Wow, holy shit, he won.
I really did not expect this. I think I seriously need to have a bit more humility with my future political predictions. Of course, I was just following much of the media’s cues, which in turn got it so terribly wrong. Watching the election, by the time I saw the swing states were so close, with Trump leading in most, particularly with Ohio and Florida, I knew there was trouble.
I am still feeling some degree of disbelief and shock, so I wont go on too long about this, and I think most of what I have to say has already been said by now. Trump appealed, as we all know, to a largely disenfranchised demographic. His politics, his populism, speaks to people in a way the politics as usual approach just doesn’t. People, frustrated with the economic realities, people who are literally living paycheque to paycheque, for far worse, have largely been picked up by this populism. The thing is, this type of politics taps into that legit frustration, something the political Left has failed to do (except Bernie Sanders of course).
We are living in a polarized world, those of us in the Western world, those of us used to stability, economic and otherwise. The mushy middle, the centrist worldview represented by the Clintons et al, simply is not politically relevant anymore.
More than anything else I fear not Trump himself (I honestly, being a Torontonian, think his presidency may play out similarly to Rob Ford’s mayoralty in Toronto – he literally wont be able to actually do much of anything), I fear his supporters. Having an overt racist with anti-Semitic undertones ( yes, actual anti-Semitic undertones, his supporters are full of right-wing anti-Semites ), who is openly misogynist in his views is quite frightening. He only got so far with these views because of his supporters, who may not all be racist and sexist, but the movement that put him in place is full of those types, the far right, the ALT-right, which has shown itself to be a serious political movement. The kind of vindication having someone like this in power gives to these types is truly frightening and the time ahead will show more of this, I expect.
I theorize that there is a large likelihood that many of his hardcore supporters will turn (remember Scar from the Lion King and the Hyenas?). Trump, now as president elect, has already toned down his rhetoric on banning Muslims, while the wall that Mexico is to pay for is nearly physically impossible, so it is clear that his stated agenda during the initial Republican primaries is not going to happen. His supporters, some of them, will likely turn on him once this happens. We can always hope.
In the meantime, it is important, I feel to continue to do what we do, those of us on the Left, to deal with the long-term fallout. It’ll be a true test, for some us, to see how we can be allies with people who are dealing with serious hate directed their way as a long-term result of this. The hate crimes have already started in the U.S., and Canada is far from immune. It is so important to stay close to those with the same values (multiculturalism, pluralism, anti-misogyny aka feminism) and keep those values intact.
I would write more but I am still processing a lot of this. Much more to come, including more of a look at the rising fascist movements.