Let me tell you about my life since Donald Trump won the Republican primary. I voted against Trump in June because of his history as an unreliable conservative and longtime supporter of big government. I voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson in the general election. Yet I have had this dark presence that has shadowed me. Wherever I have gone, I have been put in the position of explaining or defending Trump by people who saw it as my duty to denounce The Donald.
On the radio and in speaking appearances, it has fallen to me to explain to Bay Area audiences why someone who is not a complete idiot would vote for Trump. I can only assume that my questioners don’t know any Trump voters — other than relatives they must endure over cocktails during holidays.
To mention that Trump was preferable on regulation, Obamacare or the U.S. Supreme Court was to invite scorn. How dare anyone conjure up issues when Trump’s rhetoric is so divisive?
I’ve watched countless hours of cable news, during which reporters grilled Republicans about whether they would vote for Trump in November. Never once did I see a reporter demand that Democrats disclose whether they would vote for Clinton, even though she had set up home-brew servers for State Department emails and then deleted thousands of those emails after they were under subpoena.
All you heard was nagging about Trump, Trump, Trump.
On panels, it has been my job to watch liberals excoriating Trump as a racist, sexist bigot. It never occurred to these fine fellows that American voters might support him. Sure, they winked, he won the Neanderthal GOP primary, but he could never win the popular vote. His appeal, they knew, was limited to angry white men who didn’t go to college.
I was wrong, too. I thought Trump most likely would lose and also that he could cost Republicans control of the Senate. I believed the polls.
San Francisco sure believed those polls. How many times did I watch Democrats agree that it would be better if Clinton won big? As Chris Lehane, a former aide to Al Gore and now a lobbyist for Airbnb, told the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board, if Clinton won big, Republicans would have to face reality. If the election were tight, on the other hand, both sides would learn nothing and just go back to their corners.
I did not agree. A big win for Clinton would justify her bad decisions and her grabby ways. As I write this and Trump seems poised to win the Electoral College, I don’t think many Democrats are hoping that Trump wins really big — for the good of the country.
I remain dubious about whether Trump is up to the job of president. On the other hand, it is possible that winning the White House will humble Trump and make him a better man. Whereas with Clinton, we know that power corrupts.
Here’s where the media really got it wrong. Most people in the press never thought Clinton’s baggage would hurt her chances. Me, I thought Hillary Clinton would be a terrible president. And guess what. So did a huge chunk of American voters.
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