Wednesday, November 9, 2016
The bitter morning
So, the nightmare really came true.
After the East Shore polls closed at 2am Israeli time, I continued watching on CNN the unfolding drama, following the discussions of the elections experts, with their sophisticated maps and detailed knowledge of every county in every state. There were the initial moments when Hilary Clinton still seemed headed to win Florida and North Carolina. But then, in state after state the same specter was repeated: the vast red-colored regions of countryside and small towns overwhelming the embattled blue Democrat dots of the big cities.
Behind these red expanses on the CNN maps were the people whom Michael Moore depicted in his film: The workers left behind in "rust belts" when the industries went away to countries where the salaries are much lower. Embittered and hopeless, they were ready to embrace Donald Trump’s demagoguery and his promise to "Make America Great Again" – a vast tide under the surface, which the pollsters altogether missed.
In the time ahead of us there would be many recriminations. What if the Democrats had paid more attention and given better answers to the blue-collar workers who had once been their party’s mainstay? What if the Democratic Party had voted Bernie Sanders as its Presidential candidate? What if Hilary Clinton had not arrogantly taken Wisconsin for granted, but had bothered to pay that state some visits during the campaign? What if she had not cast herself for the second time for the role of The First Woman President, but rather promoted for that role a younger woman not associated with unsavory past affairs?
Many things are seen clearly in hindsight which should have been clear in real time, many roads not taken. The road which was taken has led to President-Elect Donald Trump making a jubilant victory speech to his gathered followers. How sincere were his conciliatory words? Would he be able - even if he wanted - to put down the flames of hatred which he had constantly fanned in his year of wild campaigning? Could he get rid of this blazing hatred, even if he tried? Does Trump have anything real to offer to the hopeless people to whom he gave a fleeting hope – and if he disappoints them, to whom and to what will they turn next?
Thinking of President Obama, being saddled with this very unwanted successor who personifies the undoing of all Obama stood for. Maybe this might increase Obama’s willingness to use his remaining two months in order to leave at least one final lasting legacy– i.e., removing the American veto and letting the UN Security Council adopt a binding resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict for whatever it is worth.
Too thin a crumb of hope on a bitter morning.