I Was Wrong


November 24, 2016

I’m just going to come out and admit it: I was wrong about Donald Trump. I had dismissed him as a non-serious bloviator who would never become president of the United States. I completely missed how his rhetoric appealed to voters. I underestimated how much voters were tired of Hillary Clinton. I misunderstood how much pain voters were still in from the economy.

I missed how much Trump’s message resonated with voters. But I’m still suspicious of him. My gut feeling, which rarely steers me wrong, tells me that he doesn’t believe in or understand the rule of law. That he doesn’t understand the value of or support the idea of organized dissent. That he doesn’t understand the role of the press in democracy. And I also believe he is incapable of separating the personal from the professional.

That last point is most troubling, since I think we can expect him to be goaded to action, to take rash action when pushed by someone who knows where his buttons are. It could be a senator, a major corporate leader, or most likely a foreign power. And when he responds, he’ll connect the insult to his personality to a national insult. The national will careen into action to defend President Trump against the slight, and the world stage will roil.

I was wrong about why people would vote for Donald Trump. Those people deserve to have their demands answered. But I don’t think I am wrong about Donald Trump.