I called it in 2012:
And I doubled down nine months ago:
Nate Silver got it wrong. And I got it right. How could such a thing happen?
Well, Mr. Silver was looking at polls, using the same math that helped him call every single county correctly four years ago. It wasn’t his fault that the polls missed stuff. I on the other hand was simply trolling. I thought I was wrong, and flat out said that I hoped I was wrong. I wanted people to comment on my blog entries and tell me why I was wrong: “Wil, you’re underestimating the better nature of American voters”, or “Don’t worry, we would never vote for Donald Trump”.
I had already prepared — in my mind — a “concession speech” of sorts, ready to say how glad I was to have mis-called it. Imagine my shock yesterday. I have never been so sad to be right. (And if you know me, you know how much I love to be right.)
But now that I’ve brought emotion into it, here is the text I posted to Flickr earlier today:
While half the country celebrates (a little quietly, if you ask me) the victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, and much of the other half consoles themselves that mid-terms are coming up in two years, I am stopping for a moment to take stock of myself.
I have always tended to see the good in people, to believe the best of people, to assume that most people are basically good at heart. It was this belief (along with most polls) that convinced me we had nothing to worry about yesterday. And like many of my other past beliefs, this one too turned out to be mistaken.
Sixty million adult U.S. citizens voted for the worst of four national candidates, a man who has promised to specifically target many of the people who are the most vulnerable. Some of those people are very, very close to me.
Over the past 20 hours or so, I went through a similar variety of emotions that most other liberals/progressives experienced: surprise, sadness, frustration. Unlike many, I never felt anger, though perhaps I should have. What I eventually settled on was fear.
Fear of emboldened white supremacists, for one. You can’t live in Texas and be very far from them, so I know they’re around. To them, my wife and children are a lesser species, and I’m a “traitor to the race”. And to them, the election of Donald Trump was a call to be more bold.
Fear of latent theocrats, for another. These men (and some women) have worked their way into politics for years, daily attempting to erode the First Amendment wall between church and state, but are usually held back by a balance of power. Today, we have a Vice President-elect who believes the Earth is 6,000 years old, evolution is a lie, climate change is a scheme, and that Jebus magically tells him what to do. He further believes that his archaic religious code should be written into secular law, and has repeatedly worked toward that goal during his years in office. Like his President, Mike Pence will have a willing Senate and House, and soon hopes to have a compliant Supreme Court.
For my gay and lesbian friends, I fear for their marriages and the children they’ve adopted. Their loving homes being torn apart.
There are other fears, too many to list.
But I always keep coming back to this: 60 million people wanted this. 60 million people thought this was an acceptable way to vote, in order to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House. For one reason or another, every one of them loathed her. Whether it was her platform, her sex, her husband, her choices of technology, or completely made-up problems like “eating babies” (yes, I actually heard that from a regressive last week), 60 million adult Americans honestly believed Donald Trump would make a better president than Hillary Clinton.
And so I’m back to sadness.
I assume that — like always — I’ll find other ways to distract myself and eventually quit feeling this. But then Jan. 20, 2017, will roll around and I’ll be reminded of it once again. And then we’ll see what happens. Of all the groups the regressive party has promised to target and further disadvantage — the poor, women, LGBTQ+, Mexican-Americans, Muslims, or others — I wonder who will come first, and how quickly will it happen. Of all the rights they’ve promised to erode, I wonder which ones will come under fire first, and how soon it will come.
And I’ll still be thinking of 60 million people. Some of them are my extended family members. A bunch of them are religious. All of them believe they’re patriots. It makes me want to despise my family. It makes me want to despise religion. It makes me sad for the United States of America.
I won’t make another prediction, not this time. I have lost faith in my fellow voters. I have no idea what they will or won’t do next time.