As Thanksgiving approaches, the country is still feeling the fallout from our recent national election. Around 25 percent of the country's eligible voters are displeased with the results of the presidential race, while 25 percent are pleased. The other 50 percent of the voting pool declined to participate. Thanks, idiots.
For the second time in 16 years, the candidate who won the presidential popular vote lost the election, meaning the country as a whole is now as gerrymandered as most states are.
It isn't going to change soon, not when the winning party has all the levers of power. There's going to be a President Trump, for better or for worse, and we're going to have to adjust to what promises to be a very challenging near-future.
As he demonstrated during his campaign, Trump has little regard for traditional political behavior. With this president-elect, everything is personal, and his skin is remarkably thin. We can only pray that his handlers — and Congress — can find the courage to restrain his more impulsive behavior.
The past two weeks have not been encouraging. Trump has complained relentlessly via Twitter about Saturday Night Live, the cast of Hamilton, and The New York Times all being "unfair." He called in the top brass and on-air talent of all the major networks to Trump Tower, Monday, for an off-the-record meeting at which he called CNN "liars" and chastised NBC News for using an unflattering picture of him that Trump said made him appear as if he had multiple chins. Trump hasn't held a press conference since July.
Meanwhile, in the federally owned Ronald Reagan building in Washington, D.C., Richard Spencer, the head of a white supremacist group calling itself the National Policy Institute, gave a speech in which he shouted, "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail our victory!" (You know how to say "hail" in German, right?) He went on to call the media "lügenpresse," the nazi name for press critics, and added several anti-Semitic comments. The speech ended with the audience applauding wildly and giving Spencer the one-armed Hitler salute. In a federal building.
Spencer calls his group "alt-right." As a critic said this week, that's like calling a pool of vomit "alt-brunch." They are nazis, and, like the KKK, they feel it's now safe to come into the light because of Trump's victory.
Also problematical for Trump — and the Constitution — is his vast network of businesses around the globe, which present unprecedented risks of conflicts of interest for the new president, who will be dealing with many national leaders from countries where he has operations. In the past, presidents have put their financial interests in a blind trust, so as to avoid any possible appearance of self-interest while serving the country. Trump, on the other hand, has said he will leave the control of his business empire to his children, but he's also made it clear his children will be involved in his administration, so we will have to blindly trust that he and his children will never discuss the family business. Sure.
It's one thing to flout the traditional rules of campaigning — revealing your tax returns, for example — and quite another to flout the constitutional rules that restrain a president from accepting favors from a foreign government, which is classified as treason by the Constitution. The bottom line is that we will need to rely on what statesmen remain in the GOP to stand up for what's right, arguably a thin reed to lean upon.
Still, at your Thanksgiving table, it might be prudent to say a little prayer for Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain and any other lawmakers who might find the courage to do the right thing when called upon. It's either that or blind trust.
I miss the "war on Christmas" already.