Every so often democracy produces a result that is extreme and polarizing. The personal qualities displayed by Donald Trump were far from desirable or exemplary and his proposed policies appear vague, incomplete or ill-conceived. Yet Trump addresses some deficiencies, even if his remedies may be questionable.
While 47% of eligible voters did not vote and more people voted for Clinton than Trump, the fact remains that over a quarter of the people voted for Trump. That’s 25% of people who chose a misogynistic, avaricious, egotistical, disingenuous tax evader. Some of this may have been a protest vote against an opponent they felt they could not trust.
However, it is more probable that Trump represents the feelings and ideology of more people than we care to admit. It is an uncomfortable truth about the human race, about ourselves. We are less likely to condemn or punish another if we have been guilty of the same crimes, even if to a lesser degree.
That Trump lost the popular vote may tempt one to redesign the voting mechanism, but no voting system is perfect. What America and indeed the world needs to do is to give Donald Trump the opportunity to prove himself worthy or not. America’s democracy means that a man untrained and inexperienced in the workings of government can now lead the country. There are, however, useful checks and balances in the form of Congress. If we have to worry it is that the Republicans control the House and the Senate, albeit with an insufficient majority to force policy through.
The demonstrations against Trump should stop, as should the calls for “faithless electors” to confound the election result, or actions to impeach the President Elect as a political means to stop him from taking office. If Trump is prosecuted for one of his allegedly sham commercial practices it should not be a politically motivated action.
To unfairly deny the President Elect is to deny democracy. America has the institutions and the systems to constrain a rogue President. In the meantime, Trump has 4 years to prove himself. If he doesn’t it will be 4 years lost and some work for his successor or successors to cure. There are worse outcomes in the world, incumbents who cannot or will not be removed, despots who outstay their welcome and defy the will of their people and nepotic dynasties. Trump at least is the will of a quarter of the people. The silent 47% bear some blame and chronic non-participation should result in a permanent loss of voting rights. The nation should pull together, including the 25% who voted against Trump, to steer the country to a better future, even with all the pushing and pulling associated with a liberal democracy. It would be wrong to simply work against the man. It might give him cause to undeservingly seek a second term. If he fails despite the support of the country then there is no excuse.