These are some of my initial thoughts because I’m still digesting the many different narratives going off in my head.
Firstly, this is not the time for hubris and self-pity. People lamenting ‘what have we become’ reveal a deep ignorance of some of the biggest issues facing America. Likewise, they have also lost touch with a great part of their country. The ‘America-is-the-best country’ mentality has also played its part in this ignorance and discourages any critical reflection on what is actually happening. People who are claiming they will decant to Canada are not only ignorant of these problems but refuse to engage or deal with them in any way. There has been a loss of American solidarity.
Claiming that these people are stupid, racist, homophobic and sexist also drives a deeper wedge between that part of America that is educated, employed and urban and that part which is poor, rural and left behind by globalisation. It obscures the problem of why these people voted the way they did, and consequently the problem will continue to be ignored.
These attitudes and flash judgments are also no better than racial and sexist prejudices. Clinton supporters bemoan that racists have taken over politics, but many people voting for Trump aren’t primarily doing it because they hate gay and black people, but because they don’t trust the establishment and because no one has done anything about their impoverished, rural community.
Secondly, I am incredibly sad about the result. I recognise that Trump is a misogynist etc. and I realise that to an extent, his presidency will legitimise these attitudes and is a big step backwards. That’s why it’s even more concerning that the people voting for him were willing to overlook this. Some have quoted him as an imperfect deliverer of change in America. Desperate, these people will take Trump as he is, as long as America really does become great again. The silver lining is that maybe this will be a big wake-up call to those who live in areas more like Wall Street and Silicon Valley and less like Middletown, Ohio. It could, conversely, just further divide the country, and that will be a sign that America has not learned its lesson.
Thirdly, (this can be a major player and I’m not just offering it out of consolation) the GOP now controls the Senate and House and having spent the entire campaign distancing themselves from Trump, it’s hard to see how Trump will get many of his promises through Congress.