Three opinion pieces with excellent breakdowns of the approaching day-after-the-election: the beginning or continuation of a “what just happened?” moment … better said, “What is happening?”
“The city on a hill
Must it be this way? Once you start throwing mud in politics, it is very hard to stop. Yet, every so often, you get a glimpse of something better. When Todd Akin lost a winnable Senate seat in 2012, after haplessly trying to draw a distinction between “legitimate rape” and the not so legitimate sort, Republican candidates and political consultants took notice.
Such a realisation needs to strike home on a grand scale. Healthy politics is not gang warfare. It involves compromise, because to yield in some areas is to move forward in others. It is about antagonists settling on a plan, because to do nothing is the worst plan of all. It requires the insight that your opponent can be honourable and principled, however strongly you disagree. The 2016 election campaign has poured scorn on such ideas. All Americans are worse off as a result.”
David Mastio, a libertarianish conservative, is the deputy editor of USA TODAY’s Editorial Page. Jill Lawrence, a center-leftish liberal, is the commentary editor of USA TODAY. Follow them on Twitter @DavidMastio and @JillDLawrence.
Mastio: Inaugurating the first woman president was always going to change things in the United States, but the question was how much. Our first black president has changed America, but it is still the country I remember from 2008. That’s in part because Barack Obama’s presidential opponents were basically pretty decent guys. Donald Trump is not. What we are going to witness over the next few weeks is what Obama’s 2008 campaign would have been like if Obama had been running against unrepentant segregationist George Wallace and not maverick Sen. John McCain. The next few weeks may see the Sweet Meteor of Death bring the Masculicine Era to an end. What comes after will include far bigger changes in relations between the sexes than we saw in relations between the races from 2009 to 2016.
Lawrence: In the best possible world, the Trump crackup will be one of those moments where the entire country says, My God, what were we thinking? The Republican Party will rededicate itself to voting rights and political compromise, and let go of its slavish attachment to supply-side economics. Parents who wore “Hillary is a c—“ when they brought their children to Trump rallies will repent. College campuses will allow all kinds of speakers and communication. We will all re-learn the difference between “political correctness” and simply being civil to our neighbors and fellow Americans. And Democrats will not gloat. It’s true they did not nominate a Trump-like presidential candidate, but that bar is subterranean.
And this from John McCain’s 2008 campaign manager:
A GOP strategist explains why the Republican Party is about to break in two – Steve Schmidt — a GOP consultant who worked on George W. Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004 and ran John McCain’s campaign in 2008 — thinks it very well might be.
The Trump campaign is over — Hillary Clinton is going to be elected president. The question that remains here, the open question, is the degree of the collateral damage, right? The Republicans are going to lose the US Senate. The question is how many seats can they lose in the House. It is possible but not probable yet that they lose the House majority. So the question is, how far below 40 percent is Trump in the popular vote?
Then there’s a long-term implication for the civic life of the country, the vandalism being done, which will culminate for the first time in American history with his refusal to make an ordinary concession where he grants to the winner legitimacy by recognizing the legitimacy of the election. I think it’s very clear he’s going to go out saying it’s a rigged system.
I think what you’re gonna see is Steve Bannon monetizing 30 percent of the electorate into a UKIP-style movement and a billion-dollar media business.
And I think the Republican Party has an outstanding chance of fracturing. There will be the alt-right party; then there will be a center-right conservative party that has an opportunity to reach out, repair damage, and rebuild the brand over time. America, ideologically right now, is a centrist country — it used to be a center-right country — but it’s by no means a Bernie Sanders country. Not even close. The market will demand a center-right party.
The last implication for it behaviorally is it exposes at such a massive scale and at such magnitude the hypocrisy of the Tony Perkinses and the Jerry Falwell Jrs. and the Pat Robertsons. These people are literally the modern-day Pharisees, they are the money changers in the temple, and they will forever be destroyed from a credibility perspective.
There are millions of decent, faithful, committed evangelicals in this country who have every right to participate in the political process. But this country doesn’t ever need to hear a lecture from any one of these people [Perkins, Falwell, etc.] again on a values issue, or their denigration of good and decent gay people in this country.