So I will acknowledge, with the understatement of the year, that this week has been an emotional one for many Americans as well as people abroad.
While I did expect Trump would win, I think what surprised me was how he won. Many states that reliably voted Democrat since the 1980s, turned red and even the states that Clinton did hold onto, like Maine and Virginia, she did so with a 0.1% margin in her favor. While I feel that her campaign and the DNC especially did many things wrong, I will only sum it up to this: hubris. They underestimated how angry, fearful, despondent, and tired people were with 1996 rulebook to politics. Trump is a populist candidate and they needed a populist face to counter him, but the Democrats did not produce it. They stuck to the same message, and took some things (people) for granted and that is why they lost. The biggest upset is now the GOP is consolidated and it is the DNC that is in a crisis mode and they need to shake things up and do an autopsy as to why they are not relating to middle America.
I am probably what some people will call a liberal elite, however my family and I, are by no means rich, elitist, or insider to any political machine. My mother and father were both born and raised poor in a developing country, and came to the United States in the 1970s because their only choice was to stay home and continue starving or take a chance to go to college here and have a decent life. Luckily, each (separately) chose the latter, and settled in my hometown of New York City. I had a good life, I went to a private school that was adamant about bringing quality education to lower-middle income neighborhoods, and then I went to a prestigious private school in an upper income neighborhood before going to public school, then college. I know plenty of young people, whose parents came later in the 80s and 90s, and their families had a much harder time establishing themselves. Under Reagan and Clinton, immigration laws changed and funding for ESL, GED, and citizenship classes dried up in a lot of places; these are the resources that my parents and many immigrants used to assimilate into American society and become part of the American Dream.
Donald Trump will be the 45th president, and although I have mix feelings about this, I will follow Seth Meyer’s path. The fear, anger, and sense of loss that many left-leaning and centrist people felt this week is probably how Trump supporters felt for years and maybe decades. It would be wrong of me to think that my feelings are more valid than yours. While I may feel that Trump will not benefit you or your families, especially in the long term, I hope that he proves me wrong and that he does not forget you.
It is important for me to say this, because many Clinton supporters and left-leaning people are blaming the loss of this election on the wrong thing. The reason I believe in universal health coverage, education, and an enforcement to market regulations is because in my academic research, I compare the poor in countries that do not have these things (Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Haiti) with the poor in countries that do have them (Sweden, Tunisia, Germany) and see a difference in how people live. The quality of life is different for everyone when we have pro-poor policies, in other words, pro-poor is also pro-middle class and what we had since the 80s has not been that. It would be hypocritical of me, to call myself a pro-poor advocate who can “relate” to the poor in Africa, the Caribbean, or Latin America, but remain blind that there is an under-privilege class outside my doorstep in America and my adopted home of the U.K. Maybe the last thirty or forty years have not befitted everyone and we need to think about where we go from here. So now that I know some people who did vote for Brexit and some Trump supporters, I can empathize and hopefully they empathize with me about the elusive American Dream and the reality where the law respects the rights of all persons and opportunity is open to all.
Thus, this is what I will continue to fight for, under every administration going forward. So liberals, progressives, conservatives, patriots, and freedom lovers: put away the tissues and let’s hold our leaders accountable, starting January 20th, 2017.