It was a brisk and sunny morning in Forest Hills, Queens on November 8th, 2016. The crazy Presidential contest would be over by this time the next morning. I went to my polling place and cast my vote for Gary Johnson. There were no illusions that Johnson would win. His only chance required winning a State and then hoping for electoral deadlock. My odds were better playing the New York Lottery.
I wore my Johnson campaign shirts as frequently as possible leading up to November 8th. Election day would be the second to last day I put on a Johnson for President shirt. It was sacrilegious to openly support Gary Johnson in New York. People gave me death stares, chuckled, and verbally attacked me. How dare I openly oppose the Queen.
I had no horse in the race on election night. My vote wouldn’t make a difference in New York. But I eagerly tuned into the election night coverage. I had a feeling we were in for an upset and I didn’t want to miss it.
I messaged friends in private weeks ahead of the election that I thought Trump might just win in midst of every reputable news source reporting the impossibility of it. Contrary to the Leftist groupthink of the coasts, Obama did a subpar job at best. A weak economy is generally bad for the incumbent party. I also had a gut feeling from the news, debates, Twitter sentiment, and Trump’s rallies.
The rest, as we know, is history. Donald Trump pulled off an incredible upset and became our 45th President. I flipped through ABC, NBC, Fox, and Twitter all night for perspectives from all sides. Watching news anchors and cocksure Clinton supporters trip over themselves as the possibility of a Trump victory went from impossible to improbable to inevitable was tremendously satisfying.
Some may argue that I’m really a closet Trump supporter. Like Trump and those of us raised in the boroughs of New York City: I don’t give a shit what you think.
I don’t hate Trump. I’ve always respected and admired his business success. I attended a Trump real estate seminar once. I’ve read some of his books–although not The Art of the Deal. But there was no chance I would have voted for Trump in 2016. My vote in New York didn’t matter. My election objective is to help third parties become more prominent and open up more choices.
Helping third parties was simply worth more in a State that would have gone blue no matter how many scandals surrounded Clinton. I still believe having a viable third party is good for America.
What is bad for America are the protests that immediately sprouted after the election. We had a fairly elected President and people from the opposing side proceeded to lose their minds. The same people who ridiculed Trump for not saying he would accept the election results just a couple of weeks before are out in the streets chanting “Not My President”. Residents living in Trump Tower were unnecessarily disrupted and property in other cities were damaged for no reason. This behavior is unacceptable. It is one thing to protest a legitimate injustice, it is another to throw a public tantrum over a result you don’t like.
I have never once voted for a candidate that won the Presidency. But I have accepted all of them as President. We don’t have to agree with or like the President but America’s elections have been fair. The only sensible next step is to move forward and continue to fight for the causes and ideas you believe in.
Eight years earlier, Barack Obama became the 44th President and his victory was historic. New York City celebrated all night. Times Square was abuzz with joyful people having a great time. I was there that night and while I did not vote for Obama, I understood the symbology and was privately proud. Regardless of how often the media parades the diminishing cases of race related hate crimes, that night affirmed what I always knew:
America is a great nation.
Trump Derangement Syndrome
The insanity of the anti-Trump sentiment has not abated a full year after the election. The news cannot write an unbiased headline to save themselves. Late night comedians like Stephen Colbert is stuck in a loop of Trump punchlines that are only still funny in the progressive echo chamber.
The spread of Fake News from the mainstream media has created an environment where average Americans are forming opinions with wrong or incomplete information. The news continues to frame the Russia meddling as a Trump-Russia connection and missing reality completely.
It is hard to see all this as anything other than pushing a narrative to undermine a fairly elected President not approved by the political elites. I want Trump to do well. We should all want that. There is no benefit to a dysfunctional America and there is no path forward if we are constantly seeded the idea that the President, the election, and therefore our system of government is illegitimate.
The President, like all elected officials, should be held accountable. The facts should be reported objectively. That is not happening.
Trump’s recent visit to Asia led CNN to write this slanted headline: “Trump feeds fish, winds up pouring entire box of food into koi pond.” They included an edited video to depict the President as a foolish buffoon dumping a whole box of food into the pond. The unedited video shows Trump following Prime Minister Abe’s lead like any normal person would.
How can Americans trust the news to report on serious events if they cannot objectively report on feeding fish?
Take this more serious story of Trump’s speech in China where he addressed the trade problem head on. He described China’s “unfair trade practice” with the US and the “forced technology transfer and theft of intellectual property”. The President stood in front of the Chinese in China and accused them of stealing. But that’s not the headline.
Trump then notes he doesn’t blame the Chinese for taking advantage of the situation and said, “who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens? I give China great credit.”
Headlines lead with the second part. The first part is maybe mentioned in the body of the article.
Here we have the President telling China that he understands they had to do what was best for them but that it was no longer acceptable. What’s in the past is in the past. No hard feelings. But we are going to change things moving forward.
Like all good businessmen, Trump isn’t looking for the Chinese to lose so we can win. A good deal is where everyone walks away a winner. Hopefully we walk away a bigger winner but no one needs to lose.
It was Presidential. The news would instantly combust if they had to recognize a positive about Trump.
Given all the biased media coverage and petulant attitude from progressives, it is hard not to root for the President. But I will not support the President just to spite the lunatic Left. Yet, there are positives from Trump’s first year as President that is changing my mind.
