Almost 60 million members of the American electorate cast a ballot for Donald Trump. They voted for him not because they like him, but because they disliked Hillary Clinton even more. And they believe Donald Trump represents change. His status as President-elect is a repudiation of not only Hillary Clinton but everything Hillary Clinton represents and for which she stands. She is a career politician. She is in many respects an embodiment of the Washington establishment. Her failure is not simply because voters did not trust her or because of her foreign policy failures or her private emails, and it’s not because she failed to adequately take responsibility for all of those things. It’s because she is a political elite through and through.
Hillary Clinton never really hid this fact. And even if she tried it’s just too apparent to attempt to sweep under the political rug. She is a liberal political elite. She became this embodiment. Her failures were not simply her own but those of all she represents. At least in the eyes of millions in the American electorate. Hillary Clinton is not change. Hillary Clinton is more of the same. The majority of American voters voted for the same, but not necessarily because they like the same. Many of them didn’t want the same. Maybe didn’t really want Hillary Clinton. But they didn’t want Donald Trump. That was too much change.
Donald Trump represents a potential change to the landscape of American politics. Not because he said he’ll defund Planned Parenthood. Not because he said he’ll nominate conservative Supreme Court justices that will challenge Roe v. Wade. Not because he said he’ll repeal the Affordable Care Act. And tear apart the regulatory agencies which enforce the Clean Air Act. And deregulate Wall Street and corporations. And decrease taxes on the rich. And slash social welfare programs. And renegotiate long-held, important U.S. free trade deals while imposing increased tariffs on American goods.. And build a wall between the United States and Mexico. And rethink America’s security posture and foreign policy around the world. All of that is true, but that’s not it.
Donald Trump used bigotry as a political strategy. And by refusing to denounce, if not encouraging, those extreme elements of the populace which openly bask in gender, racial and sexual bias his election has given them further voice. Donald Trump has legitimized their beliefs. At least in their own minds. And now they feel as though they have the right to forcibly impose their beliefs on those groups who they have hated for a long time, only now they feel they have an ally in the White House.
Here are just a few examples of the emboldened bigotry unleashed following the election of Donald Trump. Most courtesy of Shaun King.
These are just a few examples of some of the deplorable behavior being exhibited by apparent Trump supporters and one can assume in many cases Trump voters as well. There are many, many more and surely more to come. The majority of those who voted for Trump are probably not racist or sexist or radically intolerant of others dissimilar to themselves. And while there may be many who are those things, they may not deign to express those views publicly and in such a forceful, purposefully harmful manner. But as can be seen, other do and have and will continue to do so. Because they feel they now have a voice. Because they have no reason to believe they don’t. Because Donald Trump has done nothing to disavow them of that notion.
Perhaps he will. But by then it will be too late. It’s already too late.