Paradigm shift. It’s painful. to discover that your assumptions about the fundamental workings of things, were wrong. I’ve only ever been emotionally invested in one Presidential election. That was 2012, when Romney lost, and it seemed to me I did not understand my own country. I thought Romney had it in the bag. I thought there was no way the country could sign on for four more years of Obama. I didn’t sleep at all, after Romney conceded. I was in a supremely unhappy state the following day. A great many things made no sense.

I thought, “This is probably how the Kerry voters felt in 2004.”

Now, the pendulum swings again.

I wasn’t invested this time, the way I was four years ago. Mostly because I so disliked both major candidates, I felt like I’d “lost” the instant it became clear Trump or Hillary would claim the Oval Office. I still kinda feel that way, though I confess relief that a known crook such as Hillary has been denied access to the highest levers of power — bad things happen when that lady is given control. Bad things may happen, now that Trump is the man, but there is a degree of chance and uncertainty, whereas Hillary was a known quantity.

So, Tuesday night, I felt like I didn’t really have a dog in this fight, just because Hillary and Donald seemed equivalently unpalatable. But I watched with fascination as Trump did the impossible. Or, rather, Hillary’s true unfitness made voters do the impossible, and vote for Trump.

Then, I watched the unbelieving outpouring of emotion, from Hillary’s faithful. Confusion. Denial. Gradual realization of what was happening. Anger. So much anger. A tidal wave of anger. It could not be happening. It must not be allowed to happen. Who let this happen?! What is wrong with our country that this is happening??!?

Yep, I get it. I really do.

I’ve lived through ten Presidential elections, of which I was old enough to be aware. Six of which I was old enough to vote in. Out of those six, only two times did my choice actually win the Oval Office. I was very bummed when Perot lost — it was my first time — but I was a teenager, and it’s easy to move on when you’re a teenager. By my twenties I was voting Clinton (second term) and then Gore (hanging chads!) and I was bummed about Gore losing too; it’s easy to be a small-l liberal in your twenties. Not until after 9/11 did I really start taking things seriously — talk about a paradigm shift, 9/11 was a life-changer! I was relieved when Bush won the second time (we will be debating the Bush years until I die) and then I wrote in Romney/Rice for 2008; because I knew McCain would get crushed.

Then came 2012, the election I was sure would go to Romney. And when it didn’t, I was supremely bent out of shape. It took me the better part of a week to calm down. It seemed like my countrymen had been offered a clear choice between hope, and doom, and they chose doom. It also seemed like my countrymen had rejected me personally in the process. Or at least, a part of me. The part which had been all in. The part which had given a damn. When Rachel Maddow spent the morning after the Romney loss, gloating, and concern-trolling conservatives and the Republican party, it felt viscerally scalding. She was so pleased with herself and her “team” and she was so eager to rub our (the Romney fans) faces in it. Her smug cup runneth over.

Come November 9, 2016:

Well now . . . . sauce for the goose, and all that.

Probably, Maddow and Co. feel (about the Hillary loss) like I felt about the Romney loss. If the outrage and protesting I am seeing since Tuesday night are an indicator, Maddow’s sentiment is widely shared. Hillary’s fans were all in. They had given a damn. And reality chose to deviate from their expectations.

In the words of Lemongrab, it was (and is) wholly unacceptable.

I get it. I really, really do.

The thing is, American national politics is a pendulum. Every time one “side” thinks they have a permanent majority, or a mandate, or some kind of endless license to ill, or they make a raft of pie-in-the-sky promises, they always overreach, underperform, become embroiled in scandal, then the fortunes reverse. Democrat, to Republican, then back to Democrat, then back to Republican again. Liberal, to conservative, to liberal, to conservative, yadda yadda yadda. It’s probably inevitable in a Republic governing almost 400 million people, all of whom span a spectrum of belief and ideology. If the mechanisms of democracy are functioning correctly, that pendulum should probably keep swinging. Therefore, a Trump win after the Obama years is as predictable as the Obama win after the Bush years.

I know each “side” keeps wishing the pendulum would swing their way, and get stuck. Forever.

But it just ‘aint gonna happen. After living through the Reagan years, then the Clinton years, then the Bush years, then the Obama years, and now come the Trump years, I think I’ve seen this oscillating waveform enough to be certain that it’s going to continue like this for the rest of my life. Maybe, for the rest of my daughter’s life too? And beyond? Again, we’re 400 million people spanning a spectrum of belief and ideology. Barring the instituting of an autocracy, or one half of the spectrum simply dropping out of the vote, these oscillations are baked into the fabric of the country.

I probably won’t ever be all in for a candidate like Romney again. I sorta suspect I learned some things about myself and about this country, during that traumatic loss.

Hopefully, most of the Hillary faithful will learn the same things. And chill out a little bit.


