As a few of you know, on March 3, 2016 I wrote on a small piece of paper, “Trump will be our next president,” put it in an envelope in my file cabinet and thought of it occasionally as the campaign proceeded. Just in case you think I’m clairvoyant, have a crystal ball, possess above average intuition, or am just terribly astute, I should tell you that in 2008 I wrote on a similar piece of paper headed for the file cabinet, “America will never elect an African-American president.” So, I’m batting .500.
Why did I predict what I did about Trump? For one thing, I truly believe that some things are just destined to happen. My husband thinks I’m full of hot air, but I really do believe in Destiny.
Although I’m pretty sick of the word narrative, you’ll be reading it several times in the following paragraphs.
When Hillary Clinton lost to Obama in 2008, there was an existing narrative that after Obama had completed a term or two, Hillary would automatically run for president, and win. Who thought that? And why? Was it her birthright to become president? Was it her reward for being defeated by Obama? There seemed to be a foregone conclusion that she was going to occupy the Oval Office. That gave me pause.
On July 5 I wrote in this space:
Nothing is happening right now that gives me hope. We have a choice between two painfully flawed candidates. Many months ago I asked my husband, “Don’t the Democrats have anybody else to run for president?”
Evidently they didn’t, and we’re seeing the results now. I’m not a Hillary hater, but it seems to me that someone with less baggage and more charm might have come to the fore. Hillary is brittle and unspontaneous. Nothing about her makes me think, “I like that woman.” My husband says, "She's competent." I say, "Competent is boring."
And I'm now questioning even her competence having just heard the FBI report on her email activity, which was described as “extremely careless.” That doesn’t exactly bespeak competence.
I’m sorry, but I don’t give two hoots about whether we have a woman president just so we can say we do. I would like for us to have an excellent president.
My choice, misguided as it may be, would have been Joe Biden. He’s a sympathetic figure, an affable, back-slapping kind of guy who, notwithstanding a tendency to utter an occasional verbal clunker, is liked, and he knows plenty about domestic and foreign policy and as much as Hillary does about the presidency. He has been the best vice president a president could possibly want.
What can I say about Trump that hasn’t already been said? It’s obvious that his success is based primarily on his ability to give voice to the rage of millions of disaffected white people – the ones whose idea of cultural activity is tailgating and target shooting – who will never get over having an uppity Nee-gro in the Oval Office.
The Republican Party has only itself to blame for this unlikely turn of events. They've spent the last eight years doing everything they could think of to undermine Obama while the gods were about to pull the rug from under them. Whoops!
I’m no big fan of George Will, but on November 9 he wrote:
“The Democrats offer a candidate as familiar as faded wallpaper. The party produced no plausible alternative to her joyless, strained embodiment of arrogant entitlement.
I don’t hate Hillary. I voted for her. But like many, my vote was really against Trump, not for Hillary. Quite frankly, I’ve grown weary of the Clintons as have many of us. After having to put up with his shameful behavior in the 90s it would seem to me that both of them should have sought to maintain a lower profile. But no. Here they are again, on stage far too long.
Seems to me there was an awful lot of wishful thinking going on during the campaign. The Post-Gazette’s Tony Norman, whose pronouncements I usually agree with, wrote, on November 4, “Next week, America will elect its first woman president while kicking an orange-tinged strongman to the curb.” Really?
And he was one of many who jumped to this conclusion as I was thinking, in the words of that presidential candidate of yore, Herman Cain, "Ain’t gonna happen.”
The narrative was never allowed to die or even be questioned. Hillary was going to be the next president. Most women would shun Trump and vote for Hillary. Didn’t happen. Blacks and Latinos would come out in numbers equal to their participation in 2008. Didn’t happen. Obama was new, he was handsome and smart, and he generated excitement, at home and abroad. My husband and I were in Copenhagen one evening during the 2008 campaign when Obama spoke on television. The crowd was enthralled.
To all of you who didn’t bother to go out of the house on Tuesday because “I just don’t like Hillary,” thanks a whole bunch. I hope you’re happy with the result of your decision. Nothing like standing on principle.
Despite what the narrative would have had us believe, plenty of women like Trump just fine, in fact a lot of them were probably turned on by his naughty-boy talk. They probably think he’s “dreamy.” They wouldn’t tell you that, but there it is.
And plenty of others, male and female, are devious. They look you straight in the eye, tell you one thing and turn around and do the opposite. Remember the Bradley Effect? That’s when former L. A. mayor Tom Bradley, who happened to be African-American, was running for governor of California against a fellow named George Deukmejian. So many voters at exit polls said they had voted for Bradley that he seemed to be a shoe-in for the office. George Deukmejian became California’s 35th governor.
The media bought into the Trump-Clinton narrative, and it’s really funny now to hear them contorting themselves in an effort to explain why it didn’t work out the way they thought it would.
Sometimes, Destiny has the last word.