As a middle-aged English, Jewish, never been politically active, always voted Labour (wherever I have lived and been eligible to vote), 57 year old, it has taken me 10 days to digest last Tuesday.
Born in N.W. London and brought up in Brighton, (Well Hove….), I spent the fourth and fifth decades of my life as a relatively successful New Immigrant, first working in Kiryat Gat for a cloth manufacturer and then in Nazareth Illit for a razor blade producer.
Around Passover of 2012, I moved to Southern California and received my Green Card eighteen months later. All my (mostly Jewish) friends and relatives here are diehard Democrats (all except for the ex Israelis I sometimes hang out with). All are in total denial that this could have/did happen or that accepting the will of the people is as palatable as is being magnanimous in victory.
My thoughts as an independent onlooker seem to be at odds with this close circle of friends, all of whom have either joined in the downtown demonstrations against the election result, or vehemently supported them (albeit not the violence).
Now what none of them know is that during the early stages of the election process, after both parties had decided on their respective candidates, I starting having nightmares about the possibility of D.J.T. winning the White House. In my sub conscious there was some justification for those nocturnal fears.
About twelve months or so earlier, I had predicted that Marco Rubio was going to be the next President of USA. He along with Jeb Bush fell by the wayside way earlier than I had expected. But Sen. Rubio wasn’t the crux of my prediction, I was one hundred per cent sure that the Democrats were not going to get a third term. I was convinced, and remember, at this stage, I had no idea who on either side, would be their party’s nominee. As soon as Trump gained the required 1237 delegates, I just assumed that I had been wrong and that H.R.C. would be unbeatable. The only time one of the parties had won a third term was Bush 41 who followed on the coat tails of Reagan. Like John Major in 1992, his predecessor was of such legendary proportions that it made it possible for a third term. It had happened only twice before that in the twentieth century.
The surprise, only surpassed at my surprise on hearing about the death of David Bowie back in January, was traumatic. I had demonstratively watched Netflix movies all Tuesday evening and had gone to bed early. I awoke at six Wednesday morning to a WhatsApp text from my brother in Sussex, making a flippant remark to the effect that he doesn’t feel so stupid any more with regards to the Brexit shock back in May. The text was timed at coming in at three o’clock in the middle of that night and my first reaction was…. ”oh the exit polls got it wrong again, 3a.m. was far too early to get a definitive result and he will eat his words when all the counting was done”.
Those nightmares have since been replaced by nights of anxiety and panic, something that I haven’t experienced since the period I found my – self “in between jobs’ for six months or more back in 2007.
I still put on a brave face, urging them all to give him time, to heed president Obama’s words that the Oval Office changes a candidate, imploring them all to stop using Nazi/Fascist comparisons, one of my friends even compared KellyAnn Conway to Goebbels!
So why the shock, Why were we all so unprepared?
So much has been analyzed on NPR and Cable news over the past week that it is difficult to think of anything original to say. Comparisons with Brexit, the disaffected white working class, her “damn” e- mails , Comey, Pay for Play, all contributing factors, but simply put, I know nobody that actually wanted her (her specifically I mean) in the White House. Almost everyone I knew just couldn’t stomach the thought of him winning. The polls in those final weeks had her leading but always within the margin of error, we all ignored that infamous exclusion clause, the news networks translated those leads into a probability of between seventy and eighty per cent. They, like us ignored the small print.
The popular vote outside of California didn’t do her any favors either. Although she won it across the whole nation,(at the time of writing) I understand that the margin between them was some 1.5 million, with California showing a 3.25 million difference in her favor.
Perhaps the IRC in future will not only be the initials of the International Red Cross but also those of the Independent Republic of California!