Like everyone else in my social media circles, I was saddened and confused by the election results. I live in an extremely conservative part of a state that turned red yesterday; Trump received more votes than either of the last two GOP presidential candidates here. A GOP senator up for reelection here didn’t tell anyone for whom he was voting until literally an hour before the polls closed. He must have gone through three thermometers in the last week as he constantly, desperately tried to gauge his electorate’s climate and temperature.
I didn’t watch the returns on TV; early on it was clear that the totals weren’t going according to plan and I knew there would be no insightful analysis, which is rare in TV news anyway.
Secretary Clinton conceded with grit and grace. President Obama offered to begin a smooth and peaceful transition. Clinton won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College. (If that had happened to Trump, as it had been predicted, there would have been threats of lawsuits, plans to abolish the Electoral College, think pieces and memes about rigged elections.)
Part of me wishes Obama would bypass the Senate and name Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court before the inauguration, just as a symbolic middle finger to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who’s ground all progress in the Upper Chamber to a stuttering halt.
In my part of the country, I can tell you people are pissed about the Affordable Care Act more than anything else. McConnell said today that’s one of the first goals of the new Administration, gutting the ACA, but it’s not clear there is a consensus, even among Republicans, on what will take its place. So 20 million people will lose their insurance immediately, and there’s no backup plan.
What I’m most scared about is Vice President-elect Mike Pence. A few months ago former candidate Kasich revealed that Trump had talked to him about becoming Vice President, and basically doing all the work while Trump got the title and rest of the perks. (I think this is Trump’s MO in general.) Kasich demurred, and Trump found Mssr. Pence, who believes that gay people can be electrocuted until they are straight again, that same-sex couples should be thrown in jail for obtaining (legal) marriage licenses, that women should be prosecuted for (legally) having abortions. Pence calmly sat through the sole vice-presidential debate, calmly denying every outrageous (and truthful) claim Trump had uttered during the course of campaign, simply biding his time. I believe that debate is a microcosm for the Presidency, and all the social progress we’ve made as a country will immediately be erased.