“What Now, Mr. President?”

“What Now, Mr. President?” November 9, 2016


Clinton's Oval Office
The Oval Office in the White House as it appeared in the mid-1990s
(Wikimedia Commons)


I actually had a feeling, over the past few days, that Mr. Trump was about to acquire the presidency.  But today would have been a sober day for me either way the election went, as I objected to both major-party nominees.


I’m trying to see positives in the results of yesterday’s election.  The apparent end of the slimy Clinton political machine is definitely among them.  The possibility that President Trump will nominate conservative Supreme Court justices is, as well.  And the probability that such nominees would be confirmed has been greatly enhanced by the Republicans’ rather surprising retention of the United States Senate.


The Democratic Party has been unexpectedly weakened.  For now, at least.  (Had they nominated a better candidate, it might not have been so.)  That’s heartening for a conservative such as I.  And Republicans still control the House of Representatives.  That’s gratifying, too.


But worries remain.


Will President Trump try to oust Paul Ryan as Speaker, for example?  That would be divisive, unwelcome, and unprecedented.


Will he continue to play to the anti-Muslim biases of too many of his most enthusiastic supporters?


Will he be as dangerous to world trade and to our alliances and to the cause of nuclear non-proliferation as he has seemed?


Will he prove more thoughtful than he has appeared to be?  More interested in the actual details of governance?


Will he continue to pursue petty personal grudges?


Will he seek to curb free-speech protections, as he has threatened to do?


Will he curb his crass vulgarity and respect the dignity of the office he’s about to assume?  Will the angry and hateful rhetoric of the alt-right and of a disturbingly large proportion of Trumpists continue so prominently, or will it recede with Mr. Trump’s victory?  (I’ve been personally “unfriended” by a number of Trump supporters over the past week who could not tolerate my opposition to their candidate, and I’ve been obliged to ban a few of them from my Facebook page when they chose, after warnings, to continue with personal insults.  But the people with whom I’ve had dealings have been, far and away, not the worst of Mr. Trump’s supporters, some of whom are both very visible and vocal and full-on bigots.)


While I don’t (and probably never will) understand those who, from the beginning, saw in Mr. Trump a kind of savior, I have friends and neighbors whom I respect who voted for him as the least objectionable of two bad options.  I’m trying to view things that way.  I’ll make a serious effort to accentuate potential good, and to support Mr. Trump in that.


But, for what little my personal stance is worth, I’ll never compromise on basic principles.  And time will tell whether I can ever, in good conscience, return to the Republican Party.


In the meantime, here’s a measured piece from Kevin Williamson that I like:


“What Now, Mr. President?”



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