“Merry Trumpmas!” was a greeting that Trump supporters cheerily shouted to one another as the electoral votes for their man inched closer to 270 on the progress bar that would signal who the next POTUS will be. For them, Christmas had come early. But for Hillary fans, Trump’s red bar wasn’t ever supposed to breach the 200 mark, at least that’s what most pollsters kept telling us. As the Trump bar chunked its way forward, Democratic stomachs knotted up tighter and tighter with an increasing queasiness like the kind you get after eating cheese that’s been sitting out too long. This too is how I felt as I watched the results trickling in last night, but then again I also snacked on some old triple cream brie with wild mushrooms, one of my faves from Trader Joe’s. It tasted extra earthy with a faint note of ammonia.
Because of the enthusiastic election forecasts favoring Hillary all season, many were blind-sided by how strong the Trump support turned out to be on Election Day. With the exception of a couple of polls, the numbers pretty much assured a huge Hillary win and also doubled pleasantly as a cozy blanket for our collective psyche, helping us endure the hostile and absurd presidential campaign that none of us could look away from. This warm and fuzzy blankie quilted by positive poll numbers for Hillary helped us picture an America led by the first woman president ever. However, this baseless optimism born from faulty polling made the results so much harder to stomach.
Let’s circle back to the Christmas thing. Relying on these bumbling predictions was like giving your parents a Christmas wish list and having them tell you that you’ve been really good this year, so you’ll probably get a lot of what’s on your list. Anticipation and hopes are raised. You know you’re going to get presents but which ones? Doesn’t matter, you’re going to get presents! Then the big day comes, and you’re so excited that you can’t sit still. You’re bouncing and giggling. You make your way to the Christmas tree and look at all the gifts wrapped so perfectly and pretty. Now, you pick one up and look at the tag. Oops, doesn’t say your name. The next one, nope. Another, still no. Worried, you continue checking the tags on each festively sealed package, but none of them are yours. In fact, all of them have the same name on them: Donald Trump.
How? What? But you?! Pollsters! Pundits! Statisticians! Model makers! Smart people! Nate Silver! YOU ALL SAID HILLARY WAS AHEAD and most likely would WIN! You’ve been saying this since the election started. You said it almost every day! WTF happened? You led on all of us!
This is what people mean when they say the election result feels like someone hit them in the stomach. It’s that deeply profound disappointment when things don’t go as you believed and, worse, were told. The level of let-down is so ferocious the reaction is physical pain. This is the awful feeling you get when the kid who misbehaved all year long is the one who gets the presents. It’s shockingly upsetting. And this is where we are today and the next four years. So, Merry Trumpmas, everyone, and to paraphrase Tiny Tim, “God save us, every one.”