Donald J. Trump is the 45th President of the United States.
Today Americans woke up with one of three attitudes: Outright fear of the future, joy that SOMEONE finally shook up the Washington Establishment, or a guarded wait-and-see feeling. None of those are wrong. However we should all be cautious about falling into a pit of despair or exuberant joy, depending on for whom you voted. This is not The End of the World as we Know It, but neither is it A Bold New Beginning.
Let’s quickly review how Trump ascended to the Presidency. First, his message resonated with Americans in a way that was horribly underestimated by just about everyone covering the election. His numerous faux pas, his personal failings, his dangerous and hate-filled speeches; his entire campaign tapped into a deep-seated resentment that I do not believe many American voters really felt or understood until Trump articulated it for them. It’s important to note where Trump did well. He won the rural vote hands-down, and CBS indicated his support from non-college-educated whites was at 67%. What does that mean? Well, essentially he found votes in places many candidates have never bothered to look before. He did better than Clinton with white suburban women also, which is a surprise in many ways.
But the POLLS showed Clinton leading! How could they be so wrong? It’s simple, really. A large majority of Trump voters simply did not respond to polling, and based on Trump’s railing against the system as being “rigged,” why would they? Whether it was how he really felt or just brilliant strategy will forever remain a mystery, but the end result was hundreds of thousands of Trump voters were essentially “hidden” from the media. The result was mass-confusion and shock on every major news network and a win for Trump.
The question on everyone’s mind is “Ok, what happens now?” Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to this. It’s important to note that, while Trump has a Republican majority in both houses of Congress, he does not have the coziest of relationships with the Legislative Branch. Depending on how he approaches the Office of the Presidency, he could damage the already-tenuous cooperative attitudes his legislative cohorts have toward him. His cabinet appointments will tell the tale here, especially his choices for Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Secretary of Defense. If he chooses the wrong person for any or all of these cabinet posts, Congressional cooperation could go out the window. The right choices could promote a level of cooperation unseen in recent memory.
Why do I think we will be fine in the long run as a nation? Because despite Trump’s bombastic and bullish personality, he WILL have to learn to work the system in order to get things done. Executive Orders will only get him so far. We WILL get a full Supreme Court bench and, while it’s likely he will appoint a conservative to fill Scalia’s seat, recent decisions by SCOTUS show they can go against the grain in the name of upholding the Constitution.
Ah, yes, the Constitution. That pesky 200+-year-old document that defines our representative democracy is going to be THE biggest factor in keeping Trump in check. It will not be long before we find out whether Trump is a believer in Explicit Powers or Inherent Powers given by the Constitution. I would put money on him ascribing to the Inherent Powers interpretation, which means he will be in for some serious fights as Congress and the courts will undoubtedly challenge that belief.
Finally, I think we will be fine because even though Trump won the Electoral College, it remains a fact that Clinton won the popular vote by a slim margin (though it should be noted the vote count is far from complete with absentee ballots yet to be counted), and that means the majority of voting Americans did NOT subscribe to Trump’s heavy-handed rhetoric. It stands to reason that, despite the Republican Congressional majority, those same Republicans may (and likely will) heed the wishes of their constituency lest they lose their seats in mid-term elections in the same way Democrats did in 2014. Also, do note that Trump’s current legal woes could cost him the office as Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution provides for impeachment:
“The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
My fellow Americans, we stand at a crossroads. We have choices to make that can and will shape the future of our very nation. We still have hope though. That hope resides within each and every one of us. It is incumbent upon us all to comport ourselves with dignity, respect for others, and a strong desire to make our nation one worth living in, one kindness at a time. We can still be a Beacon of Light for the world. We can show the world that we are more than one man in a White House with an Oval Office. Over the last 18 months, the world has seen some of the worst we have to offer. It is time to put that aside. It is time to move forward and demonstrate to the world the very BEST we as Americans can be. We can do this, in spite of our President or along side him. The choice is OURS. It is our DUTY as citizens of the United States of America to make the RIGHT choices. Every day of our lives we can demonstrate we as Americans are MORE than what our representatives in Washington show us to be. Let us do that. Together.
Thank you, and God Bless the United States of America.