I spent most of Tuesday in a news blackout. I had planned to work the polls, but I was ill, and things were running smoothly without me at the polling place, so I stayed home. And turned off the news. I didn’t want to know.
After the polls closed, I went to help Mr. Spherical Model, who had served as our Presiding Judge, to drive the ballots to the collection location. I told him I didn’t have any news; I didn’t want to know which way our country was going to slowly be put to death.
But later, he tuned in to the returns on TV, and the first thing of note was Wisconsin going to Trump—and the media seemed shocked. And I thought, that’s where Republican Governor Scott Walker had to face recalls and persecution from labor unions, and he kept winning. And that had activated a lot of Republican support. Plus, Hillary had tried to win the state without bothering to set foot there. So, not really a surprise.
But other surprises continued. And eventually I started paying attention.
I hadn’t realized how much relief I would feel to learn that the media and their polls were wrong, and that we wouldn’t be subjected to a Clinton socialist/corrupt presidency following the eight painful years of an Obama socialist/corrupt presidency. The complete and permanent transformation from our constitutional republic to socialist tyranny wasn’t inevitable after all.
There’s still a Trump presidency to deal with. I’m adjusting to that. But, on the immediate bright side, because the Democrats didn’t win, we still have a Republican Senate and House. And there’s the small but hope-filled possibility that, with a non-antagonistic president, they might actually move toward conservative policies.
In Texas, of course the Republicans remained strong across the state. But here in Harris County, Hillary won. Democrats vote straight ticket, and every county-wide race was lost by Republicans. That includes sheriff, district attorney, tax assessor, and every judge. Every judge. This is tragic. Not only does that mean that every court on the ballot (not all terms ended this election) went to an inexperienced new judge, but to a judge who are philosophically willing to use something other than the Constitution, rule of law, and justice to determine their rulings.
Hopefully this damage will be offset in off-election years, when Republicans pay more attention and are much more likely to vote than are Democrats.
So, things are mixed. But overall, the sun came up sunnier than I expected on Wednesday morning.
My Facebook feed was filled with calls for kindness and uniting, and very few desperate pleas to wake from the nightmare. I guess my friends and I have already mostly self-selected. But I have become aware of the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth around the country.
My daughter-in-law, Mrs. Political Sphere, posted this gentle message:
I know that many of you are disappointed with the outcome of the election. As am I but I would have been disappointed either way. I could not bring myself to vote for Trump or Hillary. That being said I hope Trump is not as bad as I think he is.
This was reposted by a couple of her liberal friends. And I concur.
A brother-in-law was a Trump supporter—all along, even when Ted Cruz was still an option. He’s a businessman, and he reimagined Trump as he would want him to be. He believed all the bombast was a sort of show, over-the-top, to get attention, to get elected. And once elected, he would modify and do what it took to get the country economically back on its feet.
|image from here|
I never bought that. There’s way too much evidence to lead me to believe that’s not what was going on in Trump’s mind. But now that we are where we are, I would like to believe he’s right.
So far there are hopeful signs.
He released his plan for the first 100 days in office, which he calls his contract with the American voter. I’m not with him on the whole thing, but there are some good essentials in there. Remember that list of five things Cruz promised to do on day 1? It’s not all there, but most of it is.
Thursday there was a panel discussion at The Heritage Foundation, discussing conservatism during a Trump administration. Jonah Goldberg took a question about how large the issue of Supreme Court appointments loomed during this election. His answer went beyond that, and made a point I found useful.
It’s absolutely true that Hillary Clinton was a grave threat to the Constitution, grave threat to the Court…. The opposite is not necessarily true about Donald Trump. His commitment to the Constitution rhetorically has been quite good as a matter of campaigning. But he also said that there were twelve articles to the Constitution, so I don’t know that he is deeply enamored with the text. He also has views on things like eminent domain that a lot of people in this room, I think, are nervous about. He also has views on the First Amendment that I think a lot of people in this room are nervous about or should be nervous about.
And so I think that the question among conservatives and constitutionalists isn’t so much of what’s in Donald Trump’s heart. That remains to be seen.
What really matters is surrounding him, giving him the incentive structure whereby the information flow, the political decision-making process, all point him in the right direction….
The whole purpose of the conservative movement is not just to elect more Republican politicians; it is to move the zeitgeist and the popular understanding of the issues so that it is in politicians’ interests to do the right thing. And I think that is the first task for Donald Trump—for the conservative movement, it is to make sure that the arguments he is hearing and the incentives that he has push him in the right direction. I certainly think that he’s open to it. And he has made promises that commit him to it.
So, we have work to do, but there’s reason to believe we can do it. It will take constant vigilance, and practice at explaining what it is we conserve and why. But, for now, while he gets underway with a Trump presidency, I’m willing to support any efforts to bring us northward into freedom, prosperity, and civilization.
(I might even start capitalizing the title of president, which I have refused to do for president Obama for several years now.)