Arts for Action's Sake

Post-Election Morning: An Open Letter to My Children

November 7, 2018

Tags: Trump

Two years ago, on the morning after the election, I wrote to you acknowledging our disappointment, even despair, but cautioning against a rush to judgment about our new President. My hope was he might step up to the responsibilities and gravity of the office. Those hopes were quickly dashed.

But I also reminded you that our democratic system is stronger than any one man or woman, and if Trump proved incapable, we would exercise our Constitutional rights and find a new leader

I know you are disappointed once again, but don't be. I believe that Constitutional process began yesterday. In fact, I'm willing to go on the record with a prediction: other than a possible Supreme Court vacancy, yesterday was Trump's last political hurrah.

The political rock stars on whom so many Democrats were pinning their hopes—Gillum in Florida, O'Rourke in Texas, Abrams in Georgia— went down to a narrow defeat. Trump gets the credit for energizing the worst instincts of a sizable portion of the electorate to delay their inevitable future political triumphs. And he will be more insufferable than usual in the coming days, crowing about his "big victory." But like most narcissistic egomaniacs, he doesn't know what he doesn't know.

By winning the House of Representatives, the Democrats will have the opportunity to restore order in Washington by serving as a check on Trump's own worst instincts. With their investigative power, they will be able to expose the lies and corruption throughout his administration, not just in the Oval Office but at many cabinet level positions. They will subpoena his tax returns. They will protect the Mueller inquiry and ensure that the public sees the full report. And if they can shame a few of their Republican colleagues in the Senate, they might even be able to begin to govern.

That's just for starters.

Demography is not Trump's friend. Hillary Clinton, a deeply flawed candidate, won the popular vote in 2016 by three percentage points. It looks like Democrats in 2018 won it by six or seven points. In two more years, there will be more young people and more legal immigrants going to the polls. And between the Democrats and the judicial system, the worst voter suppression efforts against African Americans and Hispanics will be rolled back. What will the point spread be in 2020?

Then there's the matter of the "never-been-better economy." When most Americans are no better off than they were thirty years ago in terms of what their incomes can buy, when they can't afford to buy a house, when they have no retirement savings to speak of, when they are wallowing in debt, how much longer can they believe that they are living the American Dream? As for "the soaring stock market," neither gravity nor the business cycle has been abolished.

And then there are the craven Republicans who turned over their party to Trump. It may take more than the initial shift in direction of the political winds that we saw yesterday for them to try to take it back. But try to take it back they will, if for no other reason than personal advancement. Watch Romney in the Senate and Kasich, term-limited in Ohio, to see how quickly that might happen. Survival could also become a great motivator, especially if demography and the economy begin to weigh heavily on their 2020 prospects. A Republican primary would be a joyous sight to behold!

So take heart. Change is a process, not an event. And there are many factors working for a change for the better in our country. Yes, there are still many people who will resist that change. And our President is an effective counter-puncher, and he will pull out all the stops not to go down. So it would be premature to say that success is assured. But all in all, I am convinced that change will come, sooner rather than later. Change is on our side, and America's.

love, Dad xoxo