I keep going back to the 2016 election. It was close, very close. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by about 3 million plus votes. The electoral count was not as close as it would be with a winner take all system. Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania went for Trump by small vote totals. Biden has flipped those states this year and the margins are bigger in favor of Biden.
Hillary Clinton conceded to Donald Trump as the vote counts pushed him over the top. There was a proper acknowledgement by the loser to the winner and we moved on.
Was the country divided? Yes, we were, and we are after every election. The job of the incoming president is to work to heal the nation and bring us together. This never happened with Donald Trump. He acted from his first day in office like his political fortunes would best be served by attacking the more than half the country that did not vote for him. He kept up the attacks for the last four years. For Trump, it has always been a tribal war, his tribe against the other tribe. He did not want to be president for all Americans, just for his tribe.
Yet, there were no challenges presented to the election of 2016. There was a peaceful and orderly transfer of power. Yes, there was profound disappointment, but the transfer of power that has been a hallmark of our democracy worked liked it always has.
Vote counters were not threatened. Clinton supporters did not threaten a civil war or make statements like, “…this is what the 2nd Amendment is for…”
Our politics are toxic and it needs to stop. The biggest threat we face is ourselves. When over 70 million Americans cannot recognize a lack of honesty, a lack of any decency, not so subtle bigotry and racism, and are willing to use force and armed force to overturn an election, we have a big problem. How do you raise children to grow up and be good citizens when the standards and integrity of many adults are so low?
To be honest, and this is my opinion here, I do not think very many of the Trump supporters understand and base their support on policy. I think many of the Trump supporters are almost like “groupies.” And for many, their support of Trump is like poking a finger in the eye of the rest of America.
When the Trump base was first referred to as a cult, I was skeptical of this description. I am not any more. I think it will be hard for the next Republican presidential candidate to gather this cult even with a full adoption of Trumpism.
The bigger challenge for the Republican party will be reconciling the party to “Trumpism” post Trump. Trumpism does not reconcile to Republican philosophy. The GOP would have to go through a major metamorphosis to adopt the national populism that is Trumpism. I do not see this metamorphosis happening.
And best of all, there are more of us that are rejecting the politics of division and hatred. There is a chance for America to heal and find a middle ground.