For the first time in eight years, I voted. I went to the local middle school and got in line at ten past six in the morning, and I filled in my ballot for Hillary Clinton, then the down-ballot candidates I’d researched earlier. I got my sticker, went to work at the library, saw a bunch of other “I voted!” stickers on my coworkers who I also know voted for Clinton. We held a mock election for some of the stuffed animals, and I gave them slogans from the 1964 presidential election. It looked okay.
Clinton wasn’t the first choice for me and many others who would have much rather seen Bernie Sanders, but she was far better than Republican candidate Donald Trump, who was a joke that I grew sick of in February. With his outrageous inflammatory statements and terrible fashion sense, he was a troll that the media was feeding and I was sick of hearing about. But with every new outrageous statement, his voice got louder. Deport all illegals, build a wall, and make Mexico pay for it (as if our economy wouldn’t suffer from the job losses), then he attacked Pope Francis on Twitter for criticizing him (how Twitter is considered newsworthy is still beyond me). And with every ridiculous statement – none of them containing any substance or actual policy, engineered just to get attention, fearmongering to some groups and incensing others – his support grew, and the Republican Party begrudgingly took him on. I hoped they would lose badly, implode, and fraction off into intellectual conservatives and Tea Party populists, and maybe we’d finally have a three-party system where dividing lines on social issues took a backseat to theories of governance. Economists said his tax reforms and anti-trade policies would be a disaster for the working and middle class, totalitarian governments were announcing support for him, and his plan for revitalizing the economy was “it’s gonna be great.” This is all aside from his record as a crooked businessman, rapist, sexual assaulter. Donald Trump represents the 1% we all blamed for the 2008 economic downtown, and the big businesses we bailed out with nothing to show for it. The working and middle class couldn’t possibly vote for the same asshole that caused them to lose their job in the first place. The one that says it’s okay to sexually assault women. I thought we as a country, and especially those who tout traditional Republican values, and Christian values, would revolt against that. Clinton might be a horribly corrupt politician, but as a politician she’s at least bound to some sort of ethics, whether she actually feels them or it’s affected. And she has actual experience. Trump’s only moral compass is himself and his own extraordinarily fragile ego. We couldn’t possibly elect an amoral megalomaniac whose policies, inasmuch as he had policies, would run this country into the ground for everyone. Even though he was frighteningly close to Clinton in the polls leading up to the election, she still had a good margin. She was going to win. Trump and all he represented was going to lose, and we would have some damn sense in this country again.
I was wrong.