Fell asleep over a close race for Chief Executive, with Sec. Clinton having a thin margin over Mr. Trump -- and woke around 1:45 this morning to discover NBC's pundits working their way through the Five Stages of Grief and declaring the contest for Mr. Trump.
While I figured it for a close race, I had thought the high turnout and hot-button issues would give Sec. Clinton a slight edge and tip the balance in the electoral college. I hadn't counted on the electorate being as fed up as they have shown themselves to be. I wasn't looking forward to four years with a vindictive, wrong-headed authoritarian in the White House.
Instead, we'll have four years of a feckless authoritarian in the Oval Office. The press will loathe him with a loathing hitherto reserved for Dick Nixon and Spiro Agnew,* which is one of the most sure checks and balances we've got. Given only a choice between a conniving person who knows exactly what laws she's got to sneak by or subvert, or a high-concept guy who still seems hazy on the Constitution as amended, to say nothing of the broad sweep of Federal law and custom going back to George Washington, I suppose I'll take the latter, whose own party has a vested interest in keeping him from going off the rails and who will be "...scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize and study the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water,"† by both the media and his political opposition. He's got big dreams, Mr. Trump has, or at least big talk, but he's got the same old Constitution and the same old Congressional mulishness over their powers and prerogatives. He'll have many of the same bureaucrats. They'll do what they were intended to do: be gumbo mud under the hooves of any Man (or Woman) on Horseback. The job may not make the man, but it tends to make him color inside the lines or face the consequences.
The other positive is that once again, we have reminded the rest of the world, especially Europe, that the United States of America is, by their standards, absolutely crazy. This is, though they deny it, reassuring to them; they rely on America having a basement full of guns and gunners when they get into a spat or become worried about their nearer neighbors, and while they'd never admit it, Europe worries when the U.S. looks to be becoming too much like them. Based on their campaign utterances, Mr. Trump is actually less of a hawk than Sec. Clinton, but that fact matters not in the face of overseas public perception.
The "alt-right" will claim Mr. Trump's victory for themselves but they're a by-blow, freeriders; Americans have never much liked Nazis and, soon or late, they stop overlooking hateful fascists. Eventually, the white-sheeted bravos kidnap the wrong woman and it all comes crashing down. I'll be watching them closely and calling them out when merited; the alt-right is a greater enemy to freedom than Bernie Sanders could manage on his best day.
The next four year promise to be interesting.
* Seriously, young'ns, W had it easy compared to Nixon, largely because he's more likeable and enormously less hostile towards the press. Agnew had a more nuanced relationship to the press: mutual hatred, tempered by his remarkable quotability, a combination of good speechwriters and innately grandiose habits of speech. If you're a reporter on the fed.gov beat, happy days are indeed here again!
† Wells, H. G., The War Of The Worlds, 1898. We've turned it on Martians -- or the lack thereof -- and you can be assured that we'll turn it on The Man, at least for a given value of "we." He's not going to be able to open a bottle of beer in the Rose Garden without hostile eyes spying out the label and making snarky comments.
5 months ago