By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders
It all seems so upside down. At the end of the day everybody got it wrong. Not since Harry Truman defeated Thomas Dewey for the Presidency in 1948 did so many people botch it. The pundits were wrong, the pollsters were wrong, FBI Director James Comey was wrong, I was wrong, and even Donald Trump was wrong.
Virtually every poll had Hillary Clinton winning the presidency with a close but comfortable margin. The experts and pundits who opined that Trump could never survive the insults and reckless accusations he tossed about the campaign were very mistaken. James Comey who ten days before the election reopened the FBI email investigation proved to be in error. And finally when Donald Trump himself complained for months on end that the system was “rigged” against him, to his delight that accusation was proven false. In fact, by last count, Mrs. Clinton maintained a lead in the popular vote, while decisively losing in the Electoral College. One can only shudder at what Mr. Trump would have said had those results been reversed.
Political analysts will be dissecting this election for decades to try to figure out how this stunning and unexpected result came about. Surely Donald Trump tapped into anger and frustration that had been festering in this country for many years. It would seem that any person perceived to be the agent of change and who promised to bring back lost jobs and restore lost confidence was the one that millions or voters flocked to regardless of any personal shortcomings or lack of government experience. Donald Trump uniquely understood the means of communicating that message of change and his supporters were loyal to the extent of not caring much about anything else he said or did or his other obvious shortcomings.
How will Trump go about making good on his promises to “stimulate growth, bring back jobs, cut taxes, invest in our inner cities, and make America the international colossus able to,” in his words “quickly defeat terrorism”? Will he try to build a wall around our southern boarder? Will he really try to deport millions of undocumented immigrants? Will he actually try to impose a religious or value based test on persons wishing to emigrate to the United States? Will he tear up international trade deals and repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with what? These are all important questions that go to the issue of governing. Mr. Trump has been long on promises but very short on specifics. I am not sure that he ever really thought that he would actually need to govern. But govern now he must.
The only thing for certain is that Donald J. Trump, against all odds will be inaugurated as this nation’s 45th president on January 20, 2017. All Americans of good will should wish him well and success. That is what we do after elections or at least that is what we should do…rally around the new president, even if Mr. Trump might not have been equally magnanimous. And even after all the hurtful comments made by the now president-elect, that is still the right thing to do. The orderly and peaceful transition of government power is what has made this country different and exceptional in the long human history of nations.
I can only hope and pray that after everyone else got it wrong, that the voters who supported Donald Trump got it right. I am wary and very dubious… but I am prepared to be proven wrong (again) about my assessment of this man who will be president of these United States of America. I have never wanted to be so wrong in my life.