Wednesday morning sitrep: Republican Executive. Republican Senate. Republican House. Democratic party shattered and leaderless. Press in the weakest state it has ever been, financially and culturally. A totally ineffectual far-left. A newly energized far-right, and a bolstered middle-right that can once again lean back into the protective fat of its psychotic right flank. One Supreme Court seat open, several more in the offing.
And just yesterday morning, we thought we were winning.
Here's one of many sentences I never thought I would type: Paul Ryan actually said it best when he said that "Donald Trump heard a voice out in this country that no one else heard." That's not entirely true, of course—nothing Paul Ryan says is entirely true. But it's an apt metaphor for the fact that America is still at least two countries. Two countries, roughly equal in population, with a limitless contempt for each other. Every so often we choose a presidential candidate that represents the absolute pinnacle of what the other side despises most.
They got Bush, we got Obama. And now we're all going to have Trump, in large part because two generations of right-leaning rural and suburban Americans have been inculcated with the false belief that Hillary is the living embodiment of corruption and criminality (a Republican conspiracy so effective that most liberals can't entirely dismiss it).
Is it worse that Trump won, or that he was right all along? That's an easy one to answer: It's worse that he won. Of course it is. We will have four years of seeing him, hearing him, eating the daily portion of shit that his mediocre existence represents. But it was a comfort to imagine how he would spend the rest of his life having to live down the disgraceful way he conducted his campaign. Now he'll have a presidential library. It's too horrible to contemplate, and too horrible to stop contemplating.
Supreme Court Justice Giuliani.
Secretary of State Gingrich.
There's not one glimmer of good news in the whole package.
Here's another sentence I never thought I would type: There is some tiny consolation in the President-elect's utter lack of political conviction, ideology, principle, or character. He ran on misogyny, racism, and xenophobia, but those traits are only incidental to his fundamental nature, which is pathological narcissism. His "base" will gradually begins to realize that the things he has promised them—jobs, security, a wall between the US and Mexico, the defeat of ISIS, "greatness"—are literally not possible for him, or anyone, to deliver. And they will turn on him, and he on them, and the spectacle will be every bit as disgusting as you can imagine. His flame-out will be astonishing. And this time, they won't have a Clinton to blame it on.
I don't pretend that tiny consolation means much in the face of the overwhelming tidal shift back to the enshrinement of bigotry, sexism, stupidity, and inequality in all forms that Trump's victory represents. You don't get a black president, even a moderate, reasonable one like Barack Obama, without having to eat shit for it from the army of ignorant podunk dipshits that just banded together to elect the worst motherfucker in America to the most powerful position in the world.
After the shock dissipates, we're all going to hear all kinds of calls for empathy and bridge-building with Trump Nation. We're going to be asked to understand the "real reasons" people voted for him, beyond our generalizations about their bigotry. Pardon me, but I say fuck that. I urge you all to hang up on those calls.
Not because there isn't something to understand, and not because the future doesn't depend on an increased sense of common cause between the Urban Archipelago and the Mall of America. But that common cause has to include a reckoning, and the reckoning isn't ours to make.
On the moral scale, the bigotry inherent in the endorsement of Trump outweighs other considerations. Just as Trump's record as a president (sentence number 598 I never thought I would type) will forever be marred by the disgraceful way he shell-gamed his way into the White House.
I'm in favor of empathy, and I am 100% on board with the idea that the old way no longer works. But the call for Trumpathy is a trap. Last night on MSNBC, once the tide had unmistakably turned, Chris Matthews compared working with Trump to being a Vichy collaborator in Nazi-occupied France.
But it is essential to remember that even though this defeat has registered with a nuclear magnitude, the margin of it was actually fairly small. There actually aren't more of them than there are of us. Clinton won the popular vote—again by a small margin, but still.. You can feel outnumbered and isolated in a world that doesn't make any sense. But you're not. You are not.
(P.S., Confidential to the seven million people who didn't vote yesterday: Go fuck yourselves. Third party voters—especially for those cretinous candidates: You can go fuck yourselves, too. Perhaps you can do it in front of all political pollsters, who are similarly encouraged to go fuck themselves. One last time: Polls that claim to measure people's opinions and actions are not, have never been, and can never be scientific. They're a mentalism act. They're astrology. They exert a very dangerous influence on our culture and our journalism. Let them be hereby discredited forever.)
Trump might be mere folly, or he might be Nero. Either way, we have to fight him. It's up to us to spend every minute of the next four years actively engaged in opposing the self-destruction, hatefulness, and stupidity that brought him to power. Everything that matters most—from women's reproductive rights to everyone's health care to law enforcement to climate change to the goddamn English fucking language—is on the table, and all the most powerful people at that table are butchers and clowns. Our resistance, our contempt, our will to refuse to comply have never been more important.
It may be true that Trump heard a voice no one else heard, it's up to us to make sure that everyone now hears a more righteous one.