Disappointment at Harvard

Just this past week, Harvard hosted their quadrennial post-presidential election symposium. Normally, this is a relatively technical affair outlining and discussing the different strategies and their relative merits or not. Parts of this symposium DID have those elements — but the top of the ticket discussion did not. Listening to it — is like listening to a bunch of children talk over each other. The Trump team clearly has as chip on their shoulder — and the Clinton team is VERY raw about the whole experience. What was so disappointing was that this would have been a GREAT opportunity for the Trump team to take the high road and be gracious victors. Instead, they — led by Kellyane Conway — crowed about their electoral victory and the mandate it gives them. Now Kellyanne does have a point — which is that the Republican Party has absolutely demolished the Democratic Party on a state and local level. But it’s also true that while Trump won the electoral victory — he did not win the popular vote, not by a large number (~2.5 million+). This indicates that his victory owed more to strategic advantages (and slim ones at that) then any sort of popular mandate. And even with the electoral advantage his party has in the federal, state, and local arenas the Republican Party in Vermont and Massachusetts looks a LOT different then the one in North Carolina or Texas. Suffice to say that even within that coalition there’s a significant diversion of thought in key areas.

What the Trump team should have done — and what they have failed to do — is actually reach out to the various disaffected parties and actually discuss campaign strategies and the like. They have failed to do so — the Trump team and now cabinet is dominated by the rich and powerful as well as racists, demagogues, and far right hardliners. It’s a potent combination and heralds the kind of “government” our executive branch will impose over the next 4–8 years. It’s troublesome as well because the people who’ll be most affected by it are the very people who voted for Trump. At Harvard, they could have been magnanimous in victory — instead, they acted like children and it’s a disappointing sight.