Following years of drought and opportunistic blight, trees on the California coast struggle for life. The battle is set against historically warming trends and other climatic and environmental changes.
There is symmetry in that and this post election America. A winner has emerged, a loser has conceded and the sitting President offers assistance in transition. The American system proceeds, as it has. This time the campaign ends with a nation wherein more than half of voting Americans lost. That statistic also reveals more people voted for Hillary Clinton than voted for Donald Trump. Add the other candidate's totals and Trump is indeed a minority President. But Trump won the electoral college and so will take the oath of office in January.
He confronts a divided nation. He promises to govern for all. We will see.
Many of those who voted for him did so because they believe, "Washington is broken...Congress does not work...there is a double standard where in elected representatives are part of an elite with special privileges..." I submit the record shows they are correct.
In exit polls and interviews many of his voters voiced concern about changes in America; immigration changing our complexion and demographic, loss of jobs, trade deals with fall out for working Americans while bankers and investors grow more wealthy, and many believe government did not hear or care about them.
They found their champion, improbable and unlikely as the Republican party thought and for that matter the majority of voting Americans and they elected him. In this divided and tumultuous time there are truths and questions that will be explored.
questions for history
Which Trump will emerge? The liberal Democrat power broker or the man who switched to the Republican party in 2012?
The wild carnival barker style campaigner or the candidate who read a teleprompter and stayed on focus?
What influence will daughter Ivanka have on his policy formulation and court nominees, especially on justices' attitude about Roe v Wade and other women's health and privacy issues?
What role will Stephen Bannon the alt-right godfather and Brietbart mogul have? This is important to all America because an ugly truth about the Trump movement is that it was also a place where the worst of America found a home.
The KKK, racists, anti Semites, openly misogynistic and crude men and domestic terrorists are part of his minority base of voters. People of color especially, but all Americans have reason to wonder how this part of the Trump movement will influence the administration.
How vigorously will the fraud lawsuits and sexual assault cases, allegations and charges be pursued? Will these be his Lewinsky or e-mail server millstones?
Will the Democratic leadership serve notice on Trump as Republicans McConnell and Boehner did on Obama, at the start, promising to prevent his re-election and blocking legislation or court nominees?
What role will the Sanders/Warren wing of the Democratic party play in legislative advances and battle?
Will we see a major role for Chris Christy and Rudolph Giuliani and what will that do for the idea of "governing for all?"
How will he "bring jobs" back to America? Let me be flip for a moment and ask, will he start with his own businesses-suits, ties, shirts, etc, now manufactured abroad?
How will he resolve his considerable debt to Chinese and Russian interests? What role will the Senate or other federal agencies have in monitoring his considerable international business interests. America has never faced this quandary before.
Will the Fox network pick at the Trump business matters and sexual allegations as they went after Hillary Clinton?
How will traditional Republicans, including major figures who refused to endorse or vote for him, respond to his ideas?
Is Donald Trump the new Republican Party?
How much influence will Mike Pence have? Pence says he is a Christian first and then a conservative and Republican. That attitude had him on the outs in his conservative Indiana. He was on his way to being defeated before Trump plucked him. This is the man who disregarded the advice of college presidents, religious leaders, international corporate ceo's, professional sports franchises and retail executives because his faith came first, though he later back peddled. Will Trump favor reason over Pence's faith?
Several months ago a conservative Republican friend who emigrated here years ago and established a successful life in America called Donald Trump a "Trojan Horse," not a true conservative, not a real republican. Is he? Who is the real Donald Trump?
Questions do indeed abound?
I don't often quote Newt Gingrich, but he told someone that to understand Donald Trump you need to look at Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt and PT Barnum.
Jackson was a founder of the Democratic party, a populist, a controversial figure, he had a notorious temper, he said men needed to "control" their wives, he provoked the "petticoat" affair that dominated much of his early administration, he developed the Indian removal practice, forcing native citizens off their land.
TR was of course the wealthy Republican and strong individualist who angered his own party when he went after big business and engaged in trust busting that led to business regulations. Roosevelt was a leader in the Progressive movement.
PT Barnum was of course the politician, showman and hustler who coined the phrase "There is a sucker born every minute."
Gentle reader please recall this comparison by Gingrich was meant to explain who Donald Trump is.
See you down the trail.