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Trump set to win: Does he represent the change Americans want?

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Republican candidate Donald Trump looks likely at this hour to pull off a major upset, defying the polls and pundits’ predictions, to beat Democrat Hillary Clinton. It will be a new America. Never before has the nation been led by someone so unfamiliar with the laws of the land; so unfamiliar with foreign affairs; so shallow on policy prescriptions that the nation has no real sense of what his policies are or might be; so ill-equiped to lead that the future of this country and its allies is put in danger.

We enter a world of uncerainty — and proceed with the only hope we have: Hope that Mr. Trump leads with a rational approach to the issues and with a more predictable and sane demeanor than what he demonstrated to Americans and the world in the Republican primary and the general election.

As Americans we live by our democratic process, nonetheless, and the majority of Americans were adamant in their belief of Mr. Trump, and the message he conveyed: That message, though never clear, was a scream for change. But from what and to what is unclear. 

If the white, angry male voters of the industrial rust belt hope to get their jobs back, it won't happen. Indeed, if Trump puts America in the midst of trade wars, our economy could take a worse hit just as it is starting to recover.

If Americans wanted big corporate money out of politics, they just voted in a man who puts money above all else in esteem, and a party whose bankrolls are paid by the biggest businesses in the country and some of the wealthiest people in the country — meaning money in politics will likely get worse.

If the American people wanted us to change the world order so we once again dominated militarily, they will be shocked to see how little control our forces can exact in a world that wages stealth battles of terror.

If they thought that climate change didn’t really matter, and it was just a left-wing hoax, well, the consequences of this election will go down in history as perhaps the moment that we might have been able to do something to stop escalation, but with a Republican Congress and Trump at the top, it was the year the tipping point tipped the scales. 

And if the American voter somehow thought this vote would make America's politics more palapable, that's unlikely too. It is hard to imagine how it will not make the national discourse ever coarser and more partisan, and with less good will toward one another. 

But Trump did win a mandate. And now the way forward is to try it their way: cut taxes on the wealthy (again) in the hopes it will boost the pay of the middleclass and poor (didn't work under Reagan or Bush, and not likely to work now either); play tough on immigration (and hope the agricultural industry and many other economic sectors aren’t harmed in the process); boost coal and fossil fuel use because it's cheaper, while ignoring the environmental consequences; and on and on. 

For those who opposed these policies, they can and should protest and continue to put reason before profit; reason before anger; reason before inconvenience. But it will be a muted call in the midst of a country that will likely swerve in erratic zigs and zags to the right for the next few years. Like cowboys on a wild steed, the goal for everyone will be to hang on — hopefully until the bell rings, and there’s a safe dismount.

— Angelo S. Lynn

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