Trump is a Symptom, Not the Illness.
How economic frustration, racism, and theft of our democracy got us to where we are today.
For me personally, Trump’s victory still doesn’t feel quite real.
I remember the hours following election night 2016 like it was yesterday. At two thirty in the morning I sat in the living room by myself while my roommates were asleep, and I was unable to move. I just stared at the TV, barely registering anything that was being said by anyone on the CNN panel. I still haven’t forgotten what it was like to feel so shocked, angry, terrified, and numb all at once. Trump had done it. At times, it still feels like the nightmare I don’t get to wake myself up to escape from.
Above anything else I was scared, but I also felt betrayed. I had done exactly what everyone told me to do. I fell in line, I bowed my head, and as much as it pained me to do so I cast my vote for Hillary Clinton. And clearly in the end, none of it mattered. I finally made my way upstairs to bed that night, and laid awake until 7:30 in the morning. At around four, I started crying.
I found comfort in the following days knowing I wasn’t the only one struggling to grapple with what was happening. As much as I had been telling myself that he had a real shot from the very beginning, actually accepting that he had succeeded was another thing entirely. I had spent so much time focusing on his message and the dangers he presented, that I had started to forget why he was doing so well in the first place. I was so caught up in the drama of the 2016 election cycle, that I nearly lost sight of the economic frustration, racism, and theft of our democracy that had given us Donald Trump in the first place.
Trump was no accident.
He’s not some embarrassing fluke that we’ll be able to pretend never happened after a few years. The Trump presidency is one that will have profound, lasting implications that America will likely be living with for decades to come. No matter if Trump wins or not in 2020, his legacy is going nowhere soon because the endemic problems that got him elected will still be plaguing our country long after he has left office.