Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Thank You President Barack Obama

"This is your victory," President Barack Obama said in his 2008 victory speech given at a time when the country was in the worst economic recession in decades, with unemployment soaring, the financial markets near total collapse, and the country immersed with two costly foreign wars.  

He inherited a dispirited and scared nation consumed with uncertainty and fear.  But his message to the quarter million people gathered in Chicago's Grant Park, and tens of millions Americans watching on television, was one of hope.  "The road ahead will be long.  Our climb will be steep," he said.  "We may not get there in one year or even one term.  But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there."

Many of those who voted for President Obama, the nation's first African American president, were seeking change.  The government in Washington was failing, the political system was broken, and big money had too much influence.  Manufacturing jobs were fleeing the country, millions of Americans had no health care, and the middle class was shrinking.  America's place in the world was diminishing, terrorists cast a shadow over daily life, and U.S. soldiers were dying in two distant wars that seemed interminable.  

President Obama's message of hope, his intelligence, his thoughtfulness, his incredibly positive demeanor, his decency, his integrity, his fine character, his grace under pressure, his equanimity and good temperament are traits that he lived by every day.  

Many challenges faced this president.  At the moment he was sworn in for his first term, the Republican leadership agreed to block every initiative, law, or action the president proposed.  They proclaimed they wanted to make him a one-term president. Members of Congress, right wing radio talk show hosts and a New York real estate mogul constantly questioned President Obama's religion, citizenship and character.  The attempts to delegitimize the president were disgusting and demeaning, and they added fuel to a very combustible situation created by those motivated by their own self-interests.  

No president has been perfect.  Every president makes mistakes, some more than others.  History will ultimately be the judge of Obama's presidency.  But, despite the challenges, he leaves office with many accomplishments.  He was a truly consequential president.  

President Obama saved the country from the Great Recession.  He saved the auto industry.  Unemployment fell from nearly 10% to 4.7% during his presidency, and the stock market has nearly tripled (almost all of it before his successor was elected).   He extended health insurance to 20 million Americans, dramatically slowed the growth of health care costs, and made it possible for those with pre-existing health conditions to get insurance.  President Obama supported marriage equality, repealed the military's "don't ask-don't tell" policy, signed legislation to combat pay discrimination against women, and signed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.  He signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act, and he signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act.  The president improved school nutrition programs, boosted fuel efficiency in cars, invested more in Veteran's Affairs, and reduced the homeless rate among veterans by 50%.  He appointed the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.

President Obama's administration helped negotiate the historic Paris Climate Treaty.  The president helped negotiate the Iran Nuclear Deal, which includes Russia and our allies.   He ended the war in Iraq, reduced American military presence in Afghanistan, and ordered the capture and killing of terrorist Osama bin Laden.  He reversed Bush-era torture policies, began normalizing relations with Cuba, and he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.   However, he has been criticized for his policies toward Syria, Russia and the Middle East, three intensely complex and complicated issues with no easy solutions.  

President Obama held his final news conference in the White House pressroom Wednesday, thanking reporters and sending a message to the incoming president about the importance of having the press corps in that location.  "Having you in this building has made this place work better.  It keeps us honest, it makes us work harder," he said.  The president was asked about the election's impact on his daughters.  "What we've also tried to teach them is resilience," he said, "and we've tried to teach them hope and that the only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world."

The president said he plans to take time off with his family, but he will speak about issues he deeply cares about.  "I believe in this country.  I believe in the American people.  I believe that people are more good than bad."  He continued, "If we work hard and if we are true to those things in us that feel true and feel right, that the world gets a little better each time.  That's what this presidency has tried to be about."  He concluded, "At my core, I think we're going to be OK.  We just have to fight for it, we have to work at it and not take it for granted." 

Thank you President Obama, this was your victory.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Will Trump be Presidential?

President Elect Donald Trump will be sworn in to office Friday as America's 45th president on the west front of the U.S. Capitol before thousands of supporters and millions watching on television around the world.   The peaceful transition of power will symbolize the strength of the American democracy.  

