by Ami Nahshon
Because, regardless of the final vote tally tonight and without having to spend even five minutes carrying the burdens of the presidency, you’ve already made your mark on America. And a dark stain it is.
You’ve made racism, xenophobia, sexism and discrimination against handicapped and LGBT Americans acceptable again for nearly half the American people.
You’ve persuaded tens of millions of hard-working Americans to vote against their own self-interest by supporting tax cuts for the wealthy, reducing spending for health insurance and other critical services on which they rely, and by opposing affordable college tuition and a higher minimum wage.
You’ve shown our children and grandkids that bullying, vulgarity and threats are somehow OK after all.
You’ve legitimized with a wink and a nod the racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rantings of the extreme, ultra-nationalist rightwing.
You’ve lowered the standard of political discourse in our country and shaken the confidence of your supporters in the electoral system and in American democracy itself.
And you’ve caused our international friends and foes alike to doubt America’s commitment to global security and shared responsibility.
You’ll probably – hopefully – lose today’s election and stomp off in a huff amid cries of rigged elections and who knows what else. And you’ll of course figure out how to profit from your new celebrity – perhaps your greatest skill.
But it will take enormously hard work for the rest of us – and for our real leaders – to repair the damage of your campaign, and even harder work to confront the core question raised by your candidacy: how could this remarkable country of ours come so close to electing an ignorant, mean-spirited neofascist as its president?