Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Trump Wins in Sweeping Fashion

Democracy is designed to put the governed population in charge, and in this election the essence of that ideal has been, and remains, in play. The surge in rural, working class males in PA, MI, WI, and OH has once again shown that it is the heart of the midwest that defines the electorate "in the middle" of the political spectrum.  The Midwest working vote has defined every election for the past half-century, and this year was no different - though its arrival in the weeks leading up to election night was stunning. "Win Ohio," is the wise advice to anyone seeking the presidency, and no Republican has won in recent history without Ohio.

Jews have historically survived and thrived where certain ideas like free trade, free emigration/immigration, tolerance, diversity, social services, education and civil liberties allowed us to become lawyers, doctors, business people, scientists and traders.  In the civil rights era, these ideals have most often been aligned with the platforms of the Democratic party. That is why Jews tend to vote 2:1 for Democrats in every national election since WWII.  So most Jews supported Clinton, and awake profoundly concerned by the Trump victory today.

Those Jews who supported Trump (probably about 25-30%), do so primarily for reasons connected to the domestic economy, social conservativism, and his view of international politics and (in particular) his view of Muslims and terrorism.  These are genuine issues in the Jewish community, and not to be taken lightly by those who supported Clinton. And now that Trump will have an immediate Supreme Court nominee, and a majority in both houses of congress, that outlook will define the American Government for at least the next 4 years.

In an electorate of large gaps between men and women, whites and non-whites, cities and rural, college educated and high school educated people, the question of unity is unrealistic. The current national election is a social corrective to the advances in social liberalism of the last decade. How far that correction will go is an open question.

So democracy has once again shown that the most radical shifts in government can, and must happen only in a context of the ballot box.  A peaceful transition of power is about to take place, with a more dramatic shift in policy than any since Reagan/Carter in January of 1981. In a divided nation, this fact is to be rejoiced as a foundation for a peaceful society regardless of anyone's individual politics.

Trump has been given the chance to prove that he is right. 2/3's of the Jews in America begin today highly skeptical of his agenda. But no one should be skeptical of his abilities.

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