Mitchell: Trump shocking victory could embolden haters
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My husband kept telling me Donald Trump was going to win.
It’s not that I didn’t believe Trump could pull off an upset. He’d already proven he could dispose of seasoned politicians like wannabes.
I had faith American voters would choose Hillary Clinton’s civility over Trump’s bullying.
And even though most of us were taught that in America, anyone could grow up to become president, I thought in 2016 there’s no way a pompous blowhard could actually be elected president.
Frankly, I’ve not been a Hillary Clinton fan going back to the days when she and Bill were in the White House reeling from the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
But like a lot of people, I woke up Wednesday morning bleary-eyed wondering how in the heck did this happen.
Many of us were convinced the majority of voters would choose the devil they knew over the devil they didn’t.
Even though Clinton’s long tenure in the political arena had its ups and downs, the issues she has championed, such as universal health care and early childhood education, should have convinced poor and working-class voters that she was on their side.
The fact that the billionaire real estate developer and reality TV star was able to snatch the populist mantle from Clinton shows just how disappointed the base is with the Democratic Party.
Although the media is being accused of failing to pick up on the anger among white working-class Americans (an oversight being blamed for the Election Day shocker), I don’t think that is the case.
Given that Trump supporters were labeled early on as racist and xenophobic, it is more likely that a lot of these voters stayed in the closet and let the ballot do their talking.
President Obama also failed to understand the lasting impact his 2008 defeat of Clinton had on her standing in the African-American community.
In most instances, there are no “permanent enemies in politics.” But Obama practically destroyed the Clintons’ image in that hard-fought campaign.
Although both first lady Michelle Obama and the president were passionate about urging black voters to support Clinton this time around, the black turnout fell short of the historic levels reached during Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns.
In her concession speech, Clinton thanked the Obamas for their support and urged her backers to get behind Trump and to give him an opportunity to lead.
It was an extremely gracious request considering Trump taunted her throughout the campaign with the “crooked Hillary” tagline, threatened to launch a criminal investigation into the email controversy, and trotted out women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual harassment.
I’m not convinced that Clinton’s words of conciliation will be enough to repair the harm that was caused by such a bitter campaign.
Additionally, a CNN exit poll found that nearly 56 percent of voters were concerned or fearful about what a Trump presidency would mean.
Frankly, I’m not concerned about what Trump will do while he is in the White House.
I’m concerned that Trump’s surprising victory will embolden racists, misogynists and xenophobes. Also, the country is already deeply divided along racial lines with respect to policing and Trump’s so-called law-and-order crusade only widened that gap.
In exalting Trump to the nation’s highest office, voters have rewarded some of the worst behavior by a political candidate that we’ve seen in politics, nationally or locally.
That doesn’t bode well for what may be in store for us down the road.
Worse yet, I’ve got to go through four years with my husband giving me that “I-told-you-so” look.Tweets by @MaryMitchellCST