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No One Took Him Seriously

All of our ignorance and burying our heads in the sand enabled a man who is sexist, xenophobic, racist, egotistical, and extremely unqualified to occupy the most prestigious office in the world.

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Drawing by Molly Goldman

Drawing by Molly Goldman

Drawing by Molly Goldman

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November 8, 2016… a day that will go down in history as the day that, for better or worse, voters elected Donald J. Trump to be the 45th president of the United States.

If you would have told me last year that I would be typing that sentence, I would have called you crazy and asked you if you were living in some parallel universe, perhaps one in which the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Cubs were world champions.

Alas, the polls, which predicted a win for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, were wrong, and Trump took several key swing states, including Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, on his way to the most shocking and improbable victory since Truman beat Dewey in 1948.

Trump will be the first president to have no prior political experience since Dwight D. Eisenhower, a war hero, took office in 1952.  When he takes office on January 20, Trump will also be the first president to have no political or military experience and the oldest man to ever take office at the ripe old age of 70 years and 220 days, besting Ronald Reagan’s 69 years and 349 days when he took office on the same day in 1981.

No one thought Trump had a chance. When he announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015–what seems like eons ago–announcing that he would build a wall on the border, and when he later suggested that Mexican immigrants were rapists and thieves, it almost seemed like a sick joke. Did he not want to get elected?

It was something a fascist dictator would say, not a candidate for leader of the free world.

When he said that he wouldn’t rule out running as a third-party candidate, a statement that proved that he was truly looking out for himself, no one took him seriously.

When he said he was going to build a wall on the southern border to keep illegal immigrants out of the United States, making Mexico pay for it and creating a symbol that would serve as a reminder of the hatred in this country, no one took him seriously.

When he proposed banning Muslim immigrants from entering this country, an act which seemed like something that could only occur in a dystopian novel, no one took him seriously.

When he implied that Rafael Cruz, the father of Ted Cruz, his main rival in the Republican race, was somehow involved in the assassination of JFK, no one took him seriously.

When he mocked a reporter with disabilities, no one took him seriously.

When he suggested that a judge’s Mexican heritage made him biased, no one took him seriously.

When he repeatedly bragged about “liking” war and knowing “more about ISIS than the generals,” no one took him seriously.

During the debates, when he came across as outmatched and outwitted in by an admittedly boring and tame but nevertheless well-prepared Hillary Clinton, no one took him seriously.

When sexual assault allegations were brought against him by many women, making it clear that an early accusation wasn’t an isolated case, no one took him seriously.

Even in the days leading up to the election, when Trump appeared as confident as ever, yet repeatedly stated that he wouldn’t accept any result in which he didn’t win, no one took him seriously.

All of our ignorance and burying our heads in the sand enabled a man who is sexist, xenophobic, racist, egotistical, and extremely unqualified to occupy the most prestigious office in the world.

The thing is, so many people, even many of his supporters, didn’t actually think that he would win. To many, four more years of a divided government was the better alternative to having this egomaniac in office.

That’s not to say that Hillary Clinton didn’t play a role in this election. Her inability to inspire, to actually weave a coherent message together for the American people, to appeal to anyone in the white, working class population that Trump exploited so much, ultimately led to her downfall.

His ability to weaponize hateful and prejudicial speech, not only turning it into a rallying cry, but an actual attraction, rivals some of the great demagogues in history. He is so effective at this, that, sitting in my English class the morning of November 9, there were kids, particularly minorities, crying, presumably fearful for the future of our country.”

Despite his shortcomings, Trump also deserves some credit. His ability to repeatedly shoot himself in the foot with extremely ridiculous and asinine lies and comments and still not end up on the short end of the stick places him somewhere between the Kardiac Kids and the Chicago Cubs when it comes to resiliency. The man was counted out more times than anyone could count, and still won.

His ability to completely eschew some Republican traditions on issues such as free trade and Congressional term limits have turned the party on its head, transforming it into a new type of monster that only answers to Trump himself.

His ability to weaponize hateful and prejudicial speech, not only turning it into a rallying cry, but an actual attraction, rivals some of the great demagogues in history.

He is so effective at this, that, sitting in my English class the morning of November 9, there were kids, particularly minorities, crying, presumably fearful for the future of our country.

The die-hard coalition that he has stitched together, combining the religious right, Tea Party, white working-class, and many other (predominantly) white groups will continue to be a major force in politics for the foreseeable future.

In this way, we are watching him join with the Washington establishment he campaigned so feverently against, creating a legacy that has transformed one of the major two political parties in an inconceivable way.

However, what will happen if he can’t deliver on the many things he has promised?

The wall on the border seems like a pipe dream; congressional term limits are not going to pass through Congress anytime soon, and negotiating trade deals doesn’t work like negotiating with a contactor or labor union.

If Trump can’t deliver on his promises, he will face a very angry electorate, a Democratic party ready to pounce, and, perhaps worst of all in his devilish eyes, failure, something that “The Donald” isn’t normally accustomed to.

One thing is for certain–Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States of America. What isn’t certain, however, is what that means for our future. Hellish dystopia, or angelic paradise? We shall see during the reign of President Trump.

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No One Took Him Seriously