28 thoughts on “Trumpocalypse

  1. One of my biggest worries when I look at beliefs and ideologies is that I fear seeing memes within that belief which lock the belief / ideology into not changing. For the American political system, that means things which prevent the pendulum from swinging. It’s one of the things which scares me the most about the Progressive ideology behind the Social Justice movement, and one of the reasons I’m compelled to oppose it as strongly as possible. If you can’t express your disagreement because you’re privileged, there’s no way to fix things if something goes wrong, and that includes challenging the definition of ‘privileged’.

    There’s a very well reasoned article at Reason ( I disagree with the author on a few things, but I think it’s a decent start. The article’s conclusion, I think, sums up what I’m trying to say: “There is a cost to depriving people of the freedom (in both the legal and social senses) to speak their mind. The presidency just went to the guy whose main qualification, according to his supporters, is that he isn’t afraid to speak his.

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
    – John F. Kennedy

  2. Look at the election results of thelast sixty-four years.Generally speaking there’s been an uncannily repeated pattern. Eight years of Republicans in the White House followed by eight years of Democrats. Eisenhower followed by Kennedy/Johnson followed by Nixon/Ford. The only deviation in the pattern came when Jimmy Carter screwed up wso badly he was ought in four years, to be followed by eight years of Republican rule. Then the pattern reasserted itself. Clinton followed by W followed byObama. So Trump will probably be in for eight years.
    It used to be easy to shrug off election defeats. “Oh, well” the losing side would say, “it’s only for four or eight years. Let’s serve as the loyal opposition and come back next time. But today the two parties are so polarized between the PC/socialist Left and the Tea Party Right that four or eight years out of poweris devastating to the losers.
    I voted for Trump – mostly because I was scared to death of a third Obama term. But toward the end I got the sense that Trump wouldn’t be so bad in office after all. In fact, as the election approached, he started acting more and morevpresidential. I actually look forward to the next four to eight years. I think they’ll be great.

  3. Yes, the pendulum swings back and forth. Yet for every swing to the left, it ratchets down another notch on its clockwork mechanism. Bringing the sharp blade ever closer to our chest, as we wait, and watch, and scream for help.

  4. When I see that picture, and many others, all I can think of is “Conan, what is best in life?”

    I do get it though. Although I suspect that I feel about Trump winning about like I’d have felt if McCain won. I hope that the good will outweigh the bad, but I figure that the sum will be better than the bad that would have happened the other way.

  5. I don’t think the majority of those devastated were all in, hardcore Hillary supporters. I was/am devastated and I’m not at all a Hillary voter or supporter. I’m devastated because a campaign that ran off of instilling fear and promoting violence prevailed, and that, to me, is horrifying.

  6. I think the fervor of Hillary supporters came down to their confusion of moral and political imperative. A lot of people are confused, partly because of American Ideology (i.e. democracy) and partly from other sources, between political needs and moral needs. Most of the liberal intellectuals (and I count myself among them even though I don’t agree with them most of the time) I know believed it was a moral imperative to have a woman president because fifty percent of the population is female. They’re disappointed because in our neighborhoods it was easy to believe that everyone agreed on that. The funny thing is, nobody believed that it was a moral imperative to vote for Carly Fiorina. Only when the candidate agreed with everyone’s propositions did it become “necessary” to elect her. I voted for Hillary just because I didn’t want Trump elected.

    I think this is a wake-up call that social media creates an echo chamber, especially with the news just reporting what people are saying on Facebook and Twitter.

  7. Had I been American I would have held my nose and voted for Hillary as the lesser of two evils. The worst-case scenario for a Trump presidency is too much of a risk, and the way his campaign has empowered and emboldened every knuckle-dragging bigot can’t be understated. Hopefully the checks and balances in the American system will keep him check.

    And you’re right about pendulums, just like Bush’s re-election in 2004 set up Obama’s victory four years later, when Trump screws up the 2020 election will be the Democrat’s to lose.

    Worth paying attention to the way Democrats are reacting. The Arthur Chus and Leigh Alexanders are going into total meltdown, others are doubling down on the middle-class identity politics that cost them the election. But a few of them are beginning to realise just how badly the Democrats and their media allies have screwed up.

  8. Um… The Clinton campaign hired mentally ill homeless people and trained agitators to go to Trump rallies to start fights. Mrs. Clinton personally painted a life-long Democrat as Literally Hitler in order to justify violent assaults against anyone who supported Mr. Trump. Her provocations worked so well that a group of white Clinton supporters beat up a black woman who was openly supporting Mr. Trump.

    The campaign that ran off inciting violence by instilling irrational fear, LOST. You should be happy, even if we conservatives, who had to vote for a narcissistic blow-hard Democrat slut in order to stop her, are sad.

    Yes, a small group of Americans who believed the lies the Clinton machine pumped out: racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semite actually voted FOR Donald Trump.


