If you read my previous piece on President-elect Donald Trump, you know that I’ve been a supporter from day one. With that said, I wasn’t terribly stoked on his prospects when I woke up yesterday—or pretty much all of yesterday.
I had planned to write this piece from the perspective of a Trump loss. But once again, the man (who I affectionately call “the Big Boss”) has pleasantly surprised me.
But where do we go from here? What’s the way forward for Trump supporters now that we have the reins of power across all three branches of government?
Losing a friend over politics is like losing a friend over sports. Stupid.
1. Gloat selectively and briefly
Listen, I get it. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been called an idiot, a racist, a misogynist and God knows what else throughout the course of this campaign. I want to strut and crow a bit about how I’ve been saying since June of 2015 that Trump would be getting around 300 Electoral votes and he’d be getting them from Rust Belt states that have been blue since Reagan left office. So now it’s time for me to talk about how smart I am, right?
Much to my surprise, most of my liberal friends have gone out of their way to contact me and tell me that I was right. A couple—Bernie voters in the primaries—have privately confided in me that they voted Trump because of things I’d said or articles I’d shared. That means a lot after the often not-so-gentle ribbing I’ve taken over the last year and a half. It also got me thinking about what’s the right way to savor the flavor of this most improbable victory.
You know that guy you unfollowed on Facebook because you couldn’t stand his constant shilling for Hillary Clinton? Give it a week and ask him out for drinks and don’t talk about politics at all. Try and mend those fences. Because when you really search your soul, you know it’s not worth losing a friend over. This isn’t empty advice: I am literally chatting with a friend of mine as I write this about politics, but also about our families and our lives. Losing a friend over politics is like losing a friend over sports. Stupid.
Part of being a good winner is knowing when to stop gloating. Feel free to be totally obnoxious for the next 24 hours or so. After that, cool it and start thinking about the next section.
2. Grow the coalition
So it looks like Trump might have won the Electoral College without winning the popular vote. I’m OK with that, because I’m into the whole convoluted system of American government that prevents direct democracy. But one thing is for sure: We have to grow the coalition.
How are we going to do that? I think there are a few places where we can start attracting allies to Trump’s newly reforged Republican Party:
Patriotic conservatives: There’s a whole wing of the Republican Party who thinks a nation’s greatness is measured by the GDP and the Dow Jones. Forget them. Trump is going to bring them to heel and if he doesn’t, he’s going to isolate them. Good riddance. On the other hand, there’s a massive clutch of America (you know… the pocket Constitution people) who love this country and what it’s real values are, as opposed to phony values Ted Kennedy invented in 1965. The #NeverTrump movement in the GOP is quickly splintering into those who are still crying over Trump and those who want to see how he does. The latter group can be won to our cause for an even more YUUUUGE victory next time.
Moderate libertarians: The Libertarian Movement is basically split into two groups: purist weirdos who will never have any influence and moderates who see a value in privacy, limited government and self-ownership. The former are useless. The latter, who have a broad appeal in a country founded by Europeans too cantankerous and independent for the old country, are our natural allies. They can even help to smooth down some of Trump’s rough edges. I was very excited to see that Rand Paul and Justin Amash did well last night. This is an excellent junior partner for the Trumpist faction.
Bernie bros: As I said above, some Bernie Bro friends have privately confided that they went for Trump. Why? Well, I assume because they didn’t want to vote for George W. Bush in a pantsuit. One of Trump’s core issues, trade, is candy for the miniscule element of the Democratic Party who still seems to care about working-class people in America. Pair that with the Republican Party as the anti-war party and what you’ve got is a way to peel off a non-trivial portion of Bernie’s movement in the service of President Trump. Hey, Bernie Bros, we’re waiting for you with open arms!
3. Make America great again
At the end of the day, I feel like a lot of us voted for Trump because we wanted more from America and frankly more from ourselves. Electing Trump is only a small part of capturing that. What’s the rest look like?
Bring your neighbors a pie: Or a bottle of wine. Or a bag of chewing tobacco. American is increasingly urbanized and atomized. What made America great was strong communities with a sense of togetherness. Do you even know your neighbors’ names?
Get involved in your community: Join a chess club or a bowling league. Volunteer at the YMCA or a soup kitchen. This is just another way to start building back those community bonds that have been severed by globalization and deindustrialization. It’s good for you and good for the world you spend almost all of your time in.
Make yourself greater: Lift more weights, read more books, learn new skills, accomplish feats you’re always telling yourself you’ll do but never make time for, put in a couple extra hours at work being a star employee. Pretend you have to wake up every morning and justify your last day to President Trump. Try and make him and yourself and your ancestors proud.
What seems like the longest election in American history is mercifully over. And hey, we won. So take a minute, exhale fully, raise yourself a glass of your favorite drink and figure out where you want to go from here. Because the Ickey Shuffle is fun for about 10 seconds, but then the game has to go on. How do you want to play it?
Editor’s note: For how Clinton voters can move forward with class, click here.