Perhaps equally important will be what President Trump has to say in his inaugural address.  The nation has been deeply divided for decades by partisan politics; the world has been roiled with regional conflicts and the growing threat of terrorism.  Will the newly sworn-in president speak of his genuine interest of uniting the country, which is rich with diverse cultures and beliefs?  Will he clearly identify the threats, foreign and domestic, facing the nation, and assure even his most strident opponents that he has the temperament and character to lead the country?  

Many of his predecessors used their inaugural address to set a tone for their presidency.  In his first address, President Thomas Jefferson said, "Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.  We have been called by different names brethren of the same principle.  We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists."

Following a great Civil War President Lincoln sought to heal the nation's wounds in his second inaugural address.  "With Malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds," he said.  "To do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

In his first inaugural address, President Franklin Roosevelt spoke to a nation crippled by the Great Depression.  "This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper.  So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," Roosevelt intoned.  "In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with the understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory."

As the nation was still recovering from World War II, it elected a war hero as its president.  In his first inaugural address President Dwight Eisenhower said, "We are summoned to act in wisdom and in conscience, to work with industry, to teach with persuasion, to preach with conviction, to weigh every deed with care and compassion.  For this truth must be clear before us: whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America."   

President John F. Kennedy, who was elected in 1960 in a close election, sought to mobilize young idealistic citizens with his stirring oration.  "Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans," he declared.  "The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it--and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.  And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country."

President Ronald Reagan was elected in a landslide in 1980 as the country was reeling from inflation, high unemployment and gasoline prices, and a crisis of confidence.  "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem," he maintained in his first inaugural address.  "We are a nation that has a government--not the other way around.  And this makes us special among the nations of the earth.  Our government has no power except that granted by the people.  It is time to check and reverse the growth of government which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed." 

President Barack Obama was the first African American elected to the nation's highest office.  The deeply divided country was mired in two costly wars, was experiencing its worst economic recession in nearly one hundred years, and was split along party lines.  A massive crowd of 1.8 million people attended his swearing in, which was watched by a record audience around the globe.  "On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord."  He continued, "On this day, we come to proclaim and end to petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for too long have strangled our politics."    

Despite the soaring rhetoric, many presidents were not able to achieve all of their goals.  But President Trump's inaugural speech comes at an important time in this nation's history.  He will face enormous challenges, domestic and foreign.  The election is over, and while he finished second in the popular vote, he won the presidency.   And while the Russians meddled in the election, he was the winner.  

The American presidency is the most powerful office in the world. Now it is time for President Trump to actually govern.   Now it is time for him to end his personal insults, his impulsive and boorish behavior.  Now it is the time for an end to his Twitter rants, or tirades against the press.  Now it is time for him to praise U.S. intelligent agencies and their courageous employees, and to praise America's allies and support its alliances.  

Now it is time for President Trump to act presidential.  Too much is a stake.  

Monday, January 2, 2017

Undoing Obama

On January 20, President-elect Donald Trump will be sworn into office and he promises to hit the ground running with a flurry of actions that will undo regulations enacted by President Barack Obama.  "Regulations are coming off," he said to the crowd gathered at his New Year's Eve party at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida retreat.  Republican lawmakers, who will soon control both houses of Congress, have made undoing Obama's legacy their top priority.  

Of course, the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is the prime Republican target for repeal.  They have described the law as a disaster, and have charged it has increased health care costs for many individuals and small businesses.  In truth, the ACA track record is more mixed.  Nonetheless, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that repeal would not mean that those receiving health care through the law will lose coverage.   "This has to be done carefully," he said, "It has to be done in a phased-in way over a period of time."  However, it is unclear how Republicans plan to replace the ACA.  

Obamacare has remained unpopular with the American public despite all of the benefits it provides.  About 20 million Americans have health insurance through Obamacare exchanges or Medicaid expansion. Senior citizens pay less for Medicare coverage and prescription drugs under the law.  The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that repeal of Obamacare would increase Medicare spending by $802 billion over 10 years.  Obamacare totally eliminates the donut hole in Medicare prescription drug coverage by 2020.  All of these costs will be passed on to beneficiaries. Repeal may also mean that children up to 26 would no longer be automatically covered by their family policy, and those with pre-existing health conditions can again be denied health insurance coverage.

Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said on Twitter Monday, "The GOP wants to dismantle ACA & consequently increase costs.  It's wrong.  It will have an major impact on hardworking families & raise taxes."   She also warned that Republicans want to "dismantle Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid."   Many Republicans are for making changes in all of these programs in order to rein in government costs.  

President-elect Trump and Republicans also want to undo the many regulations President Obama has enacted.   They have their eyes set on the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, which includes the "Volcker Rule" that restricts banks from trading for profits.  Dodd-Frank, which was enacted following the 2008 financial crisis, calls for a series of reforms meant to decrease risk in the financial system.   A Trump administration is likely to slow these regulations and rewrite the law.  

Trump will also go after several environmental regulations.  The Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan is likely to be repealed.  It calls for a 32 per cent cut in the power sector's carbon emissions by 2030.  The EPA and Army Corps of Engineer's Clean Water Rule is likely to be scrapped.  It makes small waterways, like wetlands and ponds, subject to federal rules much to the ire of many businesses.   The EPA's rule to limit ground-level Ozone, which is largely the byproduct of fossil fuels, is likely not to be strictly enforced under a Trump administration.  And Trump wants to eliminate rules that make hydraulic fracturing more difficult.  

These measures enacted by Obama were all an effort to protect Americans and make the environment safer.  But Trump is a world class self-promoter and businessman whose priority it is to undo Obama's regulations and legacy.  This, he says, will create new jobs and strengthen the economy.  However, many economists say ending regulations has not historically led to a large increase in jobs.  But it sure may help short-term profits for corporations.

This is how Trump will make America great again! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Trump World

America's first post-truth president will be sworn in as the Nation's 45th chief executive at noon eastern time on January 20.  Just exactly what will happen after that seems so far to be unclear, including to his inner circle and supporters.  Trump marches to his own tune. One thing for sure, though, is that the man who has pledged to "Make America Great Again" will be making the Trump brand even greater.

While Trump lost to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes in November's election, he did win the votes necessary to secure the electoral delegates needed to become president.  He was propelled by a large group of Americans who are fed up with Washington politics because for decades they have been left behind. They had listened and believed all the past promises from red and blue politicians, only to be pushed back into the dark background when the contest was completed.   They were taken for granted again and again.

Many Trump voters came from aggrieved members of the working class who have seen technology and globalization rip their livelihood and self-respect from their soul.  Politicians who busily courted special interests to perpetuate their positions in government regularly ignored their plaintive cries.  For some, Bernie Sanders seemed to be an authentic alternative to the status quo.  But when he was pushed aside by the Democratic political establishment, many of his supporters found Trump appealing.

To many Americans Washington needed a wake up call.  Washington needed to be shaken up.  It was time for a new reality, even if it was a post-truth reality.  The aggrieved turned to a loud, boisterous, politically incorrect, mendacious, prevaricating entertainer-real estate mogul.  Trump appealed to their emotions rather than their minds.  They heard what they wanted to hear, and Trump was their champion.  

A recent PPP national poll found that 67% of Trump voters believe unemployment increased during the Obama presidency, when in fact it sharply declined.  Only 41% of Trump voters say the stock market went up during the Obama administration, meaning most don't know that the market has almost tripled over the past eight years.  And 60% of Trump voters believe Hillary Clinton received millions illegal votes, a lie that Trump has repeated several times since the election.

But does the truth really matter to these aggrieved voters?  Many don't believe that Trump will build a huge wall from one end of the Mexican-U.S. border to the other.  Many don't believe that Mexico will pay for the wall.   They certainly don't believe that Trump will deport all 11 million people who are living in this country illegally.  They certainly don't believe he will ban all Muslims from entering the U.S.  They certainly don't believe Trump saw thousands of Muslims cheering in New Jersey when New York's World Trade Center was attacked.  They know it was a  lie. They certainly don't believe that Trump will bring back millions of manufacturing jobs as he has promised.  

