One Year After Trump

I remember where I was last year, exactly today. Do you? Election night 2016 was highly anticipated, highly billed, and historic. I suppose it’d be like a wedding night for some, or the birth of their first child — in the sense that the night was unforgettable. This monumental moment could also be like the other big benchmarks in life. I remember where I was when I read my first book (all by myself, like a big boy). I remember where I was when I first rode a bike without training wheels. And I sure as hell remember, very well, where I was last year for election night. It was where I found myself four years before, too — in my living room with the TV on. There I was, on the couch with my iPad and cellphone. I settled in just before the polls closed. I was excitedly and optimistically scrolling through my twitter and Facebook feeds. The excitement and anxiety stemmed from the majority of everyone saying with conviction that Hillary Clinton would be the president-elect by the end of the night. I was following live election results/forecasts provided by the New York Times and Politico. The New York Time’s small prediction thermometer (of sorts) started off leaning blue. I vividly recall the views, through the television, of the Clinton and Trump camps. The Clinton Campaign settled in at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, an establishment that wears a glass ceiling for a hat (symbolism much?). Only a few blocks away, the Trump Campaign hunkered down at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel.

Kristen Welker of NBC news was under the transparent ceiling of the Javits center when she exclaimed, something along the lines of, “Here at Clinton headquarters, they are exuding confidence. They are telling me it’s not a matter of if Hillary will win the presidency; it’s a matter of when.”

Holy cow. This is it. How lucky am I? I was fortunate enough to vote for Barack Obama in 2012, and I’m just about to witness the victory of the first woman elected to the highest office in the land. How cool. I can’t wait to tell others how it was years from now. “Do you remember where you were when Hillary was elected President?”

As the night drew on, the haunting thermometer veered right. The “blue wall” collapsed. Virginia looked tight. Pennsylvania looked too tight. Ohio went quickly. I dialed in on the results of certain precincts in swing states, some old reliables. And eventually Florida was called. It was like a bad dream. (I wrote about my feelings after last year’s election day here, fyi.) This couldn’t be happening. I wasn’t going to go all Karl Rove and cry fowl. The writing was on the wall. Donald J. Trump would win the electoral college, the biggest political upset in modern times (A Cleveland Browns Super Bowl Victory). I called it a night before the race was called. I couldn’t take the slow torture. Don’t promise me the moon and give me a MoonPie. I shuffled into bed disappointed. More than anything — to be quite honest — I was scared. Republicans now held a solid majority in both chambers of congress. Quickly, my three young nephews came to mind. How would their world look after four years under Trump? What did this mean for the borderland, my home? What would become of my Mexican American family and friends, some of whom are DREAMers? What did this mean for the LGBT community? For Planned Parenthood? For Obamacare? For war efforts? I grew physically sick thinking about all of this. My piss was an off colored orange, despite staying hydrated. I developed a nasty headache, and my heart only kept racing. Sleep didn’t come easily that night. I knew all too well that Putin was licking his chops on the other side of the world.

On the one year anniversary of Trumps election, I’ve been thinking to myself lately: “Over 325 million people in this great nation and we ended up with that guy.” The armchair lawyers and pollsters always halfheartedly responded, “That’s the beauty of our democracy.”

It’s important to note that we don’t always get it right, these elections…There is perhaps only one positive rooting from the Trump victory. People are paying attention now. There’s no arguing that. A fine amount of the politically apathetic woke up. The victory of the Alt-right, the racists, the bigots, the homophobes, the xenophobes, the fascists — it gave rise to something else.

The Resistance was born, a movement whose dogma was to resist the hateful and regressive policies of the Trump administration and its supporters in congress; A movement that serves as the antithesis of the administration and the alt-right. The conception of this idea can probably be traced back to January 21st, 2017, the day of the now famous Women’s March. Now, some ideas sound better on paper, and only time would reveal the legitimacy of the movement.

