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The New Day After

04Nov

This nightmare will end soon. Barring those leaning towards Secretary Clinton turning out in only mid-term proportions, Hillary Clinton will be elected president. The nuclear codes will be safe and the sort of apocalyptic “day after” depicted in the much hyped 1980’s television movie will return to being only the haunting possibility that could arise from international hostilities

This nightmare will end soon. Barring those leaning towards Secretary Clinton turning out in only mid-term proportions, Hillary Clinton will be elected president. The nuclear codes will be safe and the sort of apocalyptic “day after” depicted in the much hyped 1980’s television movie will return to being only the haunting possibility that could arise from international hostilities.

America will awake on November 9, however, to a different sort of “day after”. One in which the election results will painfully illustrate a Balkanized America, divided, and deeply so.

In establishing the PAC, Republicansforher2016.com, I was among the first of the “GOP establishment” to support Secretary Clinton and – despite the recently offered, politically expedient, narrative of President Obama and Senator Warren (no doubt aimed at trying to help Hillary have a more blue Congress) and echoed by progressive polemicists like Rachel Maddow (who seem to think a one party state would be preferable) – Secretary Clinton will become President because of GOP voters.

Unlike McCain and Romney, who both received 93% of GOP voters, Trump will have received something closer to 80%, perhaps less, as this week’s “exit poll” of Florida early voters strongly suggests, and that difference will provide at least a substantial part of the Clinton margin of victory.

Fortunately, Hillary Clinton did not herself adopt the narrative of the GOP being the “party of Trump”, having created “the monster” and owning forevermore all of his clinically disturbed rantings as the one and only GOP brand. Wisely, she consistently cited GOP support and sought more, hopefully because of an authentic commitment to national unity, but at least because she knew she needed more than her enthusiastic supporters to win and would need more than them to govern.

Nonetheless, on the day after, Secretary Clinton will have made governing as a unifier – what the country most desperately needs – harder, by two things about her campaign.

First, of course, the “deplorables” comment, which played directly into the worldview of Trump’s base, and second, not breaking with President Obama on anything meaningful, except TPP, and therefore leaving many millions, certainly most Republicans, with the sour taste of a third term they don’t want.

Most especially, she didn’t acknowledge the plain fact that the world has gotten more dangerous on his watch, with Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, all emboldened to pursue expansionist and revanchist goals, and the chance of war between major powers being the greatest in decades.

So, what can President-elect Clinton do, starting the day after.

On the global stage, she can declare bold action to reaffirm America’s fidelity to the world order America created and defended since 1945, an order Trump didn’t understand and threatened to abandon, but which he was not wrong to describe as having been already questioned and weakened by President Obama.

She should meaningfully and materially expand and expedite the presence of US forces, including heavy armored forces, in the Baltics, to contain the would-be “Vladamir the Great”, as both Truman and Kennedy backed down the Soviets in Berlin, and as Reagan did over intermediate range nuclear missiles. This would take guts and entail risks, but would ultimately have enormously positive effects the world over.

At home, she should announce the creation of a “National Commission on Rural Development and Economic Adjustment Assistance” – since the voting map, at the county level, will unquestionably show her having won only America’s urban islands, surrounded by a vast “Red Sea” in the rest of the nation’s counties. She could ask former Bill Clinton and Mike Pence to co-chair it.

Trump’s support is very largely rural. There are many sources of rural rage against “the establishment”, some just and reasonable, some “deplorable,” but deflating these sails, filled with rage, fear, and despair over the future of America, is the new president’s most essential domestic task, and it requires new policies, outside the traditional ideological boxes of both parties.

Both parties now can agree on the need to seriously address the economic impacts on those who have been burdened far more than benefited from international trade. Both can come together on also addressing those dislocated by technology, by lower skill immigration and by the inequality of wealth generated, at least in part, by the Fed’s ultra loose monetary policy.

Martin Luther King said “a genuine leader is not a seeker for consensus but a molder of consensus”.

Starting the day after, President-elect Clinton can seek to form a government of national unity, a Lincolnesque “team of rivals.”

Appoint John McCain Secretary of State — despite his campaign season lapses of judgement. (Secretary Clinton understands those kind of “misstatements.”) Appoint Michael Bloomberg Secretary of the Treasury. Appoint Bernie Sanders Secretary of HHS and Elizabeth Warren Secretary of Labor.

America will need that sort of Presidential leadership — a molder of consensus, or at least compromise — on the new day after. It needs President Hillary Clinton to make us stronger, at home and in the world. It needs her to make us feel more, much more, together, as a diverse people, but knitted into one people, by shared values and objectives.

It needs her to lead the way to being, in fact, “stronger together.”

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