The nation’s future is up to all of us
The national media missed the Trump phenomenon much like the British media missed the Brexit phenomenon.
What it all proves is that wall-to-wall coverage can miss the obvious if it’s only focused on a preferred ending. Anyone who took the time to attend a rally or truly listen to the fervor of those who felt disenfranchised by eight years of liberal rule as they coalesced around Donald Trump was not surprised Tuesday.
And they came out in droves. This was, by no means, a mandate, given the near-tied popular vote. But it was the voice of all who dared speak that was heard. In West Virginia, the voter turnout stood at 57.2 percent unofficially and at 69.3 percent in Ohio. By the way, in Ohio, general election turnout for Barack Obama’s re-election was at 70.5 percent, and 69.97 percent in 2008. West Virginia was last in the nation for turnout in 2012 as both Obama and Republican Mitt Romney largely ignored the state.
What seems to be the surprising element is just how much the middle of the country, the folks whose votes are equalized against the major population centers by the Electoral College, had become fed up with the policies that focused on city centers while leaving the small-town industrial centers and farm communities lagging. It surprised the coasts and the national media to learn just how much dissent there has been as the national health care system advanced and failed in many ways to bring its promise to full fruition. Thus, it became easy for a candidate so inclined to use the historic trickery of choosing common enemies for the populace to blame for their ills and gain their votes.
And so, yes, Donald Trump won. And in the immediate post-election hours began to seem, dare we say it, presidential, amid a nation that included social media posts about his general awfulness, a host of celebrities vowing to head to Canada, street protests and fears of violent backlashes.
Fact is, the nation voted. Fact is, the system worked, again. Fact is the players involved, Trump and Clinton and Obama, all acted as they should, publicly burying rancor and saying and beginning to do the things that presidents and those who lost elections need to do.
There were those who thought the election of Ronald Reagan would mean full-scale global thermonuclear war in 1980.
We’re all still here.
Barack Obama was going to be the great uniter. Tuesday’s vote, if taken as a referendum on giving Hillary Clinton four more years to continue down Obama’s chosen path for the nation, was a repudiation of his efforts in some ways. The aftermath of the election, from friends fighting and the unsolicited commentary of social media to street protests proves there’s still a lot of uniting that has not occurred.
Americans need to wish for a president who succeeds, regardless of disagreements with policy or distaste for the person as an individual.
For, as the president goes, so goes the nation.
Trump takes office in January. The transition team he chooses will start giving clues as to his presidency. Until that all comes together, can Americans start trying to get along again after nearly two years of ever-increasing coarseness?
It remains to be seen, but the result won’t be up to Trump or Hillary or Obama.
It’s up to all of us.