One of the first big exams this supposed resistance would face was a special congressional election in Georgia. Jon Ossoff (D) vs. Karen Handel (R) was another highly anticipated race that captured the attention of millions of Americans. In a district (Georgia’s 6th) that Hillary Clinton lost by a single point in 2016, this special election was to be a good measuring stick for democrats.

Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel

Much to the chagrin of progressives, Ossoff lost the special election by over ten thousand votes and just over five percentage points. It was a punch to the gut for democrats nationwide. Even after pouring millions into Ossoff’s efforts and after knocking on hundreds of doors, despite the zeal, the democrats fell short again in humiliating fashion.

Months following this special election, others had their calendars circled on November 7th, 2017. Election Day.

I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t all too giddy about yesterday’s prospects. After the surprise win of Trump, I only took polling with a grain of salt; I no longer have faith in the “pros.” The DNC chair (again IMO) doesn’t have the vision the democratic party requires. (We need fresh, young leaders). I kind of held my breath. However, to my pleasant surprise two crucial elections were called rather early and were shockingly decisive: Two democratic candidates won their gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey (Ralph Northam and Phil Murphy, respectively). Luckily for liberals, the good news only started there.

Dems flipped the control of Washington state Senate, and they are making a play for the majority in the Virginia House of Delegates. After election night, Maine will expand medicaid in their state. Dems picked up mayoral seats across the country. Let’s zoom in and focus…

After Election Day 2017, Andrea Jenkins is the first openly transgender black woman elected to office in the U.S.

After Election Day 2017, Danica Roem is the first transgender candidate to be elected and serve in a state legislature.

Ravinder Bhalla is now the first Sikh mayor-elect in New Jersey’s history. He’ll serve Hoboken, NJ.

Jenny Durkan will become Seattle’s first women mayor since the 1920s. She’s also the first lesbian elected to that office.

Vi Lyles was elected as Charlotte’s first black female mayor.

Kathy Tran became the first Asian-American woman to be elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.

So is this proof that the Deathstar plans have been acquired? Who knows for certain? It’s early. Yesterday’s hottest election was supposed to be a tight one between Gillespie and Northam, yet Northam won by an impressive eight percentage points. If election day 2017 has a consistent theme from mayoral to gubernatorial races, it’s this: Democrats have the impetus. The election was a referendum against Trump and Trumpism (*barf). It’s a wave progressives should energetically ride into the midterms in 2018, if they want to win. Jason Kander, former Secretary of State of Missouri, put it best late on election night 2017: “They have the power, we have the momentum, and tomorrow is a work day.” The democrats overcame extreme gerrymandering in multiple races. They unseated GOP incumbents. Now they need to keep going.

The big question is this: How are we doing after a year? It’s all perspective, a matter of POV — right? If you’re a Trump supporter, you might not be well informed enough to see what’s really going on here. If you’re a democrat, things are looking up. Two of Trump’s campaign officials (so far) have anklets locked to their legs and are under house arrest, so that’s a start. Complacency and humor aside, democrats have reason to believe the 2018 midterms will serve them well. Republicans are shaking in their boots. We’ve seen GOP Congressman and Senators in D.C. distance themselves from the president. Senator Flake, Senator McCain, and Senator Corker have been stones in Trump’s shoes. Some GOP congressmen are deciding to hang up the cleats at the end of their term. There’s something behind all this white noise, a voice. There’s a small voice that has been getting louder over the past year under Trump. It’s a voice that stands at the podium before progressives. It’s an appealing voice to the electorate, the moderates. At the moment, it’s collectively coming together like this: “Speaker Ryan, we’re coming for your seat.”

Hugo is a classically trained vocalist and finds work in the theatre. He’s fan of classic film, good literature, sports, and the outdoors. Hobbies also include gastronomy and travel. Follow on instagram (@hugosnaps) for photography and/or on twitter (@hugosaysgo) for humor and odd observations. Happy reading :) Please recycle

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store