For those of us in the Never Trump wing of the GOP, Tuesday night was a living nightmare. From day one, we never thought this day would actually come, even though our sense of dread grew with each Trump victory.
By the time Tuesday night’s call in Indiana came, I had already consigned myself to it. I think I went through the five stages of grief this last week, knowing what was coming. I’ve now come to acceptance.
The GOP nominee is someone I, and many others, can’t support. We will probably lose the White House and the Senate, throwing away a golden opportunity to fix the structural problems facing our country. Instead, we’re in for at least four more years of a President (from either party) who will make them worse.
I could go on for hours, and I’m sure you could too.
But today I write with good news. For all the negatives that come from our upcoming presidential race (this yard sign captures my thoughts perfectly), there are at least three silver linings.
1. Party Realignment is Coming
Trust and support for the establishment of both major political parties is declining precipitously. That’s great news because the governing coalitions of both parties continue to get smaller and smaller, representing fewer and fewer people. In the age of Obama, both sides now refuse to persuade the public of their ideas, preferring instead to run scorched earth assaults on how “the other side” will destroy America.
It has left a lot of us without a party or candidate to support.
Call me crazy, but I think America needs a Republican Party that knows the difference between being pro free market and pro big business.
I also think America needs a Democrat Party that cares about people who live outside of major cities.
Frankly, it doesn’t have either right now, and an ever-increasing number of us feel we have nobody who represents us.
Nate Silver has argued the conditions look ripe for realignment. It would be good for both parties to rethink their ideas and coalitions. The result would probably be instability for a few years, followed again by two political parties carefully tailored to appeal to 50-60% of the public each. That is a massive improvement.
Frankly, it can’t get worse than it is right now.
2. Ding Dong, the Media is Dead
Republicans have long complained about a political bias against them in major traditional media with varying degrees of merit. However, in a major plot twist, the media finally went too far by being biased in favor of a Republican.
President Obama’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner speech included this sweeping (and spot on) indictment of the press coverage Trump has received:
I don’t want to spend too much time on the Donald. Following your lead, I want to show some restraint because I think we can all agree that from the start he has gotten the appropriate amount of coverage befitting the seriousness of his candidacy.
I hope you all are proud of yourselves. The guy wanted to give his hotel business a boost, and now we are praying that Cleveland makes it through July.
The press stopped laughing (start listening at 4:30) when they realized the president was mocking them, and he was 100% correct. Sure, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have reached new lows, but our entire media establishment has too. It is embarrassing.
The good news is that after this election, it is hard to imagine the public will trust the media much in its current form. Trump has exposed their obsession with sound bites, their controversy-mongering, and their abject failure to discuss (or understand) reality.
Obsessing over every stupid thing Trump says is the straw that has broken a mighty camel’s back. In reality, that level of stupidity has become a staple of American political media for over a decade. From debates about American flag lapel pins to one Indiana pizza store owner’s views on gay marriage, our political media is so bad that they make popular coverage of Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton look responsible by comparison.
One can only hope our media will collectively consult the man in the mirror after this election and decide to start behaving in a way more befitting the Fourth Estate. If not, it is hard to imagine the public taking them very seriously. And since Bernie Sanders won’t be elected, free markets can continue to solve problems like our absurd media once the public realizes how bad things have gotten.
3. Supreme Court More Likely to Restrict Executive Power
The Supreme Court has a prime opportunity to restrict the power of the President in an upcoming decision United States v. Texas. In it, the court is considering President Obama’s executive amnesty, but the court also asked both parties to brief it on the Take Care Clause of the Constitution.
That’s the provision that says the President is responsible to actually implement the laws of the country. A standard understanding of our Constitution is that the President gets some leeway in implementing laws within reason, but the executive amnesty has pushed that leeway to the breaking point. Now the court has the opportunity to create a designated limit or test that will allow lower courts to quickly stop any inappropriate action by the executive.
Take the perspective of the four liberal justices on the court. Oral arguments revealed the court is probably tied 4-4, meaning that the administration’s plan is dead until after the election no matter what. The next president will either be:
- Hillary Clinton, who will presumably have a Democrat Senate (and possibly House) with the wind at her back.
- Donald Trump, a crazy person with authoritarian instincts.
If Hillary Clinton is President, she will certainly have the muscle to get immigration reform through Congress, meaning executive action will be unnecessary.
If Donald Trump is President, severe limits to executive power are desirable to limit his authoritarian instincts.
My guess is that at least one, if not all, of the liberal justices will readily sign on to a plan to reduce executive discretion. At the very least, they are far more likely to do so after Tuesday’s results.