Two essays on the election worth your read

So far, I have come across two essays on early post-election analysis that you should read in full.

The first is from David Remnick at The New Yorker, An American Tragedy (excerpts):

TrumpFascismThe election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.

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All along, Trump seemed like a twisted caricature of every rotten reflex of the radical right. That he has prevailed, that he has won this election, is a crushing blow to the spirit; it is an event that will likely cast the country into a period of economic, political, and social uncertainty that we cannot yet imagine. That the electorate has, in its plurality, decided to live in Trump’s world of vanity, hate, arrogance, untruth, and recklessness, his disdain for democratic norms, is a fact that will lead, inevitably, to all manner of national decline and suffering.

In the coming days, commentators will attempt to normalize this event. They will try to soothe their readers and viewers with thoughts about the “innate wisdom” and “essential decency” of the American people. They will downplay the virulence of the nationalism displayed, the cruel decision to elevate a man who rides in a gold-plated airliner but who has staked his claim with the populist rhetoric of blood and soil.

* * *

The commentators, in their attempt to normalize this tragedy, will also find ways to discount the bumbling and destructive behavior of the F.B.I., the malign interference of Russian intelligence, the free pass—the hours of uninterrupted, unmediated coverage of his rallies—provided to Trump by cable television, particularly in the early months of his campaign. We will be asked to count on the stability of American institutions, the tendency of even the most radical politicians to rein themselves in when admitted to office. Liberals will be admonished as smug, disconnected from suffering, as if so many Democratic voters were unacquainted with poverty, struggle, and misfortune. There is no reason to believe this palaver. There is no reason to believe that Trump and his band of associates—Chris Christie, Rudolph Giuliani, Mike Pence, and, yes, Paul Ryan—are in any mood to govern as Republicans within the traditional boundaries of decency. Trump was not elected on a platform of decency, fairness, moderation, compromise, and the rule of law; he was elected, in the main, on a platform of resentment. Fascism is not our future—it cannot be; we cannot allow it to be so—but this is surely the way fascism can begin.

* * *

It is all a dismal picture. Late last night, as the results were coming in from the last states, a friend called me full of sadness, full of anxiety about conflict, about war. Why not leave the country? But despair is no answer. To combat authoritarianism, to call out lies, to struggle honorably and fiercely in the name of American ideals—that is what is left to do. That is all there is to do.

The second essay is from Brian Beutler at The New Republic. Republicans Have Pulled the Country and the World Into the Abyss (excerpts):

Whatever variables account for the polling failure, though, we have to accept that there was a great deal of truth to what the political analyst Sean Trende dubbed the “Missing White Voter” thesis—that every election year, in rural communities in the rust belt and the panhandle of Florida, millions of white people without college degrees just don’t vote.

The question was: What could the Republican Party, the natural home for that constituency, do to bring them back into the electorate?

We know the answer now, and it reflects horribly on the party and their new voters. What it took was a campaign of undisguised white nationalism—brash, unapologetic scapegoating of immigrants and Muslims. It took not only misogyny, but the endorsement of sexual assault. And it took Republicans who recognized their candidate’s recklessness, ignorance, and racism to decide that closing ranks around him was worth all of the dangers they knew they were inviting into the world, if it meant reclaiming political power.

It is hard to know, at this early stage, what a Trump presidency will mean for the future of the country. I traced an optimistic scenario back in the spring: that even our rickety democratic institutions could contain Trump’s worst impulses; that Trump’s own indifference to conservative ideology might create the space for some legislative compromises that aren’t altogether horrible for progressives. But as I wrote just yesterday, before polls closed, I am no longer confident in such a scenario.

At a minimum, Republicans are going to do incredible violence to President Barack Obama’s accomplishments. The bookend to his remarkable political story will be that he is replaced in the White House by a man who tried to delegitimize him as leader of the birther movement. Trump will almost certainly abrogate Obama’s international climate agreement and the global powers agreement preventing Iran from creating their own nuclear arsenal. Republicans will send Trump legislation undermining Obama’s legacy everywhere they can find congressional majorities to do so, and Trump will sign those bills. Republicans don’t know how to repeal Obamacare, let alone replace it. But they will try.

The Supreme Court will return to conservative control, and over the next four years, it may very well become far more conservative. Voting rights will be further weakened; the constitutional right to abortion is vulnerable to abolition.

But things could get much, much worse. Remember, sitting members of the Republican Senate conference, when they were running against Trump in the GOP presidential primary, warned that he could not be trusted with control over the U.S. nuclear arsenal. They said he was an amoral conman. They were right about all of that. Then they endorsed him. We don’t know what will happen to the global order; we don’t know how Trump will respond to perceived slights by foreign leaders, whether in allied countries, or hostile ones.

It is little solace to say that whatever becomes of this horrible leap into the abyss—whatever happens to immigrant and Muslim and black communities; whatever happens to LGBT and women’s rights; whatever happens to our economy; whatever happens to global stability—Republicans did this to us. As matters of both politics and conscience, they will have to live with this forever. But so will we.

4 thoughts on “Two essays on the election worth your read”

  1. What they don’t realize is that they have voted in exactly what they thought they were voting against. The ultra elite who will destroy what is left of the support they now have.

  2. I can only pity AZBlueMeanie. AzBlueMeanie has decended into a dark pit of cynicism and despair and seems to have devolved into an inflamed boil that will periodically expelled pus, such as today’s post.

  3. “Fascism is not our future—it cannot be; we cannot allow it to be so—but this is surely the way fascism can begin.”

    AzBM, you were concerned the right would issue a clarion call for open and armed rebellion. What is this but such a call? Again “fascism”? Really? He hasn’t done anything yet. It is the definition of hysteria…

    “That the electorate has, in its plurality, decided to live in Trump’s world of vanity, hate, arrogance, untruth, and recklessness, his disdain for democratic norms, is a fact that will lead, inevitably, to all manner of national decline and suffering.”

    Good lord!! Has this man contracted for his bomb shelter yet? I hope he remembers to change his underwear…

    Liberals are behaving in a most silly fashion right now. One can only hope that they eventually return to sanity, but if they don’t, the reality remains the same.

    I am watching a bunch of protests against Trump’s election and the chant “Not my President” seems popular. I recall when Obama was elected that conservatives were told to “Get Over It!” Seems like good advice for the present.

  4. The Republicans did not do this to us, we all did it to ourselves. The media has failed the American public and been doing so for quite some time now. The Democrats failed to recognize that their base goes beyond intilectuals and latino voters. There is a large swath of the American electorate that has been slighted by many of the factors you listed in your previous post on the challenges of our global economy. These are the group that put Trump over the top. Obama voters voting Trump, Union voters going to Trump. The challenge for us as a nation will be the difficult question to how we can reinvent an economy that is ALL inclusive and create a new middle class. I fear the damage that will come in the year ahead. I do not know what the Don will do, if anything at all, for those voters hoping he did give a damn about them. One thing is for certain: many of his policies will not help but hurt those voters and the people around him, along with congress, will only bring more power to those who are already deatroying what is left of the middle class. Their first taste will be when their health insurance is taken away on day one.

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