Takeaways from the election 


Buckle up friends, it's going to be a hairy ride.

Start with Day One for President Trump (gotta get used to saying that). He will need to be up-and-at-'em no later than 12:01 a.m., for he promised during his campaign to get oodles of big stuff done on his very first day in office, including: "Repeal Obamacare," "begin working on impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall," fix the Department of Veterans Affairs, "repeal every single Obama executive order," suspend Syrian refugee resettlement, "get rid of gun-free zones in schools," "end the war on coal," "defend the unborn," and convene top generals and inform them they have 30 days to come up with a plan to stop ISIS.

Good grief! Americans have actually put a xenophobic-misogynous-racist-nativist-narcissistic blowhard in the Oval Office. Has our country gone right-wing? Or nuts?

No. Indeed, the majority actually voted for Hillary — Trump lost the popular vote, but won in the electoral college.

Also, even his own voters disagree with much of his agenda (especially his grandiose wall across the Mexican border). Trump was not elected on issues, but on anger — a deep, seething fury that the economic and political elite themselves have created by knocking down the working-class majority, then callously stepping over them as if they didn't exist. Exit polls revealed that most Trump voters don't think he's any more honest than Hillary Clinton, only 38 percent of all voters had a favorable opinion of him, and only a third consider him qualified to be president.

But his core message — "The system is rigged" by and for elites — came through loud and clear to them, so they grabbed him like a big bois d'arc stick to whap the whole establishment upside its collective head.

Most Trump voters say they went for him because they think he'll shake up America's elite establishment, not because he's a conservative. In fact, majorities of people all over the country voted for very progressive policies and candidates this year, including these ballot initiatives:

• All four states that had minimum wage increases on the ballot passed them — Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington. Plus, a South Dakota proposal to lower its minimum wage was rejected by 71 percent of voters.

• Two states — California and Washington — had initiatives calling for repealing the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision that has allowed corporate cash to flood into our elections. Washington also voted to provide public funding of their elections.

• A Minnesota initiative to take away the power of state lawmakers to set their own salaries, moving this authority to a bipartisan citizens' council, won 77 percent of the vote.

In addition, many solidly progressive "firsts" were elected on Tuesday, such as the first Indian-American woman in Congress (Pramila Jayapal of Washington), the first Latina U.S. senator (Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada), the first Indian-Black woman elected to the U.S. Senate (Kamala Harris of California); and the first openly LGBT governor (Kate Brown of Oregon).

Trump is in the White House, but the takeaway from voters in this election is a mandate for progressive economic populism and more diversity among public officials.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.


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