Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Way He Won Is Part of the Problem

I have lots of thoughts about what happened and I will keep most of them to myself.  But the one that I want to emphasize is that among the reasons Trump's victory is so crushing is the way it was achieved.  He lied, bullied, and whined his way to the White House.  He benefited from Russian interference with our democracy.  The Republicans will get a Supreme Court seat because of their tactic of denying Obama a hearing for his nominee.  Basically there was a tremendous amount of bad behavior leading up to this and it worked.  It would have been bad enough if it didn't work, but unenforced norms soon cease to be norms at all.

That brings me to my second point (and final one for now), which is that many of the safeguards of our democracy ultimately rest on the will of the voters.  There's no rule that a candidate has to release tax returns, there is just the prospect of being punished by the voters.  There's no rule that a candidate has to promise to respect the election results, but it has long been considered beyond the pale to question the legitimacy of democratic results.

And voters, the only people who could ultimately enforce these norms, chose not to do so.  And so they share the blame.  No understanding of what has happened will be complete without grasping the culpability of the millions of people who knew what Trump was and voted for him anyway.  Yes, he lost the popular vote, but he got close enough to win, and that is to the voters' eternal shame.


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