The Republicans emerged from the election with control of the executive and legislative branches of government and, pretty soon, will have the Supreme Court, too. They just won the trifecta at the derby. That sounds great to the faithful, today; but it’s way too early to retire the trophy.
The real genius of Trump is that he convinced the forgotten that he was one of them. His followers saw him as a Francis of Assisi, the guy who stripped his rich duds off and tossed them, contemptuously, on the bricks of the town square the better to show contempt for his father’ privilege and money. The powerful on the other side saw him as a Pied Piper. The saintly view prevailed on Election Day, at least in the electoral college, but the rules are the rules.
The biggest winners of the election, first and foremost, were the Trump family, and its pursuit of a new American dynasty. The Bushes and the Clintons had their run and neither dynasty will ever go hungry, again. Of their families, only Billy Bush of Access Hollywood fame gained traction since he’s on tap to be the next Education Secretary.
The voters asked for more changes in the country than you’d find at an uptown burlesque show. Everyman a boss was the promise. The reality, however, is already morphing from one of harsh retribution against Trump’s opponents, and the enemies of the state who brought us to this point, to a more reasoned, statesman-like approach. The man in the golden tower said he could act unbelievably presidential, once elected. Once elected, he, also, said he wanted to be the President of all the people. Let’s hope he meant it, even if that means ripping up his campaign promises.
The move to statesmanship is not good news for Trump’s followers. After all the boisterous, chanting, rallies, they are being forced, even before the inauguration, to digest the news that Hillary Clinton is unlikely to face criminal charges that could put stripes on her pants-suits. The immediate roundup, and expulsion, of refugees, religious minorities, and illegal Mexicans, in particular, will be postponed. Obamacare has found a new champion in Trump who, now, seems willing to fix it. Life-support will still be covered. Change is coming, for sure, but in different ways than most thought.
Huma Abedin, Alec Baldwin, and James Carville are ramping up the 1st Annual Apology Tour during which Little Scotty Baio is set to accept the other side’s regrets, for trash-talking and skullduggery, on behalf of the new President at the end of each show. In the meantime, the ACLU is doing its part to ease unemployment among lawyers. It’s writing so many want ads that there’s a pencil shortage looming. The Federal Reserve is rolling the presses so there’ll be enough cash on hand to pay everyone’s tax refund checks and Angela Merkel is getting ready to be the most powerful person on the planet come next January 20th. Let the Russian Duma applaud Trump’s victory all it wants, most Americans still fear the big bad Russian bear. It’s in our D.N.A. Sorry Putin.
The announcement of the death of the Republican Party was a laugher. Like Lazarus, it waltzed out of the tomb better, even, than it went in. Republican Thomas Dewey lost an election because of sentences like “Our rivers are full of fish. You cannot have freedom without liberty. Our future lies ahead.” Donald Trump won because of them. Throngs went to Hillary’s free concerts, clapped for Katy Perry, and the Obamas, and then spiked the message. “Back to the Future Again,” the reboot, is being recast with Christian Bale as Biff Tannen.
Trump believers should enjoy the victory they’ve long savored. They hung in there, not without a little nail biting, and voted to fundamentally change the nation. It was a stunning victory for the little guys who chose to hand the executive and legislative branches of government to the Republican Party. That the majority of voters didn’t share their views is now an asterisk in history. There’s no escaping the fact, either, that the Millennials will make sure this victory doesn’t last, give an election, or two.
The fallout from this election, not unexpectedly, has already begun. Applications to Harvard and Yale just dropped. People are canceling their New York Times subscriptions in favor of the National Enquirer. CNN and MSNBC are being snubbed for Fox News, and Melania just replaced Kate Middleton as the most glamorous woman in the world.
What his followers seem to have forgotten, however, is that they elected a C.E.O. as President, not a dictator. There is still a loyal opposition and no Supreme Court nominee is a guaranteed vote for one side, or the other, as ex-California archconservative Republican Governor Earl Warren proved when he got to wear a black dress on the highest bench of the land.
Trump, the C.E.O., like all good C.E.O.s, will compromise, change, and evolve, if he wants to succeed and success is Trump’s life-long mantra. That may be bad news for his most ardent fans, the ones who most assiduously rejected moderation. The good news is that the Republicans will have no one to blame if they can’t make a go of it. That, really, will be the death of the party. The bets are down.
Mike Malak is an attorney, writer and photographer. He lives in California.