Trump is Genuine and Gives No Shits
Trump is imperfect like all of us. He loves Twitter but sometimes goes too far. Yet, his “give no shits” attitude has been refreshing to witness. Elitists and those of that mindset can’t stand it. I love it. One reason I vote third party is to give the entrenched two party elites the finger. Trump gets to do it all day long.
What’s not to like about that?
Contrary to the reports of the theoretical ways Trump can use the Presidency to enrich himself or his family, there has been no evidence. What does Trump need more money for? He has more wealth than he will ever need. He is the one President who owes nothing to special interests and special interests have nothing he cannot get himself.
Quite frankly, he just does whatever he wants. He even got around China’s Great Firewall to use Twitter. He cannot be controlled. Not by the Great Firewall. Not by the elites and that annoys them to no end.
He speaks his mind on Twitter. Goes off script in speeches. Sometimes he’s outrageous and impolite. Other times he is level-headed and funny. He is who he is. A billionaire on paper who acts and speaks like an everyday New Yorker.
Trump Has No Party Loyalties
Trump’s lack of party loyalty is a sight for my sore eyes. The Bush and Obama Presidencies chose party over America. I don’t care for any party let alone the circus donkey and elephant parties.
He trash talks everyone. Doesn’t matter what party. He’ll fire anyone. His own appointees. People from the Obama administration. If you aren’t performing: you’re fired. If you can’t work with the rest of the team: you’re fired.
Some try to spin this as Trump’s inability to hire good people. These people must have never hired a team before. One key skill in bringing together a great team is knowing when you’ve made a wrong hire and then rectifying it. Trump has shown this throughout his campaign and as President. His administration might have more turnover than usual but that is not a negative.
Those who think they can do everything right the first time are the real fools.
Trump Doesn’t Give Up
I never supported Obamacare. The core thesis of universal health insurance is flawed. Progressives will debate this until the cows come home as they point to how well it all works in Canada, the UK, and other places. It is a debate with no conclusion as none of those countries are like America. Not by size. Not by diversity. Not by culture.
But we’ve had Obamacare for years now. We know exactly how well it works.
And the results clearly demonstrate that it does not work. The next argument is how Obamacare didn’t have resources or just needs this change or that change, etc. The core principles underlying universal healthcare simply does not work over the long term.
The National Health Service in the UK is going to start limiting care to smokers or the obese. First they come for these unhealthy people. Who will be next? A centrally controlled health system will always and continuously run into a resource problem. Prices can go up in the case of Obamacare or taxes will or services will be cut in the case of the NHS.
Trump’s repeal and replace of Obamacare has not gone well but there’s no quit in his attitude. He tried once. He tried twice. And he has vowed to keep trying. I don’t agree with the loose use of Executive Orders in principle but sometimes you have to be pragmatic. I applaud Trump’s most recent order to increase competition and choice in health insurance. The solution to health care is decentralization.
Tax reform is being debated right now and there’s a good chance nothing happens on that front before 2018 as well. Trump is going around renegotiating trade deals with other nations. He managed to finagle funding to build prototypes of The Wall. A wall which I do not support and truly did not believe would be built. But now I think he actually will. And somehow get Mexico to pay for it in the end. I don’t know how but I’m not sure he can be out-persisted.
Trump Puts America First
Trump’s first year as President has shown me that he does truly love America. He is putting America First. Every President would like to say and believe that they did as well but both Bush and Obama sold out ordinary Americans when the opportunity came. Be it to Wall St, special interests, foreign nations or some combination of the three–usually billed as a trade agreement.
That said, Trump has plenty of time to join the Bush/Obama America First (Only When It’s Easy) Club. His first year has given me reason to believe he won’t but politics is complicated and while I criticize Bush and Obama, I understand they had to make difficult decisions. That doesn’t mean they get a pass. They had choices and chose not to put America First.
I’ve rewatched some of the debates from 2016 in the last year. Mostly because Trump is so entertaining. The whole spectacle is easier to watch now that the election results are known. In rewatching that circus, I noticed an important difference between how Trump and Clinton spoke.
Clinton often answered questions by saying how “I” would do this or “I” would do that. She used “I” a lot. There’s no inherent flaw in this. It makes sense to use “I” when describing your plans. Totally makes sense. But Trump used the world “we” much more often. The news portrayed him as a selfish egomaniac but his use of words paint a different picture.
The election was not about him. You see this in his campaign rallies. He talked in terms of “us” and “we”. Often referring to his campaign as “our” movement. He echoed this in his victory speech on election night.
There is not a speech writer worth the paper their words are printed on who wouldn’t choose inclusivity but few would say Trump is on-script during a debate. He’s just freewheeling, saying whatever comes to mind, and generally being himself. How he answers questions under pressure says a lot more than any canned speech.
I wore a Gary Johnson campaign shirt for the last time on November 9th, 2016. I was on my way to work. A trio of Clinton supporters got onto the subway car. Their Stronger Together and I’m With Her pins gave it away. They looked like someone had murdered their dog and fed the remains to their cat. One of them saw me and notified the other two. They glared at me with fury. I can only imagine how they must have felt the night before as they realized their votes didn’t count any more than my wasted vote for Gary Johnson.
Let me know in the comments if the last year has changed your mind on President Trump or if you think I’m really a white supremacist, neo-nazi, fascist, racist, or some combination of the four.