Truman Defeats Dewey! - 11/10/16
As Lord Melbourne, 19th Century Prime Minister of England once said, "What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass."
Me and a million other so-called experts, who were sure that the nation would never be foolish enough to elect a wild man like Donald Trump as the next President of the United States, can now be found with enough egg on our faces to stock a grocery dairy section. What can I say? We were wrong. We were wrong. We were WRONG.
The best we can now say is that even though Trump won, it was in no sense a landslide victory. The present figures indicate that Hillary Clinton will surpass the Donald by several hundred thousand votes in the national popular vote totals, just like Al Gore got more popular votes than George Bush in 2000 and Richard Nixon got more than JFK in 1960. (No, that last example is not an error. Look it up.)
But of course, the popular vote totals in an American race for the White House are really only of academic interest since we do not and never have elected Presidents by the popular vote totals. Presidents are elected by the states directly as they vote in the electoral college and only indirectly by the individual voters, who actually cast their votes on election day for the slate of electors of each candidate and not for the candidates themselves
And Trump will win a convincing victory in the Electoral College, receiving over 300 electoral votes (270 are required for a majority.) He did this by winning all of the traditionally Republican states by landslides and winning nearly all of the so-called "battleground states" by narrow margins, including, it must be admitted, several of which, like Wisconsin and Michigan, had not voted for a GOP Presidential nominee since the elder George Bush victory in 1988. Trump won where he had to and lost where it didn't matter. So it was a very close victory, but as I believe Jody Powell, campaign manager for Jimmy Carter, once said, "When you win, you win, and when you lose, you lose, and 'close' only counts in horseshoes."
The biggest consolation for NeverTrumpers for myself, is that although it was a good night for Trump, it was an even better night for the Republican party nationwide. GOP control of the House and the Senate were both easily retained by the results, with only about half a dozen Republican congressmen and two Senators losing their seats. I have to shamefacedly admit that although I still think that Trump may be a disaster as President, I am relieved that someone other than Hillary Clinton and her gang will be picking the successors to Antonin Scalia and possibly several other Supreme Court Justices over the next four years.
The Republicans did equally well in the state and local races, adding several governors to the more than thirty GOP state executives who had been in office before the election and picking up still more state legislative seats, including the Kentucky Senate, which now gives the party control of all the southern state legislatures.
So it looks as though although in a few states like Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, strong showings by the presidential nominee may have helped candidates like Rob Portman, Ron Johnson and Pat Toomey win tough races for re-election, the evidence for any universal Trump "coattails" is extremely scanty. And the Republican leaders in the two houses of Congress, Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House of Representatives and Mitch McConnell as the Majority Leader in the Senate, have no reason to feel grateful to Trump for their positions since they held them before the election as well as afterwards.
What should we anti-Trump Republicans do now that the election is over? Well, just as a nation must go to war with the army it has and not the one it doesn't, we must accept Trump as the President and party leader and hope that the reasonable and responsible successful businessman that the Trump partisans claim has just been hidden behind the bombastic and outlandish figure we saw in the 2016 campaign will actually emerge and prove a credit to the Republican party and the nation. And Republicans like myself must ignore our doubts and give the Donald every chance to prove that this will be the case. We have to admit that candidate Trump's choice for his Vice President, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, could have been much worse. The first test of President Trump's will be his choice of a successor to the late Justice Scalia.
NeverTrumpers now must hope for the best and cooperate with our new President as far as our basic principles will allow us to do so. What else can we do?