Miscellaneous reactions to what just happened.

70 million people voted for Donald Trump

Which he keeps tweeting, as if it’s proof that he should get to stay President. Which, somebody pointed out, is like saying the 49ers should have won the Super Bowl because they scored 20 points, even though Kansas City scored 31. The fact that 70 million Americans wanted to give him a second term, though, is not insignificant. In fact, it’s terrifying.

Elections have certainly been rigged in the past

In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote by half a million votes. He conceded on December 13, after losing Florida by about a thousand votes, and so giving up the electoral college votes he needed in addition to the simple majority of Americans’ wishes.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by three million. She conceded on election night after losing the electoral college.

Things I can deal with again

The news.

The American flag.

Scary women

As far as I can make out, Kamala Harris is a scary woman because . . .

She is a woman.

She’s black.

Her parents weren’t born in America.

Yes, we get it. Trump isn’t going away.

He could die tonight (biting my tongue here), and he still wouldn’t go away. Because he gaslighted us. From now on, you can’t defend yourself with facts. Only with the right endorsements. From now on, if you say the earth is round, you can’t show a picture from space to prove it. You have to show a picture from space published by Fox News.

I don’t know when people with different opinions will be able to have a discussion again in this country by starting with a few undisputed facts, but I don’t expect it in my lifetime.

This is all thanks to Donald.

Alex Trebec is dead.

So he’s out, as an arbiter. We’re just left with Family Feud, I guess.

I like Joe, even though he was awfully low on my list.

When he announced his candidacy, I said it was like when someone my age bounds up to the volleyball net at the staff picnic and everyone looks around awkwardly trying to decide which team has to take me.

In retrospect, I do wonder if Elizabeth Warren would have won, though. Maybe. But you have to admit. She’s a woman, and that’s pretty scary for a lot of people.

If things are bad enough, a few Republicans might vote for a Democrat. If he’s white, if he isn’t a woman.

Conversely, people are perfectly ok with a woman Supreme Court justice, or a black one. In fact, they’re very proud to be ok with it. It’s just that really volatile mix of gender or race with Democratic politics. Like, whoa . . . yeah, sure she was a DA but . . . black woman Dem? The only way you trust a woman of color is if she’s a Republican. Only way to prove she’s got her head screwed on right. Otherwise . . . scary!

Science, glad to have you back.

Wouldn’t it be great to get Republicans back on board with empirical evidence? Maybe we can shame them into it.

Evangelicals, you’re going to have a President who’s a regular churchgoer!

Catholic, I know. You can’t have everything. But you’re good with the Catholic lady for the Supreme Court, so I figure this could be a win, too.

As William Ader (@JustBill) tweeted the other day, “Lots of evangelicals surprised today to find out what ‘God’s will’ really is.”

Sex, Men, Apologies

I told a friend today that it has not been fun being a straight white man this week. She said, “Yeah? Well, it hasn’t been fun being a woman for a lot longer than that.” She had a point.

I don’t know if we’re on the cusp of a big shift in acceptable male behavior as some people are saying. I’d like to think so, but then we all thought Newtown was going to finally make a difference in gun laws, and patriarchy is a lot older than the NRA. One thing I wouldn’t mind happening is sex coming out in the open a little more in the Christian community, since sexual predation and abuse benefit a great deal from prudery. How could Roy Moore have gotten away with his abominable behavior without it? If instead of feeling up 15-year-old girls he were, I don’t know, bilking pensioners out of their savings, do you think the pensioners would have kept quiet about it? He knew exactly how much power he had, and a whole hell of a lot of it depended on sexual shame.

I use Roy Moore as an example because he’s presently the slimiest in this particular basket of deplorables, but of course this current basket contains a pretty even distribution of political loyalties. Harvey Weinstein, Louis CK, Al Franken, Bill Clinton—we liberals definitely have our share. The penis knows no politics. Be that as it may, I don’t think politics is off the table in this discussion. As of this moment, the facts are that two of those four have come clean about their culpability, and offered pretty unequivocal apology. Franken, who so far seems to be guilty of not much more than over-the-top boorish comedy, has himself suggested a review by the Senate Ethics Committee. Louis CK’s behavior is far ickier, and a number of people have said his apology didn’t go far enough. It is pertinent, though, that he apologized.

