We could wait to post something here on the Trump Election until we have processed the shock. But we should have a place to discuss how to make sense of this, and think about how to go from here. So here are my two cents; I am sure other Timberites will give us more matured reactions later.
I listened to Trump’s speech this morning. The good thing is that he was no longer, as an agitator, telling people to now go and find Hillary and all those evil journalists and teach them a lesson. He even thanked Hillary for all the hard work she had done. But will his supporters also be able to make the switch he made between Trump-the-Campaigner to Trump-the-President? He called for national unity, even though to my ears, it didn’t sound sincere. How can it sound sincere, after such a (verbally) violent campaign?
As to substance, his only plan is a nationalistic economic plan. And he’s even too cowardly (or uncaring about being honest or consistent) to tell his voters that this will only be possible by massively raising taxes (or will he first invade some other countries, and get the money there?) Trump wants jobs for everyone, which is a good thing – although he only mentioned jobs in public infrastructure works, which sounds like predominantly jobs for men. But then we know how much he cares about women’s interests.
He has also announced a tougher stance internationally. This is really worrying. Given his wicked character, the constant lies, the complete disrespect for facts, and his taking fun in bullying people and insulting them – how will he act as a word leader, or even, more modestly, as a player in foreign affairs? We should take seriously the risk of a Trump presidency ending in a large international conflict. The US voters elected Trump, but it will affect the rest of the world too.
Perhaps the greatest significance of Trump’s speech was the issues about which he did not speak. Nothing on moral leadership, reducing global inequalities, increasing the quality of public education, combatting unequal opportunities, making sure people are not just having jobs but also are not being poor, support for the disabled and vulnerable citizens, public policies to protect the non-material dimensions of the quality of life, and, – for humanity at large, the horrible issue of having zero ambitions to do something about climate change, let alone to take responsibility for harms already done. And for the US, there is of course the issue of the Supreme Court.
So, if this is what’s waiting for us, what can progressives do? How can we get into a conversation with those who voted for Trump? How can we address their legitimate concerns while convincing them that Trump’s promised policies are not the solution? How can we organise nationally and internationally?