Much has been written about the recent national elections, and I only wish to add to it if I can say something original. Here it is: in large part, I blame the result on the New York Times, which for weeks had listed Hillary Clinton as having a virtual lock on the election and which, earlier, had done all it could to support Clinton over Bernie Sanders, even if it meant crossing the heretofore sacrosanct line between reporting and editorializing, a line it later admittedly obliterated when the finalists came down to Clinton and Trump. The Times contributed to the naming of Clinton as the nominee, though she represented the party’s past, not its future. And its unrealistic assessment of her chances justified the decision to stay home of those who did not support her, but otherwise would have come out to hold their noses and vote for her to defeat Trump. Commendably, in some of its post-election navel-gazing pieces, the Times admitted that, in assessing Clinton’s chances as unrealistically high, it ignored the majority of voters outside of its bubble. I have not yet seen an apology for its disregard of journalistic standards in its biased coverage of her campaigns in the primary and general elections.
Not that Clinton didn’t sabotage her own candidacy. Her monetization of her prior service by giving paid speeches to Wall Street firms, the content of which she refused to disclose, and her misuse of e-mail, which almost surely revealed government secrets to those not authorized to see them (though I am not aware that the nation ever was placed in danger), among other things, were, to be sure, not as bad as many of the things Trump has done and said. But the “false equivalency” argument is not a winning one. Her weaknesses were enough to take the issue of character out of the race for those otherwise inclined to vote for Trump. Had the democrats fielded a candidate with less questionable character, many people would have seen Trump for what he is and would have refused to vote for him, even if his ideology – to the extent it could be ascertained from his rambling, contradictory statements – might be more palatable to them.
So here we are. The losers are not happy, as many violent demonstrations show. I hope all the protesters were Clinton voters. Obama, ever the class act, vows cooperation in the transition (see, by contrast, the way in which the Bill Clinton administration left the White House) and Trump, after a long meeting that undoubtedly opened his eyes as to what lies ahead, appears accepting of the advice he received. He already is tacitly acknowledging reality by pulling back on his promise to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, realizing there is no easy way to preserve insurance for its 20,000,000 or so beneficiaries while removing its “objectionable” features. Even with his party dominating both houses of the Legislature, expect more reality-dictated compromises to follow. While such compromises may result in a lot of buyers’ remorse among Trump’s supporters, they could avert disaster at home and abroad.