No Reprieve

At noon tomorrow Donald Trump will become the 45th President of the United States of America. More than just progressives are unhappy about that. Trump is about to take office with an approval rating of only 40%. In 2009 Barack Obama was inaugurated with an approval rating nearly double that (78%). Many Americans feel like a death row inmate hours from execution hoping against hope for a last minute reprieve. Despite being vehemently anti-Trump I’m not one of them. Let’s me explain why.

Despite losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, Trump won the Electoral College vote and has cleared ever other procedural hurdle. Whether we like it or not he will be the President by tomorrow afternoon. Within our rules he won. It is that simple. Whether the rules make any sense today and just how fairly contested the process was are questions for another conversation. By the rules at the beginning of the game Trump won and we all need to face that fact. By one measure he is a more legitimate President than George W. Bush was in 2001. There was no vote count controversy of significance in the 2016 election.

If something were to prevent Trump from taking the oath of office on Friday the election for President would be thrown into the House of Representatives. They would probably select Mike Pence but there is no guarantee of that nor would they be legally bound to do so. While Pence is more qualified to hold the office than Trump he is an even less ideal choice.   Pence is a far right wing ideologue while Trump will most likely capitulate to the highest bidder.

If the House didn’t choose Pence they certainly wouldn’t pick someone more moderate. The Republicans control the House and the Democrats would be left out in the cold probably voting for someone like Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sander or Nancy Pelosi but falling more than a score of votes short. Inside the Republican caucus a war might be waged between the far right and the right. I could see the Tea Party faction withholding their initial support of Pence (who very much identifies with their radical agenda) in the hope of ransoming some harmful to America concession from the rest of the caucus on some other matter(s).

No, as bad as it seems (and it looks pretty bad) we are actually better off with Trump than the likely alternatives under the present circumstances. Stay vigilant and stay strong. Remember America is the nation that survived James Buchanan, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Unless Trump starts a nuclear conflict we will survive his presidency and remain the greatest county in the history of planet Earth. We can only hope that a Trump presidency will be the shock Americans need to take voting more seriously.

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