Friday, November 11, 2016

It's the End of the World!!.... Or is it?

Ok… deep breath.

I have been struggling for the past couple of days since the election, to process what just happened. Donald Trump is President Elect of the United States. I am sure some you have had Trump supporting friends/acquaintances gleefully telling you how we all have to come together and support the new President.

When I point out to these people how when in 2008, we asked the same of them, what we got was an eight year long torrent of racism , obstructionism, blatant disrespect and outright hate;  When presented with that little historical fact, some of these people have actually replied; “So what? You always said you were better than us, here is your chance to prove it!”

Seriously? Shut the hell up. You own this. The next four years are all yours.

You got your wish. It looks as if You elected the least intelligent, least self aware, most emotionally unstable person in the country as our next President. Oh… and all you disgruntled Bernie Sanders voters who flocked to Jill Stein in a fit of pique, thus handing Florida to Donald Trump, You are just as much a part of this as anyone whooping in joy, wearing a (made in china) “Make America Great Again” cap.

It has created fear and, here in London as well as around the world  there is mass uncertainty  as to whether or not America can be trusted as rational sane and dependable  international partner.

Or....  Just like with the  all the election polls,  are we all making another totally wrong prediction?

Now this is going to sound really weird…. But hear me out. There is another possibility here. Remote, but interestingly enough, one that hard core Trumpers are not going be happy with. It is entirely possible that Donald Trump, the great con man, just played us all.

There is a school of thought that says , the President Elect honestly never thought he would win. Now faced with the mind numbing responsibility of being the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump may well be having a serious “Oh Shit!! What do I do now??” moment.

His meeting yesterday with President Obama was originally scheduled to last less than half an hour, and ended up running more than an hour and a half. Afterwards the President Elect even said he would be calling upon President Obama for advice and counsel, even after he assumes the Presidency. Gone is all talk of the infamous “Muslim Ban” (as of this posting all reference to it had been scrubbed from the Trump Campaign website). Gone also is any mention of “locking up” Hillary Clinton.

Which creates an interesting fork the road we as a nation have just started down. If there is one thing you can say about Donald Trump it is, he is always thinking about his “Brand”. It is foremost in his mind. How he can expand it, how he can protect it. Never before have we had a President who is so motivated by not just public opinion about him, but public perception of him. 

During the campaign, Trump would drop everything to respond to even the smallest perceived slight or criticism of him on Social Media. On January 20th he is assuming dead center of the biggest target for public criticism there is, the American Presidency.

The voters who made Donald Trump the Republican Nominee are not the voters who won him the Presidency. The GOP base expects Trump to deliver on all the nutty stuff he promised during the Primaries and tried (unsuccessfully for the most part) to pivot away from during the General Election. The Voters who have put Trump in the White House, were not voting for Trump, they were voting against pretty much… well, everything.

The overwhelming majority of Americans support a women’s right to make her own reproductive choices, they support marriage equality and they want some form of Universal Health Care , and comprehensive immigration reform. If President Trump takes the path of trying to turn back rights for women, LGBT Americans and people of color, it is safe to say he will be most disliked, and openly and publicly criticized President in American history. Something which (to put it mildly) he would have a very, very VERY hard time dealing with.

So it’s not crazy to think President Trump could just… pivot again. Acting as if all that crazy stuff he promised the right wing nuttosphere never actually happened. During the campaign he did it all the time, with problematic things he said, or positions he held in the past.

It could well be, that Donald Trump knows that right now, Democrats would love nothing more than for him to give them reasons to treat him, the same way his Party treated President Obama for the last eight years. Progressive activist groups like the ACLU have already said they are geared up to file endless lawsuits against the new administration should Trump try to follow through on precisely the far right proposals that the GOP base who made him the nominee, are counting on him to deliver for them.

All those gleeful facebook posters saying “all those liberals are going to get it now, just you wait and see!”; May soon find themselves even more angry with Donald Trump, if it turns out the he isn’t willing to write his own political and cultural obituary by delivering on their thirst for insanity, and instead quickly “pivots away” from all those things the majority of Americans want nothing to do with.

A famous saying goes; “We campaign in poetry, but govern in prose”. It will be interesting to see if Donald Trump governs answering first and foremost to the constituency he has represented his whole life; Himself.   Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and their assorted interests and backers may find that President Trump isn’t willing to go along with them , if it means his “ratings” (i.e. approval numbers) would take a hit.

An optimistic scenario I know. Highly improbable, but hardly impossible. Barack Obama aptly said that the Presidency doesn’t change who you are, it magnifies who you are. Donald Trump’s life has always been about what is best for Donald Trump.   Oddly enough that character flaw, may well turn out be America’s best hope for surviving the next four years.

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