As the nastiest election campaign in US history mercifully comes to an end, I am left wondering how much damage has been done to the political system and what can be done to fix it.
It looks as if Hillary will be President, and the Democrats will pick up seats in Congress. But that doesn’t mean she will be able to do all of the things she has promised.
Senator John McCain, for example, has vowed that Republican senators will block any Supreme Court appointment she makes. Obviously it’s going to be business as usual in Congress.
In 2008 Barack Obama had majorities in both chambers but found out that some politicians who ran as Democrats were not willing to support the party platform. The resulting gridlock was disastrous.
And it grew worse as Tea Party Republicans gained power in Washington. The result was the worst Congress ever.
Vowing to block any and all of the President’s initiatives Republicans used the senate filibuster and every other tactic at their disposal to pursue this strategy. The nation’s business was neglected as partisan politics paralyzed government.
Misinformed and disinformed by a rabid right-wing propaganda machine, a wide swath of the population became enraged at the very people who were trying to help them and sided with the schemers who were gaming the system for their own profit.
The propagandists used wedge issues like abortion to divide the populace. They provoked such primitive instincts as racial prejudice and religious bigotry to set Americans against each other. And they exaggerated the threat of terrorism to create widespread fear and mistrust.
President Obama was able to achieve remarkable progress in the face of this diabolical opposition, but, in the process, a significant part of the American population turned against him. These people are Donald Trump’s supporters, and they will not accept Trump’s defeat gracefully.
America’s first female President will inherit a hornet’s nest.
It will take all of her formidable intellectual powers to restore reason and good government in Washington. But I am confident she will find a way.
In a lifetime of public service, she has shown remarkable skill in dealing with complex challenges. And you know she never gives up.