I, like many of my friends and family, was shocked into silence on Tuesday night as the election results came in. I would have forced myself to go to bed, but I (incorrectly) believed that I had a lab due the next day, so I stayed up until after 1:30 AM to finish it. But I’m not going to talk about my emotions that night. Instead, I’m going to discuss what comes next. What do we do, now that we have Donald John Trump coming into office as the 45th President of the United States?
Donald J. Trump will be our next president. There is no reason to hope for the Electoral College electors to go rogue and vote for Hillary Clinton in December. It is illegal in 26 states for the electors to vote for someone other than the winner of their state, and even if the electors from the states that Hillary lost by less that 2% voted for her, she’d only have 252 votes (270 to win). Because Michigan and Florida are two states where faithless electors are lawbreakers, she is unable to win their combined 45 votes, which would have brought her to 297. But enough math. Donald J. Trump will be our next president. Now as a white male, I have little to lose (and probably much to gain) from his presidency, but that doesn’t make this any easier for me. I am genuinely scared of the Trump Presidency that is forthcoming. Because of the Electoral College, President-elect Trump will be sworn in on January 20th.
The country, as a whole, did not vote for Trump. Over 2.5 million more people voted for Trump than Clinton. The Electoral College is not likely to go away soon, especially since the last four times the popular and electoral votes differed, the Republican party benefitted, and they now control the White House and the Capitol. We must find any way we can to make sure that the progress made during Obama’s Administration (including minority rights and healthcare reform) are not reversed. For the last eight years, republicans in Congress have done everything they could to block every piece of legislation that President Obama and the Democrats introduced. (This is a fact, not an accusation.) Congressional democrats need to fight every piece of legislation that removes rights from Americans. President-elect Trump has called for unity, but I have no confidence that he wants any liberal voices in government.
The conservative Tea Party movement that we hear so much about started in 2009 following President Obama’s inauguration. It was created for to block his political agenda and organize protests against him. What we must do now is form our own protest faction. The anger is already here—we can see that in the mass demonstrations against President-elect Trump—but the only way our anger will have any effect is to transform it into a political force. We must charge the DNC to put forth more progressive candidates in future elections, for whom we must campaign aggressively. Of the thirty-three seats in the US Senate up for elections in 2018, only eight are held by Republicans, so we must make sure that we keep every single seat we won in 2012 as well as win at least three Republican seats to take back the Senate. In 2020, we must support the primary and general campaigns of a progressive, electable candidate, something we tried to do with Bernie but failed because the DNC backed Hillary to point of voter fraud against Bernie supporters.
I would have preferred to have Hillary as our next president instead of Trump. If I had my way, Bernie would have won the Democratic nomination and the presidency. Unfortunately, I don’t always get my way, so we must move forward with what we have.