decision. However the other judge’s are aging, and no matter how much Ruth Bader Ginsburg gripes, the Senate’s choice to not consider Judge Garland has paid off.
Foreign policy is at the forefront of the most important issues facing our country. I don’t fear Trump’s ideas of nuclear proliferation; I believe that there are enough institutions in place to stop that. But I am concerned with America backing out of our treaties and how vulnerable that will leave us and allied countries (especially Western European ones under our protection).
On the other hand, I find the likelihood of war pretty similar between the two candidates. My greatest fear is just that I don’t have the impression he has any idea about the world nor a desire to learn. If someone like Duterte were to insult him, I find him too thin skinned maturely ignore it.
On the other hand, I am not as concerned about immigration or the economy, though I doubt he will improve either. The wall as he planned it is impossible, the terrain being too difficult and the land privately owned. I personally don’t have a strong opinion of him reinforcing the high activity areas which is likely what will happen. I am fairly torn on immigration in general. There seems to be a loose correlation with increased immigration and a stronger economy (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-18/u-s-immigration-now-means-big-economic-payoff-later); however that may come at the expense of low income workers. Regardless, the rate of immigration has steadied. Millions are not pouring over the borders, and a large percentage of illegal immigrants simply outstay their visa, which a wall will not prevent. Furthermore, Trump has slowly moderated his stance on immigration of Muslims into America, though I doubt we will see many more refugees.
As for the economy, his projected cabinet has experience in that area. I do disagree with his tax cuts but the president has limited control anyway and I am confident that Paul Ryan will not allow the deficit to substantially increase, which Trump is calling for. His trade war would be ludicrous, but again his voting bloc would be the most hurt by the rapidly increasing prices which would hopefully rein in his tariffs.
There are many more potential issues with a Trump presidency that, as a straight white male, I will not be hurt by as much as minorities in America. That being said, the calls to coalesce have never been more hollow or impossible.
At this point, one must try to understand. Growing up in New Jersey, as the son of an immigrant journalist, my perspective is wildly different from the “townies” just outside Miami pledging to “Make America Great Again.” It is this lack of understanding that shocked me so much when Trump won, and kept me tossing in bed in the following hours. Therefore, I, as I hope many of others will do as well, will try to understand and feel compassion for those unlike me.