In the meantime, the Alabama Republican Party is circling the wagons around Roy Moore. Trump the Pussy Grabber tweets about Al Franken the Crass Comedian the day after the revelation, but gives Moore the Child Molester a pass for a week and a half. I know there are a lot of conservatives appalled by this. I know there will be a few—not enough—Alabamans who decide this state court judge, who made such a show of his religious convictions, is a Pharisee and an opportunist. But until more conservatives hold their own to account, this issue will be political in addition to being moral. I’m seeing real repentance and soul-searching among liberals. Until conservatives hold Donald Trump himself to account, they will be compromised.

All that said. Sexual harassment, predation, abuse is, as Sarah Silverman says, a tumor. Cutting it out “is messy and it’s complicated and is going to hurt. But it’s necessary and we’ll all be healthier for it.”

Shouting v Governing

Last week, after seven years of railing about the socialist evils of the Affordable Care Act and solemn oaths that they would tear it down beam by beam, with a majority in both houses and a President (a half bubble off level, true, but nonetheless) enthusiastically on their side in hating Obamacare, Republicans failed. They admitted that pretty much their whole “plan” since 2010 has been “Obamacare is bad,” and there hadn’t been serious thought in all that time about what might be good. It wasn’t quite a Monty Python sketch, but it was close. Nothing could demonstrate better how easy it is to burn down a house and how hard it is to build one.

Ironically, nor could anything demonstrate better what a mistake it is to deride politicians. Because for all the romance people have with outsiders and idealists these days, it’s the politicians who get things done. But all the Republicans have is screamers. And if Donald Trump’s six-month idiot show has proven anything, it’s that you don’t lead simply by screaming. You lead by working, and in a democracy that means by lots of talk, lots of listening and persuasion and horse-trading and compromise. The very thing we despise politicians for is what makes the country go. It’s called the art of the deal. “Career politicians” are exceptionally good at it. Making a career of something doesn’t automatically corrupt a person in government any more than it corrupts a lifetime construction contractor or a baseball player or an accountant. Sometimes you just get better at your job. A politician’s job is to represent his or her constituents (including those who didn’t vote for that politician) while working with other politicians who were voted in by other people to, all together, lead the country. Change things that don’t work, keep things going that do. It isn’t to crusade. It isn’t to pull up the drawbridge. Mostly, it’s unexciting compromise. As any adult should know who has had to settle an argument among six-year-olds, “compromise” is not a bad thing. It’s what separates the men from the boys, and a democracy from a dictatorship.

Now, while there’s a mad king in the White House, is actually the perfect time for Republicans and Democrats to work together. There’s lots they could accomplish that doesn’t separate them idealogically, starting with an investigation of the Russia scandal. If Republicans want to see what influence the Russians had on the Clinton campaign, sure, let them look into it, since the Russians were undoubtedly up to no good in every nook and cranny they could find. (But they have to investigate in good faith, and so far the evidence of collusion between the Clinton campaign and Russia amounts to about nil.)  Also taxes. Chuck Schumer announced he’s absolutely ready to work across the aisle on the tax code with the Republicans as long as taxes aren’t lowered for the rich—which I actually think should sound reasonable to most Trump voters. Donald also promised to do major work on the country’s infrastructure. He’s temperamentally  unfit for the task, so Congress—Republicans and Democrats—needs to take the lead.

And finally, Obamacare. Obamacare was a huge, complex effort at expanding medical coverage for the country that is a bureaucratic nightmare in part, believe it or not, because of the effort made at avoiding a single-payer system, which would have been  much simpler. (I’m not saying better, I’m saying simpler.) It was an effort to accomplish a national goal—like space exploration, like the highway system—using market principles and including the private insurance industry. It was an incredibly convoluted effort to do a big thing with political buy-in from a broad enough spectrum to get it done. It was bound to get things wrong. But the way to fix those things is not to burn it down and take coverage back away from tens of millions of Americans. The way to fix them is to fix them. And the only way to do that for something so big and so important is for Republicans and Democrats to work together.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake has just written a book in which he basically says Republicans have got to get their morality back and stop pretending they’re in an extended season of Game of Thrones. I disagree with almost all of his politics, but I agree with him  about that. Republicans have got to stop trying to Make America Republican, because that’s never going to happen. They have to start serving their country, which means they stop screaming and scheming, and instead sit down with people they don’t agree with, but work in the same chamber with, and figure out what can be accomplished given all the different kinds of people this country is made of. 

Otherwise, it will not just be the end of the Republican Party. It will be the end of America.