Forty-eight hours before the election, I’m increasingly (and very cautiously, still planning on doing some last-minute phone banking) optimistic about the fact that Hillary Clinton will be elected President on Tuesday (gonna knock on some wood just in case tho). However, I’m also increasingly aware that November 8 is just the beginning. We may rescue our republic from a would-be tyrant on Tuesday, but now we have to rebuild it. Trump’s campaign has torn apart fragile political, social and institutional. It will take years, possible decades, to fix the damage.
My hope is that the uncomfortable, fearful energy so many of us feel now—over-caffeinated and under-rested — will morph, after election day, into a steadfast resolve to keep fighting well after the election. But here’s a question that’s been sneaking into my head like an uninvited guest crashing a party: how and where do we start?
Like the 15-month barrage of lies Trump calls a campaign, the list of incredibly basic institutions we now need to fix is so long that it’s easy to forget that the country will still need to be governed after Tuesday. Don’t get me wrong, I think Hillary will (knocking on so much wood rn) make a very good president. But she’s going to start deep in the hole. For starters, she’s going to face a hostile GOP-lead House intent on weighing down her administration with frivolous hearings instead of doing their job of working with her to govern the country. If Democrats don’t win the Senate, she’ll have to deal with a Republican-held upper chamber intent on starting a constitutional crisis by shamelessly refusing to even hold hearings on any of her Supreme Court justice nominations despite arguing just months ago that the reason they’re refusing to do so now is to give the next President a chance. The FBI’s partisan tantrum will have to be addressed to restore the independence of the intelligence community. And that’s just the problems from inside the government itself. Never mind the fact that because of how irresponsibly Trump has campaigned, a full quarter of the electorate may not believe she actually won the election (all the wood) fairly. And even if that very real threat of discord never really materializes, the whole torn in civil society by Trump’s pandering to white nationalists, neo-nazis and other racist, anti-semitic and Islamophobic nasties will need to be repaired somehow. And of course, those of us working in tech and media will need to do some serious soul-searching about how the choices we’ve made facilitated these problems, and how to rebuild trust in our own institutions.
Reading that ghastly paragraph, I’m frankly surprised Hillary still wants to be President of this country. I’m not sure I would. Because even if we do somehow manage to repair all of the above damage, well…we’ve still got immigration, education, health care, welfare and social security, income inequality, climate change, economic competitiveness, instability in the Middle East, the emergence of Russia and China, and all the other things that were supposed to be issues this year to worry about.
Exported from Medium on October 22, 2020.