Donald Trump is going to be the 45th President of the United States. That is not fake news. That is fact. There is nothing we can do about that. But I’ll remind you all again of what President Obama said in his exit interview with Rolling Stone:
If you want to persuade me that everything is going to be terrible, then we can talk ourselves into that. Or we can act. It is what it is. There’s been an election. There’s going to be a Trump presidency, and Republicans are going to control Congress. And the question is gonna be, for those like you and I, who care about these issues, do we figure out how to continue to make progress in this environment until we have a chance for the next election.
The bad news “for those like you and I, who care about these issues” is this: Trump is in, and so are the Republicans in Congress, and because of voter intimidation, voter suppression, and gerrymandering, the deck is stacked against us.
The good news is this: We have the numbers. It may not feel like it right now, but there are more of us than there are of them. And I’m not talking about more Democrats than Republicans (although, that too), I’m talking about people who want to be on a “path that we think is going to be helpful for families, helpful for the environment, helpful for our safety and security and rule of law and civil rights and social rights?”
We have more impediments to overcome than they do, but both the numbers and the future are on our side.
Here are some stats that, while they won’t change anything about who is our next President, should feel heartening:
— More people voted for Hillary Clinton than any other Presidential candidate ever.
— Only 20 percent of Americans voted for Trump.
SHOT-— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) December 5, 2016
Hillary is getting close to having more votes than anyone in US history.
Fewer than 20% of Americans voted for Donald Trump.
— According to a non-partisan Pew Research poll out this week, only 26 percent of Americans — of both parties — believe that Donald Trump is a good role model. Six of 10 Americans — more people than not — think he is reckless and lacks good judgement.
— If you are upset about Trump’s cabinet choices, you are not alone. Only 40 percent of Americans approve of his cabinet choices, so far. Compare that to the 71 percent of Americans who approved of President Obama’s cabinet choices 8 years ago.
— Overall approval ratings for Trump during the transition are at 41 percent, compared to Obama’s 72 percent in 2008. Moreover, more people approve of President Obama right now (56 percent) than approve of Trump (40 percent).
Remember also that this is the so-called “honeymoon” period. Wait until Trump actually has to enact policy. Wait until he actually has to confront Congress and other forces hostile to his agenda. That 40 percent approval rating is likely to be his high watermark. Give it six months or a year, when he’ll be wishing for approval ratings as good as George W. Bush in the last year of his presidency.
There are a lot of reasons we can point to for the Democrats’ loss — and people have been casting blame for a month now — but for the purposes of this, I don’t care. What I care about is the fact that right now, a lot more people in this country would vote for a progressive black man in an election against a racist white man. And a whole lot more of the people who will be leading this country in a generation would vote for Obama.
Here’s something from the Pew Research poll that I find most comforting, because it suggests that the entire country isn’t racist, and it also suggests that the work we have all done in just this last month to point out Trump’s associations with white nationalist is working. Fifty-four (54) percent of Americans — including 31 percent of Republicans — feel that Donald Trump has not done enough to distance himself from white nationalist groups.
That means that, whether or not Americans believe Trump is racist himself, more Americans than not are uncomfortable with white nationalist groups. The numbers are even more heartening when you look at the age breakdowns: 68 percent of young people believe he hasn’t done enough to separate himself from racism; 55 percent of those ages 30-49 and 50 percent of those ages 50 to 64 believe that. The only demographic where less people than not are concerned with Trump’s ties to white nationalists are those over 65, where only 44 percent believe he hasn’t done enough to separate himself from racists. That generation will eventually die (and sooner than we previously thought).
Obviously, it would have been better if the press hadn’t spent a year falsely equating Trump’s bigotry with Hillary’s emails, but at least the message is finally seeping in. The majority of Americans are not comfortable with a guy like Stephen Bannon in the White House. It doesn’t mean we can change that, but it does mean that the majority of us are in solidarity against racism, homophobia, sexism, and anti-semitism.
And that’s just after a month, during the honeymoon period, and it’s incumbent upon us to continue banging that drum, because a lot of people just don’t know. That doesn’t make sense to a lot of us who spend our lives engaged in one news cycle after another, but there are a ton of people who just don’t engage, who voted for Trump because they thought he seemed nice on Fallon. We need to continue to make people aware of it.
The point is: They are louder and they have rigged the system in their favor — and there are a lot more than them than there should be — but there are more of us, and with each passing year, we continue to grow and they continue to die off. As Obama has pointed out on several occasions, progress doesn’t continue on a straight line. However, history is on our side, and it is catching up fast.