Steinberg: 21 things still true no matter who’s elected president

SHARE Steinberg: 21 things still true no matter who’s elected president
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Voters mark their ballots at Marie’s Golden Cue pool hall on Nov. 6, 2016. | AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

The presidential race was still too close to call at our first deadline Tuesday night. But that doesn’t mean we can’t draw conclusions from this most dramatic, historic and vexing race.

  1. Why is it surprising that this ordeal just won’t end? The election was very close, revealing not only a divided country, but an evenly divided country. No wonder we have such difficulty getting anything done. Half the country wants to move this way, half that. Of course we’re being torn apart. The once-great United States is like a two-headed horse in some shabby vaudeville review.

2 Global warming, health care and immigration are still huge problems. We just held an 18-month presidential campaign and barely discussed what to do, except float a few diametrically opposed bullet points: build a wall, create a path to citizenship.

3. If Trump wins, his foes can take comfort in the fact that he is erratic — he calls it “unpredictable.” He proposes and abandons policies, makes promises and then denies he ever made them, with blinding speed. We really don’t know what he’d do.

4. If Clinton wins, well, her foes can take comfort in the fact that she’ll have to reach out to them to get anything done. The question is how vigorously she’ll be spurned by disappointed Republicans. If history is any judge, really vigorously.

5. Trump has dithered like Hamlet whether he will accept the outcome or not. Traditionally the loser yields gracefully but, stop the presses, tradition has gone out the window long ago. If he loses, he lost whether he does so graciously or whether he floats one of his trademark fantasies. If he wins — and it was trending that way at press time — one assumes Hillary Clinton will recognize reality.

6. Tammy Duckworth beat Mark Kirk, but it doesn’t make her a genius. Maybe she’ll mature on the job.

7. The Republican Party can field a candidate who welcomes support from neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, Klansman and others from the hateful fringe of American life. They went from having their thoughts disseminated in brochures left on urinals in bus station restrooms to having their ideas spread to millions of people through Twitter. That isn’t good.

8. The Democratic Party can field a candidate who might lose to the candidate outlined in No. 7. That isn’t good either.

9. Whether or not Trump wins, look out for Trump 2.0, a smoother demagogue who manages to run without insulting women, without showing his true contempt for minorities, without mocking the disabled. He’s the one we should be really scared of. Ted Cruz would like to be that man.

10. If Clinton doesn’t win, Trump still has to govern, leading a government and country made up of many who are viscerally disgusted by everything he stands for.

11. This is either the wildest, meanest, crudest, more irresponsible election our nation will ever hold. Or a bellwether for worse to come.

12. “Media” is the plural of “medium.” There is no one media, not even one mainstream media. It is a spectrum ranging from what’s left of the old newspapers, to TV networks, radio stations, blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, a swirling maelstrom that can’t be referred to as acting in a certain way.

13. If Trump wins, he’ll be the first non-military man to assume the presidency without ever holding public office. There have been two presidents — William Taft and Herbert Hoover — who didn’t win elective offices, but both were appointed to public roles.

14. If Hillary Clinton wins, she will, as well all know, the first woman president. Though few seem to really care about that, for reasons mysterious.

15. A woman president won’t end the sexism so obvious in this election, just as having black president certainly did not end the racism, also evident.

16. Hispanics, who were 3.5 percent of the United States population in 1960, are now 17 percent and are projected to rise to 28 percent of the population by 2060. This election won’t change that.

17. The election map, with a blue Northeast for Clinton and a Red South for Trump, looks very much like a map from the Civil War which, in a real sense, we have been fighting continuously for the past 150 years, with no end in sight. Like Gettysburg, the 2016 election is a bloody battle that wasn’t as decisive as both sides claimed. The war went on for almost two years afterward.

18. Those jobs are never coming back no matter what Trump does.

19. However this falls out, on Wednesday half the country is going to be very unhappy.

20. And sleepy.

21. However it works out, we’re all still Americans. We’re all still part of the same country. Our fates are intertwined. Try to remember that.


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