Unqualified Bullet Points On the Election



I’m still trying (and will be for a long time) to gather all my thoughts on what just happened. Until I can fully grasp all of these things, I’m going to just start bullet pointing some of my unqualified thoughts.

  • Emotions are more powerful than logic or reason. It’s why Trump succeeded. His racism, xenophobia, sexism, his bullying, they come from somewhere emotional, somewhere primal, somewhere tribal. Going back to the primaries, the media has used the criteria of logic and reason for scoring debates which is why they say Trump has lost (the things he’s said in debates were complete non-sense). His base, however, is seeing something else: they are reacting to his emotional pleas. The people are more persuaded by this than arguments based on actual policies.
  • Going forward, the Democrats need to start appealing to more emotional arguments rather than policies full of logic and reason. For all of Trump’s bullying, what he really was doing was winning with emotions. It’s why he can lie so blatantly and frequently and it wouldn’t matter. The next leader of the Democratic Party will need to have this ability to argue with emotion. Obama rose up that way. So did Bernie and Elizabeth Warren. If Anthony Weiner weren’t such a disgraceful nymphomaniac, he’d be a superstar by now. Watch this and tell me his whole career isn’t a waste of talent. The next generation of Democratic leadership must have this ability or more Trumps and rightwing nuts will continue to be in power.
  • The whole world is moving towards authoritarianism at an unprecedented scale. The UK voted for Brexit, now the US elected Trump, the Philippines has Duterte, Australia has Turnbull, Turkey is now a military state, and of course, there is Putin. Next year, France will be next with a similar leader, Le Pen, saying the same things as Trump. Kim Jong Un, President Xi Jinping, damn near every communist country and a whole lot of African countries are already there. I’m sure somebody has a reason for why this trend is happening worldwide and I’m very curious to find out. At the root, I suspect, is the large scale inequality and the implosion of the middle class. I’m honestly not sure. Perhaps this inequality is making it ripe for exploitation by a strongman figure, ready to swoop with a convenient scapegoat while marketing themselves as the only solution. As every history of strongmen leadership has shown, they often scapegoat some form of minority—whether it’s the Jews, or immigrants, Muslims, or drug addicts. Then they hold on to power through fear or violent means. Good times are ahead!
  • There is something justified about the anger coming from Trump supporters and if the labels of racism and xenophobia are taken away, it really is that the leaders have failed them and their interests. To be sure, fuck these racist assholes. But on another level, the problems they face are also problems that the left and all Americans face—mainly that they have been left out and have lost their upward mobility. Part of me wants to root for them to be uplifted, because their problems are America’s problems: they are us. But another part of me also wants them to be placed in a spaceship and blasted to the sun. I’m conflicted.
  • On election night, after it became clear that Trump would be on his way to become elected, my friend said something like “You know those shows where an alternate reality happened? Like shows about the Nazis winning the war instead of the Allies? Well, this feels like one of those shows. We’re in an alternate reality right now.” I want to live in a world where Hillary won. This reality is volatile and scary and hard to accept.
  • What the hell do I know, I’ve been drinking a lot of wine.

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