I could have written this post a week ago but there was enough stuff coming out then that all I would have been doing was contributing to the noise. Better to wait a while and see what transpired and it did not disappoint.
Trump won, Clinton lost, now what?
"Now what" depends on where you stand in all of this.
If your someone who favored Clinton then you have most likely had one of the three responses.
The first is shock and resignation as exemplified by the response of Pablo on Kiwipolitico. The person supposed to win did not and the victory of good over evil did not take place. As he notes at the end of his post he is going to have "a cup of tea and a lie down".
He does note at the start how most of the commentators and pundits got it wrong but fails to go into any in depth analysis of it but Will Rahn of CBS news summed it up well in a rather short piece about why their "unbearable smugness" blinded them to the reality which was always there but their blinkers, ideological and perceptual, prevented them from seeing the reality that was preparing to walk into oval office.
This level of thought represents the second of the responses that liberals have had, a basic questioning or soul searching about what happened and a tacit admission that they got it wrong. unfortunately I don't think many in the media are going to admit that and the continuing stream of negative Trump articles continues to show that they probably never will. Once you get locked into a reality tunnel (liberal or conservative or whatever) its very hard to break out of it.
The third stream of thought is represented by Michael Moore's post the day after the election where he sounded a wake up call of sorts but phased in in the rhetoric of "well, after eight years of the Right bashing Obama now its our turn to bash Trump" which is in effect is hoisting the partisan flag even higher and simply widening the gap even further.
This kind of response is to continue the good ol liberal fight no matter what and simply ignore how the failings of the Left lead to the very defeat they are now pissing and moaning about. Moore's response sounds like the bluster of a sore looser given that six months before he accurately predicted Trumps win and clearly and articulately set out why in this very well thought out article.
So to read his response the day after I suddenly realized exactly how smug the Left and the Right had been in their denunciation not of Trump per se but the political reality that is sweeping the world. Establishment politics is failing and wherever possible the populace are electing spoiler candidates or any candidate who stands in opposition to the prevailing political orthodoxy.
In such a climate Trump was going to win and lo and behold he did. Yes the last minute sneak attack by the FBI helped but in the final countdown Clinton was rejected wholeheartedly by many states she assumed she would win easily and by people who she assumed that she could simply sell the same old message to because if you cant win against a person like Trump then only one of two things has happened.
One is that you are simply not such a great candidate yourself, which Clinton was, she never really had the support she needed and the fact that she was pure establishment through and through did nothing to help her brand against Trumps outsider attack. Further her own moral failings, despite a continued stream of press attempting to minimize or mitigate them, were such that she simply did not have the high ground that she needed to take the crown.
And while some have said she lost the election and won the popular vote, so what? Clinton knew the rules of the US political system when she went into it and never showed the slightest inclination to ever change them or even protest them. Also had she won and jilted Trump supporters said the same the response would have simply been "we played by the rules and won fair and square".
And its noted that the response from Clinton post election has almost been zero. Its almost like she never existed and has been put back into the cryogenic freezer to wait till 2020. My guess is the shock of the loss and the sheer cost of the battle (both emotionally and physically) would have put her into a deep funk from which she might never recover because unlike Dubya Bush in 2000 there will be no second coming for the Clinton Dynasty although if rumors are believed to be true then Chelsie Clinton is being groomed to run for office and one day achieve what her mother did not.
My feeling is that the Clinton political line is dead and as the US empire now goes from decline to fall the pretenders to the throne will be less and less legitimate heirs from the ruling elite and more and more outsiders who have the means to take the throne, like Trump.
Because on the other side of the line Trump should not be hailed as a victory by the Right, at least not the establishment Right.
Oh no, no one is going to believe that Trump will forgive and forget those who went against him or that his roles for the top slots in the company are going to go to a lot of old time Republicans with WASP backgrounds and the right accents.
Trump's victory should be seen as that of a revolution against the old order, a struggle to break the power of the Republican elites (by another section of the elite) which has been achieved and now that the reigns of power have been loosened from their claw like grasp they may never get them back.
Trump did this by appealing to disaffected and marginalized voters in a what can only be described as a "unique" strategy of directly appealing to their needs (jobs, jobs and more jobs which was part of the hidden subtext to "make America great again") while behaving in a manner which enhanced his anti-PC outsider status (think casual sexism and racism ect).
Sure there might be a few allowances into Trump's cabinet but the very definite split in the Republicans between those who opposed him and those who sucked up to him is clear and monsters like Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie and a host of others are going to be running the US from now on in and while there might be a few conciliatory nods to the old guard there is absolutely nothing in Trumps history or background to indicate that he will abide by their rules or systems.
The reality is that even if Trump does bring jobs back to the US he is not a democratic populist nor a believer in democracy. Trump is not a rags to riches fairy story (more riches to even more riches) nor is he a some sort of great white hope come to save the US from whatever ails it.
What Trump is is the next logical step in the process called 'decline of empire' as the system becomes so weak and broken that those outside the ruling class can attempt to seize control and there is little the ruling class can do to stop it as they are already weak and fractured by their own infighting.
The only person who might have been able to fight Trump at his own game was Bernie Sanders (who may run in 2020) and the Democrats made sure he never got to the ballot box by actively conspiring against him in their backing of Clinton and thereby not only crippling the democrats but also robbing them of a genuine chance to tap into all that voter anger which Trump subsequently took for himself.
Because as much fun as it was to demonize Trump supporters as "rednecks" and racists and purely white males there were a lot of women, blacks and Latinos who also tapped into the vibe of FukYoo politics and cast their ballot for Trump.
So now what for the US?
The reality is probably ugly as it gets as Trump lets all sorts of fugly people into the system and the few remaining restraints and shackles on power are loosened even further. This in itself is nothing new as the US political system is already compromised in such a fashion but Trump is likely to take it to its logical (and ultimate) conclusion (a truly corporate state) or even bend things back to the way they were (think oil being actively promoted and alternate fuels being openly criticized).
Personally I am waiting to see if Trump will obviously deny climate change as POTUS and take measures against it rather than just make empty promises that he does not intend to keep (like Obama).
But if there is a core theme here it is that the US was in decline no matter what, Clinton would have been the friendly face of that process while Trump is the mask removed to reveal the beast that has always been leering beneath.
In short, empires fail and the US is a failing empire. Focusing on the perceived pros and cons of a candidate is like focusing on one tree when the whole forest is on fire. The naive hope of Clinton as savior or fears of Trump as destroyer were overblown response of a system unable to cure itself.
At it's core these hope and fears were built around the increasingly weak norms of the US being dominant in a post cold war world.
Norms such as US hegemony and military might are now exposed more than ever before and while scary to some there is also some hope in the breakdown of structures that are 50 plus years old and predicated on one nation and system dominating the rest of the world.
Out of the chaos of the failure of the US as sole superpower there may in fact be a better future, it just requires being willing to give up the old norms for the new ones, to accept that all things must come to an end sooner or later.
Of course there will be "structural adjustments" but that's a topic for another post**.
*-The title of this post is a take on the Frank Zappa song Honey, don't you want a man like me?
**-Like Part II of Plumbing the Depths (when I get around to it)