  9. “The worst-case scenario for a Trump presidency is too much of a risk”

    Okay. I’ll bite. Like Mr Torgersen, I wasn’t happy about either of the choices, but I’d love know what “worst case” than Bengazi or a race war or an executive order abrogation the Bill of Rights looks like.

    You’ve got men going out to die by being tortured to death in order to paint a strike zone for a rescue mission to save the other embassy staff from their fate as Mrs Clinton orders assets to stand down. Then lies a n d gets a filmmaker sent to jail to cover her as s, since she’s the one who denied additional security for the gay ambassador and his team.

    ….and every investigation of her wrong doings are covered up by the press, AND the FBI

    Seriously. I know the various w a year Mrs Clinton can Dilma the U.S. based on w hat she’s done. Share yours.

  10. No worries! You certainly can find videos of Mr. Trump telling his supporters that if someone attacks them, they should hit back twice as hard. I know the progressive philosophy is that when good liberal or socialists attack you, a person ought to stand down. Hitting back, or worse, hitting back harder is really wrong. A lot of conservatives agree with you. Personally, I laugh at those electrified Trump signs.

    So I can’t help you there. Fortunately, the DNCs criminal decisions to incite violence irrespective of anything Mr. Trump might say, and planned months in advance of any venue where he might tell people it’s cool to fight back (even if the people as saluting you are Democrats. I KNOW. Monstrous.) are well documented.

    Here you go:

  11. Hobbit – save your breath/electrons. Progs like ProgMom are impervious to facts, history, and logic.
    Communism/progressivism/leftism/feminism is a religion with several intersecting sects, and she is a devout believer. Facts and logic hold no sway against religious faith and fervor. That’s why all who deviate are declaimed as heretics.

    The only way to relate to them is via a religious conversion, which always require a major emotional event. Of course, as they will be happy to tell you, there is always the option of the auto-da-fe. Never forget that the Klan is one of the armed wings of the Democrat party. And as the joke goes: BLM/BPP: the Klan, now available in black.

  12. Progressive Mom,

    This article details the story of Richard L. Campbell, an elderly man with impaired vision, who was accused of striking an elderly woman at a Trump rally. The article also has the Project Veritas video embedded that explains the practice of “bird dogging”, where mentally-ill people were hired by Scott Foval at the nonprofit Ameicans United for Change to attend Trump rallies and incite violence. Whether or not you think Project Veritas and James O’Keefe are reliable sources, Scott Foval was fired after that video was released.

  13. Jonathan Pie is a liberal, but even he’s realized that the Left is responsible for the rise of Trump:


  14. A lot of people in America are sick and tired of being pushed into the Stupid/Evil box if they do not lockstep 100% with the latest fad in leftist political correctness.
    Religious? You’re Stupid/Evil. Gun owner? Stupid/Evil. Want limited government? Stupid/Evil.
    Why is “Shrewish, Nagging Scold” suddenly the model for Leftist behavior? If your Significant Other dismissed your problems with a nagging lecture, would you stay with them?

  15. Joe in PNG asks: ‘Why is “Shrewish, Nagging Scold” suddenly the model for Leftist behavior?’

    Sir, there is nothing sudden about it. They’ve been doing the exact same thing since Voltaire and Rousseau. The philosophes of the so-called Enlightenment were big on telling the world exactly how to live and what to do, and believed that everything would be perfect if only ‘enlightened despots’ imposed their prescriptions upon the masses. If you’ve read Rousseau, you’ll know what I mean when I say he was the worst shrew in Europe.

  16. With the pendulum swinging back and forth between parties, maybe it’s a sign that as a country, we are consistently unhappy with our politicians. Republicans take over, we grow into discontent and then the Democrats take it back, or vice versa. I think it makes a grand statement about how much faith we have in the politicians and how they run this country. I hadn’t ever really thought about it the way you stated it, but I can see from your article that no matter whom is put in office, they seem to always disappoint.

  17. People are very unhappy with ‘business as usual’, the Republicans have not been following through with their promises when they are elected (witness the last few years and how little they have opposed Obama in any meaningful way)

    With this election, it was less Republican vs Democrat than it was insider vs outsider.

    In both parties, there was a significant outsider in play and the establishment was very opposed to the outsider.

    In the Democratic Party the insiders played crooked and the outsider was squashed (but thanks to wikileaks, they got caught)

    In the Republican party the outsider won (in spite of the establishment’s opposition)

    Over the next couple of years, we will see if the Republican Establishment can shift to work with the outsiders, if not, they will be thrown out.

    We will also see what happens in the Democratic Party, do they split with some forming a Socialist party? or does the entire party move further left? Or will things work ‘normally’ now that there isn’t a Clinton involved?

  18. I should be very chary of predicting that there won’t be a Clinton involved. Clinton expellas furca, tamen usque recurret, as Horace used to say. ‘You can chuck a Clinton out with a pitchfork, but she always comes back.’ (For some reason, this phrase is often misquoted. I blame translators who didn’t know they had Clintons in ancient Rome.)

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