Okay folks we need to have our period of mourning, but then we need to get back up and figure out what our next moves are. The first thing to figure out is why Trump’s message was so appealing and Hillary’s wasn’t appealing to enough people. Trump’s support was wider ranging than most of the pundits predicted and are now acknowledging. Yes there were the racists, white supremacists, and nativists to whom Trump appealed with both actual appeals and dog whistle politics. The upsurge in racial, anti Muslim and anti-immigrant incidents following his election are signs of that. His supporters were either people attracted by his racism or willing to vote for him despite it. Either way they were willing to throw people of color under the bus in order to further their own interests.  They all count as racists in my book. It is effects not intentions that matter. Unless there is a voting upsurge in the number of people who are harmed by this and their white allies, anti-racism and anti-nativism will not be enough to defeat him next time. He also appealed to those whom mainstream politics ignored. Both the Democratic and Republican elites had taken for granted the people of middle America in their plans, ideologies, corruption, and inaction. The Republicans did indeed attract those who felt they were being left behind by arguing they were right to be upset and that the problem was too much government. This fit with the conservative ideology, but it has ultimately not changed life for those who were being left behind. The Democrats also have not taken actions to help these people, but rather been just as much the tools of Wall Street that their Republican counterparts are.

So these people turned to an outsider who said he would listen to them. Trump in words and innuendo cast Hillary as all they hated, the old corruption, a perceived favoritism toward people of color and women, the continuation of the old regime that had failed them. Hillary in her turn did not excite enough white men and women to come out and vote for her. Voters were looking for something new to change from the old which Hillary represented. We all know the final result.

An African revolutionary named Amilcar Cabral once said that a member of the ruling class has to commit “class suicide” that is, to stop thinking of the interests of his class, in order to truly work for the people. Convincing people that a New York billionaire would do this is a massive con job that we will see play out. The presence of lobbyists among his advisers, the tax plan that benefits most the people of his class, the massive tax breaks he wants to give corporations, and the narcissism of his entire life, do not bode well for changes in the lives of his supporters.  It is early but the transition team of Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich that Trump has put together does not augur the change that Trump supporters want or expect. Putting a climate change denier as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Giuliani as Attorney General, Ben Carson in charge of a health department would do little to help his middle and working class supporters or those suburbanites who voted for Trump. Will he do enough to maintain his supporters or will they realize they have been duped. Only time will tell.

In the meantime we will have to endure his dismantling of Obama’s legacy, hope that his belligerence and short temper don’t lead us into war, and trust that the bulwarks already in place will protect the health rights of women and the human rights of the LGBT community. We will have to endure the racist attacks but we have endured them before. We will also have to live through changes in the immigration policy. We don’t yet know how sweeping and far ranging those changes may be. All in all it promises to be a bumpy ride. To ameliorate it we will have to organize not despair. Let’s think of ways to do that.

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