About last night…

I had not planned to write about the US presidential election but my correspondent in Colorado is still trying to make sense of last night’s results and I am going to wait until he is able to sit up and take nourishment before asking his thoughts on the Donald Trump presidency.

Donald Trump, Las Vegas, Feb 2016

Donald Trump, Las Vegas, Feb. 2016 (Photo by gageskidmore CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

I went to bed before the fat lady sang, but I’d seen enough to be unsurprised this morning by news of Trump’s win.

Personally, I had rooted for Bernie Sanders. The necessity of finally having a woman US president notwithstanding, I was not overly enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton. I think she is part of an establishment, both Republican and Democratic, that has failed regular Americans (by which I mean, Americans who are not rich beyond the dreams of avarice; Americans who can’t find jobs or at least, not full-time, well-paid jobs; Americans who are crippled by student loan and medical debt; Americans who lost their homes in the financial crisis even as the bankers who caused the crisis were bailed out; Americans whose life expectancy in some demographics — namely, white and poor — is declining; those Americans).

I have sympathy for them and I understand that some voted for Trump because they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for a candidate who embodied the system that has failed them so resoundingly. That said, I can’t see Trump doing anything to improve their lots. (It puts me in mind of a line from the Warren Zevon song “Gorilla You’re a Desperado:”  …I’m sorry if I made you blue/I’m betting the gorilla will, too)

I also know that many who voted for Trump are racists or misogynists or garden-variety bigots. They believe Mexicans are rapists, Muslims are terrorists and President Obama is a foreigner. France’s Marine Le Pen and Britain’s Nigel Farage were among the first to congratulate Trump on his win and if Le Pen and Farage spoke highly of oxygen I’d start thinking twice about it.

I am not sanguine about the next two years. Trump has a Republican House and Senate and can make good on some of his wilder promises: building a wall along the Mexican border, cutting funding to the US Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency, slashing corporate taxes to unprecedented lows, deporting undocumented immigrants, “bomb[ing] the shit” out of ISIS.

I’ve been scrambling around anxiously this morning, looking for anything that might pass (with a push) for a silver lining to this election, and here’s what I came up with:

I’m hopeful that, out of the smoking rubble that is the remains of Clinton campaign, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party — people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — will emerge with new influence.

I’m hopeful that Sanders’ unlikely fundraising success — one $27 contribution at a time — will show the Dems a way to wean themselves off big money.

I’m hopeful the corporate media, pundits and pollsters have been smacked definitively down and what Cenk Uygur of the online progressive news network The Young Turks calls “honest and aggressive” new outlets will give them a run for their money.

And I’m hopeful those other hopes will see me through the dark days ahead — and there will be dark days, given that the president-elect of the United States has done nothing in his life to suggest he’s qualified for the job he just landed.

[Insert comforting final line here. I’ve got nothing.]