On the European Sidelines For The American Revolution: When Trump Won As Brexit Moved West
Coming back from dinner last night in Lisbon (Tuesday evening in Portugal, but afternoon in Houston), I was speaking with our cab driver who mused that surely Hillary Clinton would be elected President because that was best for America and our continued backing of democracy and freedom throughout the world. Alas, the American people did not agree. The cab driver thought our role in protecting the world was essential. That may have changed, but maybe not.
I don’t know if Hillary Clinton was simply the wrong candidate at the wrong time in the wrong place or she was simply not “likeable enough,” as President Obama said about her many years ago. But for whatever reasons, and make no mistakes the PhD theses coming out of this election will be many, Donald Trump is the next President of the United States and deserves our support.
The total vote count looks like Mr. Trump will take about a million more votes than Mrs. Clinton nationally. It really wasn’t all that close in the electoral count. The people have spoken.
Let’s see what happens next. Mr. Trump will have to form a government and will have a Congress of his own party, but not really of his liking. They are still mainstream American politicians who have little in common with the new President. Something has to give. Either he will get his way and really change Washington or they will have theirs and nothing much will happen. Again, we shall see.
I can’t help but contemplate what happened at MD Anderson in 2011 when Dr. DePinho was named. He was met with good will and a lot of hope, even though the process of his selection was nowhere near as democratic as the one that made Donald Trump President-elect. It was not democratic at all.
Dr. DePinho, like Mr. Trump, was a variant from his predecessors. Trump is the first man elected to the Presidency never to have served in public office or the military—ever! Dr. DePinho was not a mainstream leader with experience in American oncology. The difference is that Trump was elected by a democratic process. DePinho was selected by an elite and seemingly out-of-touch group of administrative types. These people, the Board of Regents and the UT leadership, made a bad choice. The current financial deficit at Anderson is but the latest evidence of the failure of such an elite selection system to identify true leadership or to match the skill set of the selected leader with the challenges he or she will face in office.
No one really knows what to expect of Mr. Trump. His acceptance speech was both genuine and conciliatory. Great. Kellyanne Conway looks like a genius about now because she succeeded where others failed at keeping her boss on message and representing him well on television. I suspect that she will be the new Press Secretary if not White House Chief of Staff.
Chris Christie may have had his career salvaged as he is likely to be the next Attorney General. I suspect Rudy Giuliani will direct Homeland Security and Ben Carson will head HHS (frightening). Jeff Sessions probably can have his pick of jobs and may be the next Secretary of Defense. But I get ahead of myself.
For now, let us conclude on this.
The Framers always look like geniuses even on Broadway (in Hamilton). They were young idealists who created a government that has served us well for 240 years. They built a system where government could be replaced and it could be replaced without a shot being fired. It happened. This may well be a second American Revolution where the yoke of oppressive congressional inaction was finally thrown off and the final shift of power 16 blocks up Pennsylvania Avenue has occurred. But not so fast.
Mr. Trump has the thinnest of majorities in the Senate and you still need 60 votes to break a filibuster with cloture. The GOP showed how to do that in 2009 and 2010. The Democrats learned.
However, let’s wish for the best. Let’s hope Mr. Trump actually rises to the challenge and learns how to work with Congress and get some meaningful things done like infrastructure construction, better relations with Russia, and fewer military engagements in the Middle East.
But more than anything else, let’s wish the new President-elect our best wishes and all our prayers and all of our efforts to try to heal from this fractious campaign. And I shouldn’t need to say this but I will, God bless America because the rest of the world is both watching us and counting on us to get this right.
That cab driver was still right. The United States is the hope of the world and must continue to be. In the end, Mrs. Clinton has only herself to blame and Mr. Trump himself to thank. Perhaps all is still well in America. Yes, Team Trump was victorious and Team Clinton defeated, but the individuals were the story and the one who was the center of attention at the end, lost, as many predicted. Those emails undid her. She undid herself. This is probably as it should be and surely as it is.