Election 2016

Yesterday’s election results came as a shock to me. Since then, I’ve taken the opportunity to look at the numbers.

Donald Trump appears to have successfully motivated large numbers of white males without a college education, particularly in the industrial Midwest, and that was what pushed him over the top. I’m not going to cite figures here—they’re easy enough to find.

But what do these results mean? I think many people who voted for Trump were casting a vote against Hillary Clinton and this country’s entrenched political establishment. Bernie Sanders was essentially making a similar argument, and I was frustrated when he didn’t win the Democratic nomination. I also find it interesting that Mr. Trump outperformed Mitt Romney, not only in places where Romney was competitive, but in others as well. I guess that for the Republicans, Trump may represent some new kind of “hopey-changey thing” à la Sarah Palin.

Looking at the results of the popular vote, I think it’s clear that Donald Trump has failed to earn a mandate of any kind. With 99% of the votes reported, Mrs. Clinton is slightly more than 200,000 votes ahead. It’s a simple fact that more American voters cast their votes for Mrs. Clinton than for Donald Trump. But our electoral system works differently, and there are good reasons why it works the way it does—it is designed to prevent a candidate (or party) with wide support in only one region from overwhelming the national election.

In any case, now is the time for all Americans to pull together, to build consensus for our future, and collectively put a stop to the political extremists who were released by the vitriol of the recent contest. Their bigotry and intolerance surely promise to run our civil society into the ditch. They’re still around, and many of them supported Trump, so they’re energized by his victory. I don’t think I need to say who they are or what, specifically, they support. Thinking Americans already know.

On another note, Mr. Trump promised that he would lead this country, and since the Republicans will also control the House and the Senate, there won’t be any excuses for not getting things done. I think that’s great for America. Trump is not part of the political establishment, so I hope he’ll do what any business leader would do—give us a timeline—a 30-60-90-180-day plan for getting the things he promised in motion. It’s not too much to ask. Anyone who just hired a CEO would expect the same.

I have a last observation on one of Trump’s promises: the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. “ObamaCare.”

Many on the Republican side see ObamaCare as some kind of huge (or, if you prefer, “yuge”) failure. That’s not what it is at all, however. The ACA extended care to millions of people who didn’t have it before, and eliminated significant obstacles for young people and people with pre-existing conditions… ah… but it wasn’t “affordable,” now was it? And it’s getting worse. I believe the designers of ObamaCare knew where it would end up, and allowed it to go there in order to demonstrate to the American people that the private insurance model is not an appropriate model for providing a national health care safety net. At the end of the day, the US Government could not force private insurers to remain in a particular marketplace, and as those insurers withdrew, subscribers’ premiums went up as the remaining companies bore more of the costs of providing care. Hopefully, this important lesson hasn’t been missed. If it has, the Trump Administration will be wasting its time and our money trying to reinvent a wheel that we already know isn’t perfect. They will need to look at a completely different model to get this right—not that of private insurance. I do find it interesting, however, that they don’t advocate a return to the pre-ObamaCare world.

Just my thoughts. Cheers!