November 9, 2016. I doubt it will rise to the significance of the same day in 1799, which saw Napoleon Bonaparte declare himself the ruler of France, but the next four years have the potential to be significant for America and the world. Today we learned Donald Trump has won the Presidency of the United States and he is not inclined to have a quiet term in office.
There is going to be a great deal written in the next few weeks about what the election of Trump means about where Americans want to go as a nation. Obviously Hilary Clinton was not an inspiring candidate. That certainly did not help. However, I don’t think this election was about Clinton losing. Trump’s use of the media to remain in constant public sight was probably more significant. However, the real story of this election, to my mind, is about Trump holding the same beliefs about what is wrong with the direction of this country as the average American, or at least the average working-class white American.
There are clear social and economic dimensions to the election of Trump. Americans (or a large subset of Americans) are tired of liberals making anyone opposed to their ideas out to be a bad person. Social Justice Warriors are annoying to many Americans. The transgender push has concerned and alienated many people who would probably be fine with tolerating transgender people, but will and have pushed back against the notion that anything less than a full embrace of transgender principles makes a person an evil bigot. No one is going to put up with that attitude forever, and November 8th was the day Americans said enough.
The economic issue is equally simple. Most people don’t have degrees in economics or history. It is well known that many American manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas. Those jobs formed the basis of the industrial economy that many American working-class people relied upon for good, relatively high-paying jobs. If global trade takes those jobs away, then it is bad. People want an industrial economy again.
There could be some good things that come from an effort to rebuild the industrial base. America should be a better place to do business than it is. Lowering the corporate tax rate is essential, and cutting red tape is very good. The plan overall sounds very good. The biggest problem with his economic plan is still how to pay for it. Tax cuts are great, more spending is great, but balancing the books via magic? That never works out.
Regarding foreign policy, it is never important to an election. Trump could do well in reconciling with Russia, and beyond that I hesitate to guess. Economic power drives military power, so I consider growing the economy a priority. American soft power will survive Trump. America will manage.
It is time for Americans across the political spectrum to join together and try to make the next four years a success. That has been my biggest knock on Trump: his limitations as an executive. That means that other people will need to take up the slack. More citizens should get involved in politics and make their own contributions. People who are skilled in policy and the economy should be looking to see if they can get involved with the Trump economic plan in some way. Regardless of whether or not you supported or opposed Trump, Hilary Clinton had it right when she said his success is our success. The next four years will be a high-risk, high-reward historic opportunity. Don’t waste it.