Charles E. Richardson

Turning in my license, headed to political hibernation

I come before you today to turn in my prognosticator’s license. I earned it fair and square. I’ve had this license for decades. I have successfully predicted the outcome of political races on the local, state and national scenes for most of my adult life, but, without equivocation, I have never been more wrong in my life than I was Tuesday night. It gives no solace that most others in my profession were also wrong. They should give up their licenses, too.

My good friend, Richard Morris, repeatedly tried to tell me Donald Trump was taking hold. Did I listen? Nah, this one could not have been more in the bag, I thought. At every turn, the Republican nominee shot himself in the big toe, but his appeal only grew. Maybe I should have caught on when Trump said, “I could shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” Even I admitted he was right, but I never imagined there were so many Americans who could overlook such glaring flaws — or found voice in his voice.

Was I wrong about him? No. He is unapologetically, who he is. Did he say all those hateful things? Yes he did. Any doubt? No, he’s on videotape. Is he someone I will admire as president of my country? At this point, never wouldn’t be too strong a term.

But just as you’re supposed to pivot (which he didn’t) from your primary persona to a General Election persona, now — and I hope he does — he needs to pivot to a governing persona. Being leader of the Free World is the real serious deal.

I am not going to do to him what those opposed to Barack Obama’s election did to him. I’m not in favor of the protests popping up around the country. There are several petitions out there urging the electors to cast their ballots for someone else other than Trump when they gather to officially elect the president. That’s not only misguided, it’s a waste of time. Donald Trump was elected president. We have to accept that. If Hillary Clinton can say “The Donald” is “our president” after all the nasty things they said about each other, and President Obama can welcome the man who led the birther movement that tried, and failed, to delegitimatize his presidency, then we ought to give him a chance, too.

This country is greater than any of its parts. Clinton knows that. Obama knows that and I’m hoping the weight of the most powerful office on the planet will sink into Trump as well. No longer does he have the luxury of dealing in the abstract. On Jan. 20, 2017, he’s the man, and I want him to be successful. I don’t have to like him.

He has the hopes and dreams of the 60,071,650 Americans who voted for him and those of the 60,467,245 who did not. He’s got a 51-48 advantage in the Senate and a 239-192 advantage in the House. He’s made a lot of promises and millions of those people are expecting him to keep them.

Democrats will not just roll over, but I would implore them not to play the silly games that both parties have played when they’ve been in the minority. Those games created the atmosphere that a made Trump presidency possible. The people have spoken and said they want Washington to start working for them again, and if it doesn’t, there will be hell to pay.

Or will it?

With President Obama gone, the long night of many Americans discontent will have ended. All will be right with their tilted world — for now. They will still get kicked in the teeth, but familiar faces will be doing the kicking. Nothing about this election changes the demographic course of the nation. Sooner or later the popular vote will overwhelm the electoral vote. And, we will eventually have a woman president.

So with my license turned in I can sit back and relax and go back to watching cute cat videos on Facebook. No more cable news channels for me. I’m done. I’ve got six books waiting for me in the bathroom. I’m not going to read a word dissecting this election. I know all I need to know. I’ll still keep up, but for a while, without a valid license, I think it best I go into political hibernation until this, whatever it is, blows over.