What Happened — And What Now?

Perspectives to carry us into an unsettling new world.

What Happened — And What Now?

Supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton look on at the end of election night at the Javits Convention Center in New York on Nov. 9, 2016. (Photo by Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images)

Following Trump’s victory last Tuesday, we reached out to writers, activists and experts we trust with two questions: “What happened?” and “What now?” This post highlights some of what they had to say. Click “read more” to read their full responses.
I’m An American Too

“The election revealed for many of us the uncomfortable truths about who we are as a people, that 60 million of us would vote for someone who openly and often said things that were misogynist, racist and Islamophobic. The election was a reminder to America’s Muslim community that we need to work even harder than we have to make connections with other minority communities, especially Latina/os, African-Americans, LGBTQ Americans, and women…” By Amir Hussain, professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University. Read more »
A Dying Mule Always Kicks the Hardest

“Across lines of division, we can continue to build the moral coalition that is already a majority in this country. We can and must face the race and class question together and not as separate issues. Yes, we have some difficult days ahead. But our foreparents were up against more with less. And they taught us that a dying mule always kicks the hardest. Our work continues: we must work together for a Third Reconstruction in America.” By Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, architect of the Moral Monday Movement in North Carolina and pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church. Read more »
This Wasn’t a Working-Class Revolt. It Was a White Revolt.

“Only white people had the luxury and the safety to ignore Trump’s promises to restore law and order, to deport millions of immigrants and to endanger Americans who practice the world’s second most popular religion. His phony economic populism was the icing on the cake — the cherry on top of the dog-whistle sundae. It was not the driving motivation behind Trump voters.” By Tamara Draut, vice president of policy and research at Demos Action. Read more »
Capitalism Itself is to Blame for Donald Trump

“To cut to the core, the issue is capitalism. This system has generated stagnant wages for 40 years, coupled with rising inequality and debts and declining job benefits, security and public services. Established leaders in both major parties oversaw these outcomes and did nothing to reverse them. Republicans eagerly facilitated the mechanisms that delivered rising pain to workers; Democrats did little to slow them. Each party blamed the other, since that neatly avoided blaming the system.” By Richard Wolff, professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Read more »
America Must Allow Its Heart to Break Before It Can Heal

“We need to weep together, but we also need to find the courage to face the deeper truth together: We all share similar frustrations, including those who voted for Mr. Trump. We must seek out a contemplative space of quiet and reflection, where we can let the pain of our people break our hearts further. It is from this broken-hearted place that we can begin to heal and let the new emerge.” By Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice in Washington, DC. Read more »
Trump is a Backlash to Democrats’ Fake Populism

“Trump’s unexpected election has created political space for a new agenda. This is a critical moment when the people must continue their revolt by defining the agenda to create an economy that works for everyone, achieve universal health care, end systemic racism, protect the planet, stop wars and more. Now more than ever, we must be clear about the solutions we want such as taxing wealth, improved Medicare for all, jobs with living wages, and a clean energy economy by 2030.” By Margaret Flowers, pediatrician, activist and former candidate for US Senate in Maryland. Read more »
We Will Move Forward With Hope, But Trump Should Apologize

“Going forward, there is a new political order. The upset victory has changed the landscape for Democrats and Republicans. But we must not stop working to do what is right. We must turn bitterness into bravery. Brave men and women must continue to step up and be candidates. Character and integrity must become the hallmarks of our leadership once again. Prayer and faith must be the glue that undergirds us, and conversations, connections and partnerships must happen.” By Suzan Johnson Cook, 2016 congressional candidate and political analyst. Read more »
The Left Must Embrace Bernie Sanders’ Progressive Ideals

“We must acknowledge that many progressives have been in denial, failing to acknowledge that both the Democratic and Republican parties alike had become the parties of the elites. This reality has been discussed by millennials supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders as well as by working-class, poor, white male and female Trump supporters.” By Rev. Dr. Samuel Cruz, professor of church and society at Union Theological Seminary. Read more »
Agree: It Was Sexism

“It was definitely, unequivocally, sexism. Not every red vote, and maybe not always consciously. But the tide that turned America into a nasty pit of hatred is a direct descendant of the entrenched male privilege – and fear of change by both sexes – that has kept women down for centuries. The same old insistence, barely recast, on keeping a woman in her place.” By Lynn Sherr, award-winning veteran journalist. Read more »
Democrats Have Abandoned a Key Constituency

“For those of us on the ground and paying attention in these once-Democratic strongholds, the formidable nature of the Trump message was immediately apparent. You could see it in the eyes of former steelworkers and hear it in the voices of those old enough to remember ‘the good old days.’ It wasn’t just about the economy, either. It was about a time before Ohio and other states became ‘flyover country,’ denigrated and mocked by the culture on the coasts, so ignored by journalists and pollsters and politicians that they never saw what was happening.” By Sean Posey, writer, photographer and historian. Read more »
Access Nonprofit Journalism and Alt-Press for News

“It is hopeful that so many people are writing. And making media of all kinds, however trite, and even if it’s just on Facebook. The alternative press has always taken input and engagement seriously, long before large outlets cheapened terms like “citizen journalism” by using readers for free content and clicks. There is no stopping aggravated souls from searching for answers and sharing, and in this case I believe that many will inevitably grow into reporters and polemicists of note. They always do.” By Chris Faraone, award-winning journalist. Read more »
Voter Suppression Laws Are Working

“Wisconsin was one of 14 states with new voting restrictions in effect for the first time in 2016, which was the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. In other states, like North Carolina, black turnout plunged because early voting hours were cut by Republicans and the number of polling places reduced. With Republicans now in control of the presidency, Congress and two-thirds of state legislative chambers, attacks on voting rights are going to get worse.” By Ari Berman, author, journalist and Nation contributor. Read more »
We Must Close the Divide Between Us to Save Our Nation

“Despite his wildly unorthodox views and outlandish behavior, he won. Why? Clinton’s own shortcomings provide one answer. Yet Trump’s appeal to the tens of millions who gave him their support seems to stems from something more: Here, they appear to believe, is a man who will pull down the temple. It is this prospect of Trump functioning as a human wrecking ball that energized voters. Whether having done so Trump will figure out a way to rebuild it remains to be seen.” By Andrew Bacevich, professor of history and international relations at Boston University. Read more »

TOPICS: Society