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Kleppner: Ill Winds

About 30% of Vermont voters chose Donald Trump, and the other 70% are working their way through various levels of disappointment, shock, horror and depression.

Progressives see plenty of big, bad consequences for anyone who is not a white, straight, cisgender Christian American male, and for our democracy, and and for our planet. All those big bads make it easy to miss some good things that will emerge from this election.

First, there were tens of millions of Americans, in the rust belt and elsewhere, who felt completely disenfranchised and who didn’t really believe in American democracy. They felt, with some justification, that our country was run by the rich, well-educated people on the coasts, the careerists in Washington, DC, the business leaders, the media, and the members of the Republican and Democratic National Committees, and that those elites chose whomever they wanted as major party presidential candidates.

Those voters now believe in American democracy again. In spite of the Republican elites’ every effort to chose someone other than Trump as the candidate, and in spite of the elites of both parties trying to defeat Trump in the general election, the candidate the people wanted won and the candidates the elites wanted lost. Those tens of millions of people have had their faith in the American system renewed, and that is a very good thing.

On the other side of the election, tens of millions of young people who were fired up for Obama and feeling the Bern for Bernie, but who lost their enthusiasm when it was Trump vs. Clinton, are re-energized and re-engaged, and that’s a good thing as well.

Perhaps most important, Trump’s election may force both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party to actually try to do something to improve things for the tens of millions of Americans whose lives are meaningfully worse than they were 40 years ago – all the people whose jobs, whose factories, whose industries, whose communities have been crushed by a combination of technology, free trade, and the evolution of the economy and our society.

Finally, if all that's not enough to lift your spirits, for everyone who was depressed by the election, we only have to wait 24 or 26 months until the first of the 2020 presidential candidates start forming exploratory committees, and if you google democrats 2020, the list of amazing potential candidates we’ll have to choose from will cheer you right up.

Bram Kleppner is CEO of Danforth Pewter, Board Chair at the Population Media Center, and Co-Chair of Vermont's Medicaid & Exchange Advisory Board. His mission is to take steps large and small to fight global warming and to bring the world's population into balance with its renewable resources.
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