President Elect Trump

Yesterday Trump defied the pollsters and the media at large and pulled off a stunning upset in the general elections. He is the president elect now and will be sworn in as the next president in 2017. Throughout the period of his rise I have felt that there was a sense of inevitability in it. Although I did not expect him to actually win, the Trump phenomenon, per se, didn't ever surprise me. Perhaps the thing that surprised me the most about his rise was the fact that it had not come earlier. It has been 8 years since the great recession, during which time vast swathes of the country have seen its wealth diminish and transferred to the coasts and few urban centers. Politicians, democrats and republicans alike, have paid mere lip service to the plights of the many millions and have used them cynically to their own ends. While people in the great heartlands of America were witnessing their lives disintegrate, politicians, democrats especially, were happy squabbling about non-issues such as the bathrooms that transgender people should use. Are they now surprised that the heartland has just delivered them a swift kick in the nuts? Trump is very much a product of their arrogance and smugness. He is a repudiation of a system which is rotting from inside anyway and in that sense he represents a necessary and welcome correction. It's a system which is defined by a sharp divide between the elites (moneyed, powered, politically connected, media, urban) and the vast common populace (poor, rural or suburban, politically diminished) and in which the former has completely abdicated its own responsibility towards the latter. Not only that. The former looks down upon the latter as ignorant, racist, bigoted, and contemptible. Well guess what. The latter are the majority and they just decided to light up the entire system and have a good old bonfire.

If I could vote I don't think I would have voted for Trump. However, I do think that his victory actually represents something absolutely beautiful and incredibly amazing about the American democratic system. Here is a guy who fought absolutely everything and everybody. This includes almost the entire media establishment and his own political party. He ran a shoddily managed campaign perpetually short on cash and broke every rule in the book. But in the end he beat out the better heeled, better organize, better funded, better connected, and better supported campaign of Hillary Clinton. And he did it purely by the will of the people who supported him so enthusiastically. There is something alive and uplifting about that. In the past I have often made the very common mistake of underestimating Trump. I think now I'll reserve my judgment of the kind of leader he will make. I think there is a good argument one can make that despite everything that he said over the past year and a half, he may end up leading in precisely the kind of way that a classical liberal might have wanted. Not the bullshit liberal of the current democratic party but a true liberal. I can only hope.

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