It is approaching midnight Eastern Standard Time in the US and the election is very tight. However, the chances now do not look good for Clinton or the USA. The best current hope is a narrow win for Clinton but the odds now look good for a Trump win. Either way the vital result of a sound defeat for Trump is not on the cards. That alone means the nastier sections of the US right will feel emboldened.
While it isn’t for me to tell left-wing Americans what to do, I personally need to do something cathartic and write down some thoughts. Ignore, dispute, cogitate over as you see fit.
- Many sections of American society that were already vulnerable to marginalization, intimidation or violence will be more so. Supporting one another has to be a priority – finding ways of limiting the attacks and holding the bullies to account has to be a priority.
- Don’t spend time on recriminations around third party voters. It isn’t that they didn’t help contribute to the situation but rather it is important to see that it is a distraction and it also detracts from point 1. Alliances and support matter.
- Don’t meltdown – organize.
- Avoid infighting but don’t compromise on your beliefs and principles either. Spend your energy wisely and remember point 1.
The above is all true if Clinton wins narrowly. A close win for Clinton won’t change the above. If Trump wins remember:
- All those points above but more so.
- Trump will be a disaster – that isn’t good news because disastrous government impacts greatest on the most vulnerable but it does mean that every election, at every level of government for the next four years will be against the backdrop of an incompetent president.
Beyond the US? This will be tough. The extreme right have been emboldened by Brexit and will emboldened by any electoral gains Trump makes. Point 1 matters where ever you are.Point 3 matters where ever you are.
For the rest of us outside the US, if Trump wins do NOT let right leaning or centrist (or left leaning!) governments normalize or legitimize him. His kind of politics is infectious and weaker countries will be tempted to emulate him. The US Democrats have all sorts of political, constitutional, and societal reasons why they will need to accept the vote for Trump as legitimate. The rest of us are not under the same obligations. Britain, Australia, Canada in particular – our governments have rubber stamped too many bad foreign policy decisions from the US in the past, do NOT let our governments forget what kind of man Trump is if he gains power.