Trump to be 45th President, America is in Uncharted Waters

Trump+to+be+45th+President%2C+America+is+in+Uncharted+Waters

Waking up this morning will be a sobering experience for many.  Regardless of who you supported, the result of the 2016 election is unprecedented. Polls, political bloggers, betting markets. None of them — not even Fox News — thought Trump would come out of the night as the next President of the United States. But they were all wrong, and in many cases missed the mark by huge margins. Even his own campaign said it would take a miracle.

Trump’s campaign has upended every assumption about the electoral process. He was outspent nearly three-to-one on ads. He had very little ground game, instead relying on the passion of voters. He didn’t even rely on the party that nominated him, with most influential Republican leaders having denounced him at some point. He will be the first president to have never held political or military office. Of all the long-held norms of elections, few survived the night.

Trump’s run was less of a campaign and more of a personal crusade. It so happens that that’s apparently what voters wanted. Although he might not have thought-out plans, he reflects their emotions and gives voice to their anger. While he is deeply flawed, he is deeply genuine.

And while these may have won him the election, pointing out problems only prefaces the battle. That his rise to power was so unprecedented and that his policies are so ambiguous leave much to be answered. This election was not decided on long-form vision but on a feeling that permeates all levels of American society — the feeling that something is not right, that the American dream and indeed what it means to be an American is fading. Simply put, where we go from here is uncertain and for the first time in a long time America is in uncharted waters. The stock market demonstrates this reality, with the DOW dropping more than it did after 9/11.

Uncertainty will only grow between now and inauguration day, and possibly for years to come. Already Trump’s win has exposed these deep wounds and fundamental conflicts within the American identity. We are a divided nation. Many issues are now so caustic and inflammatory that they have become irreconcilable. What America is and values is so split and variable depending on to whom you talk. We are, essentially, adrift at sea, a loose confederation tied together only in name, whose parts increasingly refuse to work together. The Republican and the Democrat. The Rural and the Urban. The Elite and the Working Man.

Tuesday night’s results are unlikely to help heal that divide. While Republicans now have control of every branch of government, it also seems, as of this writing, that Hillary Clinton will win the popular vote. For the second time in under two decades, the president may not be the winner of the popular vote. Even if he is, it will be by the slimmest of margins. His presidency will start on turbulent ground, but for better or for worse, Trump’s presidency will define the way forward. Whether or not that leaves America a more unified nation or even more piecemeal remains to be seen. One thing is clear: it’s a job far greater than just one man.

As a nation and people we are lost. It is up to every single one of us to define the path forward. To the Democrats who feel shocked, upset and angry, you can’t let this silence your voice and your will to move forward. We can’t solve our problems by believing they are inconsolable, and we can’t build bridges unless we genuinely want to get to the other side. The effort to define ourselves and our future must be constant and concentrated and in the end it will be much more important than any of our votes. For our future, our children’s future and the future of the world, I sincerely hope that we can put in that effort.

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Photo Courtesy of: Michael Vadon