Some predictions are better than others

Staff Writer
Stephenville Empire-Tribune
Kent Bush

You heard it here first.

I told you in the summer of 2015 that Donald Trump would be out of the race by Labor Day of that year. In August, I said he was going to fade, even if it was slower than I initially predicted.

Tuesday night, he was elected by a very white electorate and, for the final time, I underestimated Trump and overestimated Republican voters.

But I also wrote a column on July 31, 2015, where my prediction was more outlandish but it was actually correct. 

“I just don’t know that she (Clinton) will be on the 2016 ticket. If she is, I don’t think she will win.”

I talked about the glass ceiling women still operate under, the vast number of scandals regarding her husband’s sexual misconduct, her ties to Benghazi and of course, the email scandal as reasons that she wouldn’t ever win a General Election.

That was pretty good prognosticating for a guy who didn’t see Trump winning until about 8 p.m. Tuesday.

I had no idea that FBI Director James Comey would become a Trump campaign operative nine days before an election or that the GOP would welcome in Russian hackers to influence American political elections by leaking emails on a daily basis for months. 

But I knew that Clinton had a tough road ahead simply because of who she is. 

In the end those are factors in her loss but the bigger factor is the failure of American voters to show concern that more than a dozen women credibly claimed their candidate had sexually assaulted them, had been recorded admitting to sexual assault and had even had a story about an affair with a Playboy playmate covered up by the National Enquirer instead of broadcast in grocery stores everywhere. The Religious Right stood by their man and kept the evangelical cart hitched to that immoral horse — 81 percent of evangelical voters chose Trump.

Voters also never cared that Trump’s tax returns were never released. He also had to be grounded from Twitter by his campaign for days before the election.

But even that didn’t keep him from calling a former Republican president “sad,” calling a sitting Democratic senator “Pocahontas,” and calling a sitting Republican senator “very weak” the day before the election.

That’s one of the biggest problems in this election. Because of the tenor of his rhetoric against Mexicans, Muslims and others, Trump made some of the worst elements of society, like the KKK and white nationalist groups, part of the national conversation for the first time in decades. 

Seeing David Duke cheering the election has a truly chilling effect. 

On Wednesday morning, I was taking my son Dawit to school. He heard the news reports about Trump’s win and how the victory was secured by going after the white vote and how only eight percent of black people supported Trump.

They talked about some of Trump’s campaign promises regarding immigrants and Dawit got worried.

“Is he going to do bad things to me and (the other black boy in his class),” Dawit asked in a worried tone. 

“Over my dead body, buddy,” I reassured him.

That’s where we are. 

We’re left to hope for the first time in decades that a president was lying about all of the things he said he was going to do to civil rights, health care and immigration.

Trump won because he tapped into a vein of anger and bled it dry. Gone are the days of hope and change. 

America has voted and Trump won. That’s the great thing about America, if more than half of you are wrong together, you’re right.

I’m still not sure if Trump was an anomaly or if the rules of politics have changed forever. Was Clinton’s loss about her as a candidate or has our culture has truly shifted?

These are questions that won’t be answered for at least four years. Tuesday’s snapshot of America is one for the history books. The story that accompanies the photo is waiting to be written. 

It will tell who Americans are and what we truly believe. I’m not excited about the man we sent to the White House Tuesday. But I’m hopeful, because I still believe in America and our system of government.

I think we have buffers in place that keep either side from going too far. Social gravity always pulls the political pendulum toward the center.

I also believe what Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

That didn’t change Tuesday night. It never will.

Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at kent.bush@news-star.com.