Trump is going to be president. I didn't think it would happen, and a year ago I was hoping for Trump to win the nomination because I thought Clinton would beat him. I figured that he would have lots of scandals, say incredibly stupid things, lose the debates, be unorganized, and piss off all kinds of voters with sexist and racist crap. I thought that would make him lose to an organized, experienced, disciplined opponent like Clinton. I was wrong.
Now don't for a minute think that I loved Clinton. I was grumpy about Trudeau being elected in Canada because he is part of a political dynasty, and I actually liked his platform really well. Clinton's platform was ok (pretty good for a Democrat, actually) but the dynasty thing really gets to me. But compared to Trump? No contest, give me the calculating politician over the megalomaniac sociopath every time.
So why oh why did this happen?
There are lots of people saying that it was due to Trump's followers being racist, sexist pigs. They rant about the bigotry in American and Trump using that to get elected. They are right. Those shirts that Trump supporters wore saying "Trump that bitch" exist because so many people deep down do not believe a woman can successfully run the country.
There are others saying that no, it isn't the racist, sexist thing. It is that Trump is outside the political establishment and people are angry. They don't like how the world is shaping up and they want their secure factory jobs back. They want their rural culture back. They want the world to stop running away from them. They are right too.
In the US there are real frustrations with the political establishment. Huge ones. There are people who just want it all to blow up and think that Trump will be so disastrous he might actually break things, and they want revolution so badly they will face any disaster to get it. I totally understand that, because the two party system in the US is so dysfunctional right now that I get the desire to tear it down and start anew.
There is a real draw to the good old days. Of course there is the perception that economically things were better back then, but that is just selective memory. Today unemployment is low, things are cheaper than ever, and more people have health insurance. There are plenty of reasons to think things are good. But none of that compares to the shining memories of a golden past, even though those shining memories are a lie. Inequality is bad now, no doubt, but pretty clearly electing a billionaire trust fund baby who wants to empower the rich is not going to fix *that*.
But it isn't just economics of course. Men want to be able to smack the women in the office on the ass and have it just be chalked up to 'boys will be boys'. People want to be able to loudly tell jokes about the Mexican, the Indian, and the Russian and have people laugh instead of being hauled into the office for a dressing down and a lecture on cultural sensitivity. People want to be able to call things gay and not get frowned at. Trump does those things. He gets away with it. His behaviour harkens back to a time when you could just take a giant steaming shit on marginalized groups and it was overlooked. (Things are perfect now, but these things have improved.)
People want both those things. They want the illusory glory of the past where every man had a good job and an obedient wife. They want the freedom to stomp around unaware and uncaring of the struggles of those different from themselves.
So what do we do about the glorification of the past and the love of bigoted behaviour? That, I don't know. Both of these things are eternal, omnipresent in human society. I suspect the answer is that we wait. The world is getting better, but it is *not* a smooth slope. It is jagged, and there are big steps back that happen when the people resistant to change lash out in anger as they did yesterday.
Trump is a step back from progress. He is going to do incredible damage to the US and the ripples from his decisions will spread outward through the world. Heck, he is actually a danger to begin some kind of serious global conflict. But all we can do now is wait, knowing that once he has made his mess the pendulum will swing back the other way when people get sick of him. It always does.