I'll be honest that I don't have a lot invested in the 2016 presidential election. I've learned as I've aged that to distance yourself a comfortable amount from politics will help to preserve your sanity and lower your blood pressure. To say that Americans had a choice in yesterday's election between two similar shit sandwiches is extreme but neither did much to excite me or to spark my emotions.
Hillary Clinton has spent her life – at least since the 1980s – in the public eye by way of being married to Bill Clinton. Beginning as Governor of Arkansas, then President of the United States and Hillary's foray into her own political career as United States Senator from New York and on to her role as Secretary of State for Barack Obama. She is the stereotypical career politician. She can promise change and progress until she's blue in the face but when you've spent your entire life focused on advancing your career, you tend to become distanced from those you claim to represent.
On the flip side in Donald Trump. He made a name for himself as a real estate tycoon and businessman who parlayed that into a relatively long career as a reality television host. The fact that throughout his campaign he claimed to represent the average Joe and Jane while the opposition dug up tales of shafting contractors and shirking employee rights screamed of the perfect example of the pot calling the kettle black.
Neither truly rose above mediocre in my eyes. Curious, as election day neared, I took some survey which supposedly would align your values with those of one of the presidential candidates. My closest choice was Jill Stein. That was the first time I had hear of Jill Stein. I'll be honest in saying that when the momentum behind Bernie Sanders was still strong, he seemed like the best choice if the goal was to have a president who truly understood the struggles and needs of the American populace.
The only problem was that the American media deemed him unworthy to face down Donald Trump. That's how the Democrats arrived at nominating Hillary Clinton as their candidate to face down Donald Trump. The only problem being that the length of time she had spent in public office, while it can definitely be viewed as valuable experience into how government functions, became her downfall. She was the establishment even though she was the first female presidential nominee in the history of the United States.
The fact that Americans, in general, are constantly fed up with politics and politicians was her undoing. It wasn't emails on a private server. It wasn't skyrocketing health insurance premiums. It was the views of half of the voting public that they had had enough of career politicians leading this country.
We can view Donald Trump as running an extremely nasty and negative campaign but, like nearly every political before him, he unearthed the dirty little secrets on his opponent which resonated with those who supported him and that message amplified organically.
If Donald Trump's time in office – whether it is four or eight years – is anything like his campaign, we are in for 48 or 96 months of turmoil and further divisiveness. However, if he leads like he spoke during his almost vanilla acceptance speech early this morning, he will be at least a middle-of-the-road president who can at least keep America on track and remaining as the most powerful country in the world.
Maybe I have mellowed, but one person does not change the course of history for better or worse. If you want to worry about something, let's realize the both the Senate and House of Representatives have a Republican majority. If there is an ultra-conservative agenda which looks to roll back the progress made in the 21st century, they'll have an extremely easy road in front of them even if Donald Trump ends up being a reasonable and decent leader. Trump may be the most powerful man in the world come January 2017 but the title of President is nothing more than a figurehead – the real power lies in congress.