Everyone can agree this was a momentous election. That’s true anytime the White House is up for grabs (1988, 2000, 2008) or when the country is in the mood to fire the sitting president (1976, 1980, 1992). You know that our last three presidents went into office with their respective parties holding control of both houses of Congress after retaking the White House from the opposition, and Donald Trump will, too. So, in empirical terms, these election results are not unusual. Perhaps unexpected (as professional polling is rapidly becoming a game of high toned guessing), but not unusual.
Winning is great and carries with it a single obligation—not to gloat. On the other hand, losing sucks and you have to do more work to get through it. Multiple trips through the five stages of grief may allow you to CLEP out of some of them. Personally, I went from denial, skipped anger and bargaining, and landed for a bit on depression. (The allowed self-medication—vodka, carbs and Alleve PM during the middle of the day—must be taken advantage of, at least briefly.) Acceptance is the goal, and it is necessary in order to get ready for what comes next. And, preparing for “it” is the only rational way forward. Even when one doesn’t really know what “it” is.
Facebook (my personal polling place, clearly as effective as anything Nate Silver has to offer) tells me that many supporters of Secretary Clinton are getting to acceptance. And many supporters of Trump are at least not gloating. Now that the politics of campaigning are over, we’re back to the politics of governing (or not governing, depending on the strategy). I, for one, am anxious in every sense of the word to find out what “it” is that Trump actually is going to do, instead of trying to figure “it” out from all of that conflicting and distasteful campaign rhetoric.
The Chicago Cubs just won the World Series for the first time since 1908. The series went to seven games, the last game went to 10 innings, and the Cleveland Indians lost. It must have sucked to be them that night. But the Cubs will go into next season as defending champions facing a whole bunch of teams (you surely didn’t think I knew the exact number), and all of them will be intent on bringing the Cubs down.
In political terms, next season is the 2018 mid-term. Remember those last three presidents who started their presidential terms with both houses in their pockets? Well, Clinton and Bush can tell you how it feels to lose both houses in a single mid-term as a sitting president, and Obama can tell you what it’s like to lose first the House then the Senate in successive mid-terms. Whatever “it” is that Trump might bring, the sure thing that Democrats should prepare for it next season. Just like the Cleveland Indians. Or, if you prefer, it’s like “Family Feud” with the Republicans having control of the board, but the Democrats will have a chance to steal if the Republicans don’t have all the right answers. That’s the way this democracy works.
Enough of these sports and TV metaphors—let’s go to the movies, where all the answers to life’s riddles can be found. Tomorrow might be another day, Miss Scarlett, but yours is not the right quote for today. Nor is that cloying lyric from “Annie” about tomorrow, the sun, and your bottom dollar. The best quote for today is, “We’re not sour people—I think that comes from a good digestion. And, too, one loses today and wins tomorrow.”
Charles Dingle said that to Bette Davis after losing to her “The Little Foxes.” Anybody who can say that to Bette at her scariest is on to something.