Over the course of months I watched, albeit from afar, the horse race which was the US elections this year. It was easy to get some updates almost hourly, certainly daily, on the big race for president. Hundreds of other contests were decided on Tuesday this week, of course, including local propositions and senators and congress people, but all eyes seemed to be on the two main candidates, determined by the longer-than-ever primary season and the rubber stamping national conventions. And by now, informed people know that Donald J Trump is the president-elect. He will assume command on 20 January as is the national custom at his inauguration.
I wrote the other day about the Bradley effect and how the pollsters got it so wrong, but today my thoughts go to the idea of a third party. So many of my contacts in the US (I've lived in Australia for 18 years) were polarized in support of, or fierce opposition to, either of the major candidates, Secretary Clinton or Mr Trump. I found a few, rare individuals who were supportive of a candidate and who were not strident. So much hostility; so little grace.
To be sure, there were those undecideds who seriously were stuck between what many called the two evils. Some said, "Better the devil we know than the devil we don't know." Some couldn't get beyond Benghazi or tens of thousands of chattering emails. Some could not accede to a man who guaranteed his genitals were of significant size and who demeaned others like a schoolyard bully. Back and forth the mudslinging continued. It was genuinely ugly and for me as an American in Australia (or wherever I traveled) and so embarrassing. But wait, let's go back a bit.
Some of my strident friends couldn't support Hillary because she was pro-abortion, even to the end of a pregnancy, as she said, if the life of the mother were at risk. They didn't voice the same concern when Donald said, “I'm pro-life, but with the caveats. It's-- Life of the mother (very important), incest and rape,” Trump said. Donald also said, ‘You have bad researchers’: when Bill O’Reilly questioned him on Planned Parenthood TheBlaze - Sep 9, 2015. In 1999, Trump stated to the Associated Press, “I believe it (abortion) is a personal decision that should be left to the women and their doctors.” OK, so he has changed his mind since then. People do that. And I'm glad he did, but I wonder, is he as dyed in the wool Republican as some think?
Read this report this week from Business Report on Donald and women's health issues.
The Donald promised to release his tax returns like every candidate of modern times. He didn't. He did say, "In terms of taxes, “I know people making a tremendous amount of money and paying virtually no taxes, and I think it's unfair.” But we don't know about his own record.
OK, as a businessman who has declared bankruptcy any number of times, do we want him to run the largest economy in the world? Too late now to ask that question, but some were thinking that.
His sexual exploits were another embarrassing theme throughout the final days. Women lined up to declare their being assaulted by him; video tapes from years ago revealed a person who was not the picture the Republicans would want, and especially for the evangelical Christians who didn't share those values. Yet 82% of evangelicals voted for him. Values aside, they voted party.
Many voted for him because they liked the platform of the Republican party which included a recognition of Christianity and prayer in school, an overturning of Roe v Wade, a lowering of corporate tax threshholds, etc. The platform called for a recognition of the rights of the unborn under the 14th Amendment. The platform calls for Keystone to be finished. You get it, it's a comprehensive exercise of classic conservative values and such.
Still I aver that he's the consummate third-party candidate. Forget Tea Party or Ross Perot, forget how Perot knocked Clinton into the White House. I may be wrong, but I think Donald J Trump is the real 3rd-party person of this election. He is as Republican today as he can be, but what will he be tomorrow? His erratic personality, and self-importance, and declaration that he could stand in the middle of Times Square with a gun and shoot someone and get away with it-- it's so non-Republican. His unwillingness throughout the primaries to listen to his handlers/ advisors was clearly displayed. People loved that he was non-PC. In fact he was anti-PC. He was a loose cannon. He could say to anyone at anytime that they were less, they were of little importance, they were insignificant. He propped himself up by knocking others down. Whether it was Ted Cruz or Ari Fleischer, Megyn Kelly or John McCain, Rand Paul, or anyone who challenged him. That's not Republican; that's not even American. That's self-consumed and classic misanthropic behaviour. I express my worry. It is not disdain; it is not disapproval of the process. It is worry and anxiety about the person.
I think people voted the party, even though the party had been coopted by the classic outsider. He boasted of his outside-ness. He is the first president-elect never to have held a governmental or military position. Yet, he is as sharp a politician as there is.
And thus I will pray. And hope. And challenge Americans to get beyond the hatred and strife which characterized the last 18 months and join together to make the world a better place with better people performing better acts. And that prayer should not be for a bullet to strike Mr Trump. It should be as the apostle Paul wrote to his mate Timothy what should be a wonderful guide for us in these days of putting aside the hostility, "I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Messiah Yeshua, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension." (1 Timothy 2.1-8)