Donald Trump Won, No Matter What Happens Next.
This election showed us the real America (again).
My brother-in-law leaves his keys in the ignition at night. “Who in the world would want to steal my car?” I tell him, “Someone who doesn’t have one? Someone who would chop it up and sell the parts for cash?”
This is my family in a nutshell. It tells you a lot about America, and especially white people. It doesn’t matter what our politics are. A lot of us just can’t imagine anything bad ever happening.
Half my family can’t be bothered to think about current events at all. They don’t recycle. The rest of them definitely voted for Trump. I did my best to convince them, and it wasn’t enough. Some of them don’t even understand why we’re staying home for Christmas this year, instead of driving 12 hours across a pandemic-stricken country.
They think we’re overreacting.
The bottom line here is that millions of us spent the last several months in a panic about Trump stealing the election. Now we can’t believe what we’re seeing. He doesn’t even have to try.
America Is The Land of Instant Streaming.
A second Trump victory makes no sense, until you think about what America’s really like. We’re not the land of the free, or the home of the brave. We’re the land of fast-food chains and 24-hour Walmarts.
We’re the land of Starbucks and Amazon Prime. We’re the land of instant streaming.
When you put it that way, it doesn’t matter who wins. Millions of Americans are perfectly fine working from home all day and binge-watching their favorite shows all night. They complained a little at first, then they settled right in. They love making fun of Trump and his over the top, showboat personality. They find his abusive tweets wildly entertaining.
Deep down, they think nothing he does will ever have any true bearing on their lives one way or the other.
The real winner in all this is clear. It’s Donald Trump, and everyone who thinks like him. Even if he loses the election, even if he goes to jail, he won. He figured out what America really wants.
He delivers it on demand, 24–7.
Donald Trump Remade America in His Image.
There’s a small chance Trump will lose when all the mail-in ballots are counted. It still doesn’t matter. A simple victory wasn’t enough this time.
We needed a landslide over Trump, in order to reject everything he and his party stand for. We needed to send a message loud and clear that his cruelty and lack of compassion had no place in twenty-first-century America. We missed that shot by a mile.
Instead we’re getting a cage fight that legitimizes Trump’s first four years in office, and how he got there.
Turns out, a lot of Americans were like Trump on the inside. They were selfish and arrogant. They were lazy and judgmental. They were racist and homophobic. They were loud and aggressive. They were waiting for someone to give them permission to show it.
Trump did just that. He’s shown everyone that you can get away with just about anything, as long as you don’t have a conscience.
We Almost Deserve Trump Again.
Given the stakes, this race was too close.
As I write this, 60 million people have voted for a man who spent the last four years playing golf and tweeting. This is the same man who calls one of our smartest scientists an idiot.
Can you believe that? 60 million.
In the aftermath, it’s obvious why so many people voted for Trump. You don’t need a political science degree. You just need to live in the deep south. We get it. We were trying to be optimistic, but part of us always knew a Trump victory could happen, both in 2016 and now. When people vote they do it for their own selfish, completely illogical reasons.
They vote over abortion. They think they’re going to be rich one day, probably by winning the lottery. They don’t want to pay higher taxes when that happens, if it ever does. They vote to “own the libs.”
Watching millennials cry puts a smile on their faces. For people like that, nothing else matters.
All of these are terrible reasons. Trump voters know this. They don’t care. They don’t pay attention to policy platforms. If they don’t vote out of greed, they do it out of spite.
Trump Manipulates American Selfishness.
We have definitive proof now.
Half of Americans are just like Trump. They want what’s best for themselves, at everyone else’s expense. They grow up thinking they can be anything. They believe they can do anything. They insist that they deserve everything, right now. They’ll go to great lengths to preserve this illusion.
If they don’t get what they want, they demand to speak to the manager. It goes downhill pretty fast after that.
They hate waiting.
This is why they put up with companies like Amazon. They empathize with Jeff Bezos, not his workers.
It’s why they tolerate toxic politicians. Cruel leaders help create a world where the privileged can have whatever they want, as long as what they want is a bunch of cheap plastic stuff. They feel a little guilty sometimes, but not enough to change their behavior.
Trump Taps into Positive Thinking.
Donald Trump somehow manages to hurl abuse at people while also tapping into the magic of positive thinking. That’s because he understands how positive thinking works in America.
It’s not about being a good person.
It’s about believing in your own brilliance to the point that you overpower reality. It’s about curing mental illness with happy thoughts. It’s about beating cancer with meditation and juice cleanses, even if that didn’t work for the guy who invented the iPhone.
The trick is getting everyone else to buy into positive thinking. When you do that, they’ll support your delusion.
That’s how Trump keeps winning. People vote for him because if he can win without doing any real work, it means they can also achieve whatever their heart desires without doing anything to earn it.
That’s the real American dream.
Trump Works Magic with Privilege.
It’s debatable whether or not Trump is a political genius. One thing’s for sure, he’s managed to gain more for himself while doing less work than any elected official in history. It’s almost brilliant.
Deep down, Trump understands how privilege works. He knows that despite millions of Americans who want fairness to rule, there’s an arguably greater number who just want to hold on to the advantages they have. They don’t want to have to work any harder.
They won’t admit that. They probably aren’t even self-aware enough to know that’s what they really think.
It’s the ugly truth.
Trump Excuses Americans from Responsibility.
For a lot of us, it’s a bad thing when Trump and Pence stand in front of crowds and declare that racism doesn’t exist.
It sounds almost insane.
Now we see, for a second time, that a giant swath of Americans breathe a sigh of relief. They’re happy to play along.
A lot of Americans are simply afraid to admit that bias and prejudice make life harder for large groups of the population. They’re scared that if they acknowledge the existence of systemic injustice, that it might diminish their own accomplishments. They’re worried they’ll have to give a little something back, or make space for someone else.
That’s too hard for them.
They’re not willing to concede that privilege might’ve played a role in getting them where they are. It’s easier to pretend that life is fair to everyone. So they talk about grit and resilience. They go on about how all life requires is hard work and stoic confidence. That’s a more convenient narrative to live by than anti-racism. It makes life simpler.
Trump Lets Americans Ignore Reality.
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about true economic reform, healthcare, race, or climate change. All of these problems require tough choices and hard sacrifices now, for a better future down the road.
Most Americans don’t like thinking this way.
They want immediate gains and instant gratification, even if part of them knows it’s smoke and mirrors. They want just enough comfort and false hope to hide in for a few more years.
Say what you want about family values. Most Americans are happy to let their children and grandchildren deal with the bleak reality of climate change. It doesn’t matter how red the sky gets in San Francisco, as long as they don’t see it when they look up at their own. Above all, Americans want permission to believe everything’s going to be just fine.
America Has a Feature, Not a Bug.
We thought 2016 was a fluke, a glitch.
We thought 2020 would set things right again. Now we’re really starting to see what’s going on, if we didn’t before.
Trumpism isn’t a bug.
It’s a feature that we’ve been ignoring for a long time. This feature allows a white, self-proclaimed billionaire to steal an election and then spend four entire years squandering our future. It lets him inject fascism deep into our culture while taking away our rights, our jobs, and our healthcare. Millions of Americans will sigh and give him a second term. They’ll throw their hands up like there’s no better option out there.
Half of Americans are willing to completely screw over the other half, including their own kids, because they think they’ve got a shot at making it into the 1 percent. They would rather destroy everyone’s future than let one woman have an abortion. If it’s not any of those reasons, they just can’t pass up a chance to stick it to liberals.
That’s America. One gigantic disappointment.