What do they believe?  They believe Trump will "drain the swamp" of politicians and bring an end to business as usual.  They believe Trump has their backs, that he hears their voices, that he will make their lives better.   They have given the president-elect a pass on releasing his federal tax returns. They have given him a pass on eliminating his many conflicts of interest.  They don't care if he produces a reality television show while in office.  They don't care that he attacks the press, evades serious questions, and regularly communicates via Twitter at all hours of the night.

Some have noted that Trump has appointed wealthy bankers, experienced politicians and retired generals to serve in his administration.  While this seems to contradict his promise to drain the swamp, so far they are giving him the benefit of a doubt.  The fact that Trump and some of his appointees are close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, a ruthless and corrupt leader who views America as the enemy, seems not to have resonated with the president elect's supporters.  So much for Ronald Reagan's evil empire!   

Soon Trump will be confronted with the full weight of the responsibilities that fall upon the shoulders of America's president. He will actually have to make decisions.  Will he gradually replace the existing Medicare program, as the Republican platform proposes, with a defined contribution program where seniors will be provided a fixed amount of money to purchase private health insurance of their own?  Will he repeal Obamacare and leave millions of Americans without healthcare?   Will he push to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion?  Will he go ahead with the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline?  He said he would make a decision soon after taking office.

How will President-elect Trump deal with President Putin?  Will he move to ease sanctions on Russia for its occupation of Crimea? Will he impose import tariffs on Chinese products, even if it means higher prices in the U.S., and leads to the cancellation of contracts for Boeing aircraft and other U.S. products?  Will he send U.S. troops into Syria?  Will he implement his secret plan to eliminate ISIS?

According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, a majority of Americans are either uncertain or pessimistic about his presidency. The country that he has vowed to unify remains deeply divided.  For sure, Trump's presidential campaign was unconventional, but he made many enemies, including within the Republican Party. So Trump make think all the world's a stage, and that he can bully and bluster his way through his daily challenges.  However, he will soon find out that the presidency is not just a television show.   

Thomas Jefferson once said, "No man will ever carry out of the Presidency the reputation which carried him into it."  Let's hope so, because America’s future is at stake, and all the world will be watching. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Trump and Putin

President elect Donald Trump is a loggerheads with the U.S. intelligence community just weeks before he is to be sworn into office. The Washington Post reported that the C.I.A. had determined that Russia had interfered with last month’s presidential election in an effort to undermine the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. The Russians broke into Democratic National Committee computer networks and released embarrassing documents and emails in the weeks prior to the election. The New York Times reported the Russians had also hacked Republican National Committee computers but did not release any of those documents.

The Post quoted a senior U.S. official as saying, “It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help get Trump elected.” The Trump transition team responded with a snarky statement, “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.” In an interview released Wednesday, Trump told Timemagazine, “I don’t believe it. I don’t believe (Russia) interfered.” But President Obama has now ordered a full review “of what happened during the 2016 election process” to be completed before he leaves office.

While there is no evidence yet that the Russians or President Vladimir Putin did anything that would alter the outcome of the election, Trump supporters are concerned that these reports may be an effort to delegitimize his presidency. Trump praised Putin as a strong leader during the presidential campaign. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Twitter Saturday, “I’m not challenging the outcome of the election, but very concerned about Russian interference/actions at home & throughout the world.”

President Putin has been waging a multi-front campaign for years to destabilize Western democracies and undermine NATO. Trump was critical of NATO during his campaign. Russia has endured tough sanctions as a result of its invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions have added to the severe economic problems the country is facing. While Russia has been a partner of the U.S. in the Iranian nuclear deal, it has been at odds with the West over its military support of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, which has only intensified that country’s civil war and compounded the human tragedy currently taking place.

Putin is a master manipulator, and he may be betting that businessman Donald Trump would be easier to deal with on several fronts. Trump’s imminent announcement of Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of State nominee is an added plus for Putin. Tillerson and Putin are friends and have done business together. The ExxonMobil website claims that the company “has had a continuous business presence in Russia for more than 20 years.” No project is more important than a joint venture between Exxon and the Russian state owned company Rosneft to drill oil in the Arctic’s Kara Sea. That project had been halted due to the

sanctions, but Tillerson has said he does not believe the Russian sanctions work. This week it was announced that Russia sold a 20% stake in Rosneft for $11.7 billion based on expectations that sanctions would be eased under a Trump presidency.

