What if Donald Trump is America’s Brexit? What if all the pundits and polls point to one conclusion, and then like a bout of explosive 2:00 AM diarrhea, something horrific and shocking happens instead? The question then really does become what do the rest of us do.
For starters, I really don’t think Trump’s going to win.
I’m not predicting that. I’m just saying that in my time covering American politics for the purposes of making up fake news stories and ranting (hopefully) comedically about it, I’ve learned to trust polls that are properly conducted, and Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight algorithm has never steered me wrong. So all rational signs really do point to Trump losing. Even if he loses, as my pal Manny recently pointed out, that will leave America with the business of dealing with the alt-right, racist white nationalist residue he dragged up from the recesses of America’s racist past, and they’re reverting to old tricks we thought were exposed and therefore worthless years ago.
This isn’t to say that every person who votes for Trump is a virulent racist. Many, many, many aren’t. What I’ve come to realize, having grown up in a household built on the religious right tenets of the time, is that a whole lot of conservatives are taught to defend racist policies and ideologies while ironically being told it’s the liberals and their horrid welfare state that’s really racist. The line between actual racists and tacit racists in the Republican Party and America’s right-wing is so blurry now that the party has needed to immolate for some time, in order to facilitate a phoenix-like rise from the ashes, because I may be nuts, but I really do believe the country needs a sensible right and left majority party so that everyone feels heard and listened to.
So that’s step one, if Trump wins. Try to convince some of his supporters that they’ve just put a very un-American blowhard in the White House. I have no faith we can actually do that, but there are plenty of Trump voters who might see the light if we can show them, somehow, exactly what they’re inadvertently supporting.
In order for the GOP to regain its sanity, it has to purge the very people it’s been begging to help keep it power for decades. The dog whistle racism and the overt racism of some of Trump’s most vocal supporters is undeniable, and we have to deal with that. The question is how to deal with it without sparking ugly violence. You and I might understand how badly a misguided revolt might end for the backyard commando types, but they don’t.
Which means they’ll let their own blood run in the streets if we’re not careful in how we sweep their particular brand of ideological detritus back into the garbage bin of history. Except if they win, they’re the ones trying to sweep us up. Fun, huh?
The alt-right aside, though, how do liberals and even average, moderate Americans recover from the national disease that is Trumpism? I don’t fucking know, actually. I really don’t. The thing is, to me, Trumpism is rooted in the same stuff that slavery, segregation, denying women’s suffrage, anti-LGBTQ equality, Islamaphobia, and xenophobia have been rooted in. And since we’ve always tried to take the high road and just gently move them aside, the darker forces playing for Trump are still there, ready as ever to make our lives miserable.
Certainly we shouldn’t be “afraid” of their violence, because that’s what we have a set of laws and law enforcement for. Then again, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that there are large numbers of people in our own FBI — the country’s allegedly unbiased and supreme law enforcement agency — that are such die-hards for Team Trump that they’ve corrupted their bureau’s own credibility, so there’s that to worry about after this is all done with.
All of this is predicated so far on Trump losing. We try to pick up the pieces and move on if he loses. What the hell do we do if by some insane trick of fate the asshole ends up winning it?
Do we cower in the corner? Do we fight back and risk being murdered by some antisemitic Twitter troll? I don’t know. Which, I’m sure makes you super-duper thrilled to be nearly 700 words into something and be left with, ultimately, an “I dunno” as an answer to the piece’s central question. But it’s true, I just don’t know what the solution is if the unthinkable happens and Trump wins.
Oh. Wait. Yes I do.
We be Americans, that’s what we do.
We don’t shut up. We mock. We scorn. We chastise. We don’t let the fear of violence silence us. That’s how actual terrorists — domestic or foreign win…if we give up our power over them. They can beat us, kick us, and doxx us, but the simple fact is that millions and millions more Americans are disgusted by the worst of the worst among them, and they can’t silence us all, or even a percentage of us.
We have to be willing to go toe-to-toe with the fascists. The racism that Trump has dredged up will not go away quietly, whether he wins or loses, because Trump isn’t going to whimper off the stage. Still, though, we can’t be afraid to drive forward. They are outnumbered. Maybe they’re armed, but so are the cops. Maybe they’re committed to their cause, but so are we.
So what do we do if Trump wins? We accept the loss. We don’t panic. We lead by example. Let power be transferred peacefully. President Trump would be an even bigger failure than Businessman Trump or Not A Sexual Predator Trump. We may have to endure some really rocky shit for awhile, but we absolutely can weather his Stormfront. Er, I mean, his storm.
In other words, we have to be Americans and do American things, namely getting on with our lives. It’s a nightmare none of us want to live through, but if we survived Dubya, we can survive Trump…I think. But I’m a clown, what the hell do I really know about anything?
Uplifting, aren’t I?
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.