Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Why I Hope to Vote for Donald Trump in 2020

There has possibly been no political contest in my living history that I have felt more strongly about than this one, so the result that Donald Trump has been elected as President is really devastating. These aren't quite my first thoughts on this, because I had to get up, see my kids off to school, take my youngest to a doctor's appointment ... you know, the stuff of living that actually matters, far more than this political stuff.

But the political stuff matters, too, when people's healthcare, and their family's marital status, or ability to stay in this country, or the integrity of their control over their own bodies are on the line.

At about 10:50 last night, the results were coming in were devastating, and I convinced my wife to go to sleep rather than suffer through hours of stress watching the results come in.

I woke up at 4:00 am (because my phone went crazy with a bizarre series of junkmail texts) and saw that Donald Trump had won ... and could not get back to sleep.

I have been fundamentally wrong at every stage in this election, sure that the Republicans would nominate a reasonable candidate, and then sure that the American people would reject the man they eventually chose. I clearly had too much faith in the American people to make the moral choice - yes, the moral choice - in this election. I was wrong about what America would do.

Now, I find myself in the position of hoping that I am wrong. I truly hope that I'm wrong about the character of Donald Trump, that I have misinterpreted his statements that were strategic attempts to gain support and do not represent his actual views. I hope that he will be a centrist, with conservative economic policies and a concern for individual civil liberties.

I remember reading about President Bush's first advice to Barack Obama:
Trust yourself. And know that ultimately regardless of the day-to-day news cycles and the noise that the American people need their president to succeed, regardless of political party.
We are in the position where Donald Trump, along with the Republicans, have the run of the table. And, as much as I loathe the way he has run his campaign, and indeed his whole life, and the way the Republicans have handled themselves the last 8 years, I cannot wish the government abject failure.

Americans need a government that succeeds. We need economic and tax policies that promote jobs and growth. We need a President who can deftly maneuver the various threats to our national security and national interests.

And, much as I loathe President-Elect Trump's rhetoric during the campaign, I hope he rises to the challenge. I hope that the White House brings out the very best in him, in fact that he leads in such an exemplary fashion that in four years, when he runs for re-election in 2020, it is not primarily among rural white voters that back him, but that he has broad approval among women and African-American, LGBT, urban, and Latino populations, and that he has earned that because his policies are really working, and he's proven himself to be a thoughtful man with deft leadership.

I doubt this will happen ... but I truly have never hoped to be wrong more in my life.

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