Putin is a trained KGB officer and he runs his country with a ruthless hand. He has cracked down on civil society, the media, he has intensified persecution of his critics, and he has fanned anti-Western sentiment in Russia. Two weeks ago Republican Senator John McCain warned Trump against another reset with Putin. “At the very least, the price of another “reset” would be complicity in Putin and Assad’s butchery of the Syrian people,” he said. “When America has been at its greatest, it is when we have stood on the side of those fighting tyranny. That is where we must stand again.”

A Russian friend of mine recently asked me if I heard the latest joke from his homeland. “President Putin has appointed Donald Trump as the head of America,” he said with a chuckle. This may be funny to Russians, but it is a scary thought to any American. President elect Trump should be treating all U.S. national security agencies with the highest respect. To attack them will only weaken and discourage their efforts at a critical time. Further, he must treat Putin as a serious threat to this nation. The future of freedom and democracy is at stake.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Verizon Incompetence

Verizon has awful customer service.  After more than a month, my long telephonic nightmare may be close to being solved!

Problems with Verizon not come as a surprise to many Verizon customers, but for 25 years I have had no problems with my two residential lines.  That ended October 21, when Verizon experienced a cable failure that has left many residents on New York's Upper East Side without landline phone service.  

This past June a Verizon representative called offering me their FIOS fiber service.  He indicated that because a new neighbor was requesting it they would have to run fibers through our house.  He pointed out I could get internet, television and phone service all in one.   I said, since I was happy with my Time Warner Cable TV service and my current Verizon phone service, I did not more lines running through my house. 

Several weeks later. on Friday, October 21, both of my landlines failed, they are on copper lines that have been in place for decades.  We called in the problem, giving both phone numbers, but did not see a repairman until the following Wednesday.   The repairman sad he had a ticket for only one phone line suggesting I call the other line in separately.  After less than a half-hour the repairman left to find the box in the apartment building at the corner.  We never saw him again.  

A couple days later a second repairman showed up with a ticket for only one number.  He explained he could not work on both lines.  He disappeared next door after revealing there may have been a cable failure somewhere, and many phone lines were out.  We never saw him again.  

For the next couple weeks, repairmen occasionally came by our townhouse to fix one line or the other, but none had answers.  One day a repairman actually got one of our lines to work.  But a day later it failed.  It had been three weeks since our phone system failed, and Verizon service representatives still could not explain what was going on, but they assured me it would be repaired as soon as possible.  "We apologize for any inconvenience," I heard time and again.

I followed along with one of the repairmen to see what the local area set was like.  There's a box filled with copper wires in and apartment building which is connected to a box outside, behind a fence, with more copper wires.  The repairman explained to me that Verizon wants to replace all the copper boxes with FIOS fiber.   It finally occurred to me that Verizon was slow walking repairs on its old system to force customers to FIOS.

On November 22, one month after our phones failed, I called Verizon again in pursuit of an answer.  I spent more than 30 minutes going through their system, speaking to different service people.  I was forwarded to someone described as a "dispatcher."  (He was located in New Jersey.)  The dispatcher made several attempts to get information for me about what was going on with phones in my tony neighborhood.  

Brace yourself--the dispatcher told me my landline phone service will not be restored until mid January.  That's six more weeks!  On the other hand, they could install FIOS fiber in my house almost immediately.   What!

