Here it is the day after the election and my candidate lost. I should be sad, maybe even frightened. But I’m more numbed from shock and lack of sleep than anything else. The election results were totally unexpected and made no sense whatsoever. Donald Trump has the least political experience of any candidate ever to seek the U. S. presidency, but that didn’t deter his supporters. They were fed up with the trajectory, real or imagined, on which our country has been headed and felt that only Donald Trump offered any real solutions, albeit mostly outrageous promises.
In the Democratic primaries Bernie Sanders proposed real changes. But he was an avowed socialist, a proponent of a thoroughly discredited system. Socialism has been tried and found wanting. And not just in the Soviet Union. Britain, France and other European democracies embarked on socialist experiments immediately after World War II and it was a disaster each time. In the late 1940s and early ‘50s the Communist Party was the largest party (over 30%) in France. But it was not the majority party; there were a total of 17 French parties at the time. Today the American right wing accuses European parliamentary democracies of being socialist because of government programs like health care, retirement, free university tuition etc. But free-market capitalism is alive and well in Europe and Asia outside the Chinese sphere of influence.
Up until the election I would have bet good Yankee money that Hillary would win handily. She has had the most experience in government service of any presidential candidate in memory. And it wasn’t all "bad experience" as Donald crowed. John Quincy Adams had a lot too, but his years of experience didn’t approach Hillary’s. But this didn’t carry the weight with the voters that I thought it would. Change, apparently any kind of change, was what they wanted. The louder the bluster and the bigger the lies and political gaffs, the better Trump’s odds became of capturing the White House.
My confidence of a Democratic victory was based on my own logic and that of the vast majority of the political pundits. But both failed me miserably. When it comes to things like this I should have listened to the professional bookmakers instead of the media experts and my own intuitive convictions. Professional odds-makers are usually smarter and more accurate than the media pundits and prognosticators. They have to be or they’ll be out of business. It’s their living.
Trump started off at 60-1 odds but wound up better than an even bet by election day. His bluster, gaffs and tasteless improprieties merely increased his coverage and kept him on center stage where he wanted to be. And the media ate it up. Again, they have had nothing like him in recent memory to help market soap, auto insurance and ED solutions.
In the final analysis, the American people have spoken. Is this the same country I volunteered four years of my life to serve and defend? Sometimes I wonder.
George B. Reed Jr., who lives in Rossville, can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.