icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle


With Apologies to Peter King: Some Things I Think I Think

As the election gives way to the transition, feelings are still raw on both sides; heads continue to be scratched on one side and chests thumped on the other - although even the chest-thumpers include among the ranks plenty who are more than a mite apprehensive about what has been done and what lies ahead. Amidst all the recriminations and autopsies, both sides are still talking past each other and neither seems to be doing a great deal of soul-searching. Many are missing the fact that it is entirely possible that a number of seemingly contradictory statements can all be true:

* It is simultaneously possible, for example, that FBI Director James Comey's letters played a significant, perhaps decisive, role in tipping the election against Hillary Clinton (the second, seemingly exonerating her on the eve of the election, perhaps even more so than the first, as it played into some Trump supporters' views that the "system is rigged") and also that, had Clinton not been so fantastically flawed a candidate, those letters would not have had such an impact or even been written.

* It is simultaneously possible that Russia did indeed play a role in attempting to "hack" the election, most notably perhaps via its procuring material and giving to Wikileaks, and that, again, had Clinton not been so awful a candidate with so much material to be used against her, it wouldn't have made a difference. It is also entirely possible that ultimately it didn't matter at all, and those who pulled the levers for Trump would have done anyway.

* It is simultaneously possible that the media did a singularly dreadful job - not least in that it was grossly disproportional in its coverage of Clinton's e-mails relative to Trump's immense and ongoing conflicts of interest and lawsuits - and also that nobody but Clinton herself was responsible for creating the email quagmire on which the media fixated in the first place.

* It is simultaneously possible for Trump to have won the electoral college (as he did) and for Clinton to have won the popular vote (as she did); it is simultaneously possible to be correct in pointing out that much of Clinton's popular vote advantage came from running up the totals in places like California, and also to be correct that the EC victory came from a series of razor thin victories in a few states, and that the winner can hardly claim a true "mandate" with the authority of his predecessor.

* It is simultaneously possible for many people in, for want of a less condescending phrase, "flyover country" to be legitimately aggrieved by a lack of attention, care and understanding on the part of coastal "elites", and for the viewpoints of at least some of those elites to indeed to be unpleasant and ignorant and not worthy of indulging; equally, it is as offensive for defenders of Middle America to describe its denizens as "Real Americans" when the multiple creeds and colors of urban areas and suburbia are every bit as American as those who work - or worked - the land.

* It is simultaneously possible for Democrats to be correct when they point out that the election result was far from a shellacking, and that they have lost the popular vote in just one presidential election since 1988, and also for it to be the case that, on us about every other level - Senate, House, governorships, state assemblies etc - the party is being absolutely crushed. Yes, demographic trends favor it; this last election merely reinforced that the GOP is the party of white people. But the Democrats have been relying on that development, assuming that perpetual victory would soon be theirs - and, frankly, taking Hispanics and African-Americans as well as poor whites for granted in the process.

So far, the anger has only been ramped up. There are two Americas right now (which are themselves further subdivided, of course), and they're continuing to talk at each other rather than to each other.
Be the first to comment