The Electoral College, Fake News, and The Exhausting Four Years We Face

We have more than one month to go until inauguration day, and this is already an exhausting season.

Donald Trump’s election victory was a surprise to most people, including the man himself. But as we said before November 8, “if Hillary Clinton can’t win, she really is a loser.” And that she is.

In this post-election reality, many are still complaining about the results of a fair and free vote. Many of those who kept silent about or praised the Electoral College in 2008 and 2012, when it delivered the White House to Barack Obama, are now maligning it. Now it’s nothing more than an “arcane structural flaw” to them. Those Founders? They were idiots.

Also pervasive are complaints about “fake news”, the role it played in this election, and how it can be counteracted in the present and future. Lists of “fake news” sites are published in places like The L.A. Times, and plug-ins designed to detect “fake news” have been developed.

What interests me about these grievances is that they are popular to discuss only in the wake of Hillary’s loss. Had Mrs. Clinton prevailed in her attempt to win the White House, we wouldn’t be discussing a supposedly flawed system or “fake news”. Instead, many would be praising both her efforts to win the highest office in the land and the country which propelled her to that position.

I say all these things to remind us that we must remain vigilant in the era of Trump. This is not to say relaxing during Obama’s (or Bush’s) terms would have been appropriate. However, we must face the fact that the era of Trump is different than anything we have experienced up to this point. Both the man and what has transpired this election season do not honor our expectations.

Though it’s difficult for his opponents, especially those who are actual conservatives, Donald Trump won’t disappoint us at every turn. In fact, he will do things which we will most likely agree with and applaud. As a member of the #NeverTrump camp, I hate to admit that. However, it is the truth. Conversely, he will also act in a manner that requires our swift and vocal disapproval. He presents himself as a conservative Republican when he most certainly is not. We can’t allow his obvious liberal leanings and penchant for insulting and childish behavior to go unchecked. It doesn’t matter that he has an (R) next to his name.

This is why it’s been odd to defend Trump’s win, as achieved by dominating the Electoral College, when you know he most likely would have refused to accept the results had the tables been turned. But he won, fair and square, whether Hillary supporters or #NeverTrumpers like it.

As regards “fake news”, we must remain vigilant on that front as well. Too many on the Left have been and will continue to designate conservative sites as “fake news” when we most certainly are not. However, there are certain sites on the Right, frequented by Trump supporters, that are indeed in that fake and conspiratorial category. We shouldn’t be afraid to call out the sites which drag the Right down while praising the sites that further the conservative message.

Stamping a president’s entire term with “approval” or disapproval” may be in the cards for many of his supporters and detractors, but it shouldn’t be for us. Reacting to the post-election reactions from the Left with approval or disapproval, based on our feelings toward the President-elect, is also incorrect.

These last few weeks – in the era of Trump – have shown that we should be prepared for years of going back-and-forth between condemning and defending. It’s going to be exhausting.

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