Sunrise, November 9

Well, here we are. It’s November 9. In a few months, Donald Trump will be our president. I prefer him over Hillary, but it’s hard for me to say I’m happy with the outcome. There are no good choices between a brutish egotist and a corrupt kleptocrat.

So, in the spirit of united disappointment (though I grant yours is likely greater than mine), I offer this olive branch. We have a president none of us1 is all that happy with. I have little doubt you’re ready to stand in opposition to him. So am I, when he steps out of line. Let’s stand together.

Let’s also talk about why this happened. If you’re reading this and you’re disappointed, I suspect you’re going to go with ‘racism’ or ‘sexism’. This is not true, and it’s unfair to your fellow Americans. A month or two ago, I posted an excellent article on Trumpism from, of all places, Cracked. It gets at the crux of the thing: rural voters perceive that educated urban liberals hate their values. Said rural voters have been content to let it pass, but after a decade or two of the capital’s trouble finding them, they’ve had enough. Now they’ve thrown a brick through the window saying so. Frankly, I think they were right to do so. The documented malfeasance of the media—this year more than ever the Democrats’ palace guard—and the stink in Washington are brickworthy things2. I would have chosen a different brick, but educated suburban conservatives didn’t get to pick the nominee this time3.

I’ve seen murmurings about pushing that ridiculous national popular vote plan. I’d urge against that. The brick came through your window because the rural voter feels like the urban population centers have too much say over the way the nation goes. The Electoral College is designed specifically to give said rural voter a voice. Be careful taking away the ballot box: the next one in line is the ammo box. On that note, I do find myself a little unsettled. If nothing else, this election has cast into sharp relief the gulf between the country and the city. More than any time since about 1860, people on both sides of the aisle feel like they’re living in two separate Americas4. I hope the similarity ends there.

In fact, I believe the similarity ends there, at least for now. We aren’t doomed. America is stronger than that. I believe in the resilience of our system of government and the vigilance of the opposition, both Republican and Democrat, to Trump’s presidency. Let the next four years be a time of renewal of the checks and balances over which the last few executives have run roughshod, a time of returning power to the states and liberty to the people, where power and liberty ultimately belong, and a time to once again become a government of laws, and not a government of men. That’s where I am. I hope you can find your way there too.

1. Except, I believe, parvusimperator.
2. I really doubt any media people are reading this, but if you are and your name is not Jake Tapper, be more like Jake Tapper. That’s all we ask. I don’t care if you have political beliefs so long as you aren’t obviously a partisan on the job.
3. And it isn’t like we have a good record at picking candidates anyway.
4. British political scientist Rob Ford expressed the following sentiment after the Brexit vote: do you feel like you’re a stranger in your own country? That’s the way people voting for (Brexit/Trump) have felt for years.

An earlier version of this article attributed the Cracked article to Buzzfeed, despite the fact that I failed multiple times to find it on Buzzfeed via Google searches, and eventually copied the link from an old Facebook post while thinking, “Well, I guess Google must be wrong.” The error in the article has been corrected.

2 thoughts on “Sunrise, November 9

  1. Brandon

    Thanks for the thoughts, Fishbreath. I think you and I are mostly on the same page, but I have a couple thoughts of my own:

    > Now they’ve thrown a brick through the window saying so. Frankly, I think they were right to do so.

    I agree, except that I’m worried that this particular brick will turn out to be a hand grenade.

    > Let the next four years be a time of renewal of the checks and balances over which the last few executives have run roughshod, a time of returning power to the states and liberty to the people, where power and liberty ultimately belong, and a time to once again become a government of laws, and not a government of men.

    I sure hope so, but it’s hard to see Trump going along with that willingly. His rhetoric so far causes me to expect him to attempt to wield and expand executive power at every opportunity.

    > I’ve seen murmurings about pushing that ridiculous national popular vote plan.

    A straight popular vote may not be a good plan, but today’s electoral college (as implemented by the states) is garbage. We’ve got this awful situation where Wisconsin is voting 100% red when *neither red nor blue* got a majority. More than half of Wisconsin’s residents are unrepresented. That’s a terrible system.

    Should we switch to proportional electors, as Nebraska and Maine have done? I think that’s a step in the right direction within the framework of the electoral college. The problem is that it’s not going to happen unless it happens all at once. Dem-controlled California is not going to give 18 votes to the GOP as long as GOP-controlled states like Texas aren’t giving 18 votes right back. That’s how we got into the mess in the first place.

    You and I and everyone else can come up with solutions, but I don’t think they can be practically implemented as long as the actors in power are just looking out for the party. What are we to do?

    Reply
    1. Fishbreath Post author

      > I agree, except that I’m worried that this particular brick will turn out to be a hand grenade.

      That’s an eminently reasonable worry, I grant you. As far as executive power goes, I do suspect that Trump will want to push his luck. I also think, though, that the current national mood—where Trump is distrusted by a much larger proportion of the population than that which voted against him—works against him there. Some GOP Senators have already expressed the sentiment I put up over at Facebook, that Trump should consider himself president beneath the sword of Damocles. The opposition certainly isn’t giving him much of a leash, but neither is his own party.

      > A straight popular vote may not be a good plan, but today’s electoral college (as implemented by the states) is garbage.

      Yes and no, in my opinion. The electoral college reflects a notion I agree with: the most populated states (i.e., the states in which the most populated cities are located) generally wield an outsize influence on national affairs, because they host the big cities, which host thought leaders. A system which weights the less-influential states more heavily is good: Nebraska will never have the non-electoral say that New York or California does. It’s fitting and proper that Nebraska gets more of an electoral voice.

      That said, I do agree that the actual voting system could stand to change. I’m planning another post on my throwaway line about the NPV movement, so I’ll save myself some material for that. Spoiler: there’s a map.

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