Two summers ago I sat in a history class at Phillips Exeter Academy. My teacher, a political science professor at Brown, started laughing.
“Donald Trump is actually running for President,” she said. She was, as any Brown professor is, very liberal. “I can’t imagine anyone else winning, but Clinton. I mean can you imagine anyone beating her? All she has to beat is that senator from Vermont, and then beat some idiot from the GOP!”
Well, some idiot from the GOP did win.
THAT SENATOR FROM VERMONT
If there is one politician that I both agree and disagree with the most, it is Bernie Sanders. What Sanders did was fight the establishment of American politics. He lost the primary, but won the platform. The minority Democrats have the most liberal platform in the establishment of their party. Bernie brought back grassroots politics—something this country needs. Long time Democrat and speaker of the House Tip O’Neil is known for saying that “all politics are local.” Bernie took that idea seriously and won over 16 million votes, and almost beat establishment Democratic leader, Hillary Clinton.
As much as Bernie seemed to fade away into the sunset, his campaign beat Hillary Clinton. Bernie brought forth a new grassroots progressive outlook. It was only countered with Trump’s “Drain the Swamp” movement. Along with that, Hillary’s connections with Wall Street were destroyed as Bernie attacked them, creating a divide within the Democratic party over whether they were going to destroy Wall Street or ask for their money. While Bernie was true to his base, Hillary was inconsistent. She tried connecting to the middle class, while also the top one percent. You can’t do both.
MORE ON CLINTON
Hillary Clinton was the establishment pick. The Democrats loved her. When she announced her candidacy, it was as if the primaries had already been decided. It was going to be a Jeb v. Hillary general election and the establishment politics would win for both parties. Hillary was not a bad candidate on paper: she had lots of experience in foreign policy as secretary of state, experience in policy-making as a senator, and was ultimately a socially-open liberal. Any independent who valued social policy would have been obligated to vote for her. Her downfall was in one simple place: the emails.
There was a sliminess to Hillary; people felt as if she was hiding something when, in reality, she probably wasn’t. The FBI’s reopening of the email case just a week before the election may not have changed the vote significantly. The idea of the emails is what hurt her—this idea that she had possibly put the country in danger with emails. If she had never created the private email server, I would place my bets that, on January 20th, we would be swearing in our first Madam President.
THE BULLY, THE MILLIONAIRE, THE DONALD
Where do I start? I mean, our president elect has no experience in government whatsoever. So how? How did this man win?
Donald Trump will make me rich. It sounds crazy. I know. But think about this: Trump is the face of this rags to riches story, even though he was never poor. The man is a true capitalist. He’s a winner. Americans love winners. There is real truth in saying that Americans voted for Trump purely based on what he symbolizes. His policies are crazy, even from a libertarian perspective. A tax bracket with only three brackets—it’s nearly impossible to run a government with that money; a wall (that Mexico will pay for)—again, crazy; and lastly, a tax increase on companies that move overseas—sounds good on paper because it creates jobs in the United States, but are those jobs valued? Outsourcing companies are minimizing costs and thus, in a competitive market, lowering the prices for the consumer. Why would a company pay a wage of $7.25 when they can pay $3.00 or even less? With that, those products’ prices are only going to skyrocket. I am all for creating jobs, but if that means having the prices of products inflate, then that is maybe even more dangerous for our economy.
THE SUPREME COURT
When President Obama appointed Merrick Garland to be confirmed by the Senate, political analysts saw it as a compromise on Obama’s part. A smart compromise. Obama was going to appoint a moderate to the Supreme Court with the idea that Republicans would look at the election and know that, if Hillary Clinton were to have won, there would be a more liberal Justice in place of the late Justice Scalia. Obama was basically saying to put in Garland or deal with Hillary’s pick. As the election moved along, it seemed to be Mitch McConnell’s plan to wait for the election results to even have a hearing. The plan worked out for him.
In the next two years, Trump could possibly appoint three Justices. Currently Trump has to fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a strong liberal, along with Justice Kennedy,who is often the swing vote, are both in their eighties. If they were to die in the next two years Trump will select their replacements with a Republican Congress confirming. Anticipating the vacancies created by the deaths of Ginsburg and Kennedy is creating fear among Democrats that a conservative Supreme Court could ultimately exist for years.
THE NEXT FOUR YEARS
I don’t know. I really don’t. I have no idea if Trump is going to be a hero or a zero. What I do know is this: American politics have been changed. From Bernie, to scandals, to President-elect Trump, there is no argument that these events have changed the political field of the United States forever.