Here's what's wrong with Verizon:

-Verizon does not communicate well with the customer, unless it is a sales opportunity.
-They do not tell their employees what's going on, leaving them to suffer the wrath of unhappy customers.
-The company has incredibly inefficient repair processes that do not allow them any flexibility in solving problems.  Two people can be at the same site working on a related problem--and no one knows.  No central organization.
-Technicians should not be upselling Verizon FIOS when they appear for repairs.
-The automated phone system is not designed to handle some problems.
-Receiving automated phone calls from a computerized voice is a pain, and a waste of time for customers who have to navigate through the system.  
-Verizon should contact all of its customers and inform them they are moving to fiber and will have to replace their old copper systems.  They can explain that the copper wire system is failing and must be replaced.  BE TRANSPARENT!  It's the best policy.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

President Elect Trump

President Elect Donald Trump is using Twitter to reassure all Americans that good things are in store for them.  "This will prove to be a great time in the lives of ALL Americans.  We will unite and we will win, win, win," he wrote Saturday.  But it will take actions not tweets to begin to address the anxiety most Americans feel about Trump as president.

Hillary Clinton received the most votes in last Tuesday's presidential election, a higher percentage than Richard Nixon in 1968, and Bill Clinton in 1992.  But in the country where Democracy was founded, getting the most votes does not mean victory.  Trump was able to carry enough states to win the delegate count.   He was helped by a depressed voter turnout, which always helps Republicans.  Last Tuesday 57 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots, compared to 58.6 percent in 2012, and 61.6 percent in 2008.

The depressed turnout may have been due to several key factors.  FBI director James Comey sent a letter to members of Congress in October advising them that he was looking into Emails on former Congressman Anthony Weiner's laptop that may be pertinent to the Clinton investigation.  Republicans seized on the ambiguous statement as if it was an indictment.  Then two days before the election Comey advised members of Congress that investigations found nothing after going through the additional Emails.  

This last minute reminder of Clinton's Email problems could have helped depress turnout on election day, especially considering the fact that early voting was up over 2012.  Clinton has mishandled her use of a private Email server, which Comey called reckless, and she played into perceptions that she cannot be trusted.  It is worth noting that Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani told Fox News viewers something big was going to happen that would affect the election two days before Comey's first letter to Congress.  Giuliani, a former United States Attorney from New York, later said that he never talked to anyone in the FBI about the matter.  He now is the leading candidate to be U.S. Attorney General under Trump.

Prices for Obamacare increased substantially in some key states, including Arizona, just weeks before the election.  The sticker shock eclipsed the good deeds the ACA is doing for millions of previously uninsured Americans.  Obamacare has been the target of Republicans, and Trump has promised to repeal and replace it.

Hillary Clinton is not a strong campaigner; she is no Bill Clinton or Barack Obama.  While she put together a strong campaign team and a powerful ground game, Trump leveraged free media and kept driving the campaign conversation through extensive use of Twitter.  Trump is a good entertainer and a well-known personality, while Clinton is a long time member of the political establishment.

A number of states have added stricter voter identification standards, and have reduced polling places and the hours that they would be open.  These changes discouraged the elderly, students and African Americans from voting.  Republicans had made much of voter fraud in enacting these measures, even though there were only 31 cases of in-person voting fraud out of 1 billion votes since 2000 in all elections, national and local.  

National polls before the election showed Clinton ahead in many key state races, even after the latest Comey kerfuffle.  Perhaps the Clinton campaign was too overconfident.   But many of those who were polled may have misled pollsters about their intention to support Trump.  On the other hand, most of the media failed to grasp the magnitude of Trump's support in sections of the country, especially rural.  These supporters were not fair weather fans; rather they were devoted Trump loyalists.

President-elect Trump has been focusing on policy briefings, phone conversations with world leaders, and on deciding whom he will appoint to his cabinet.  In order to win the presidency he overcame many controversial statements and actions that would have sunk any other candidate.   He insulted his opponents in the harshest terms.  He spoke and allegedly acted in a sexually offensive manner to several women, and he was even caught on videotape speaking in an inappropriate way.  He called Mexican rapists and drug dealers, he threatened to ban Muslims from entering the country,  he said women who have abortions should be punished, and he demeaned war heroes and veterans.  Throughout the campaign he displayed ignorance on many key issues, national and foreign, and he lied early and often about himself, at times denying that he had said something earlier in the same interview.   In short, he often looked like a schoolyard bully, and conducted himself foolishly.  

The news media has been bashed by Clinton supporters for not challenging Trump earlier enough in his campaign.  Trump received the equivalent of $2 billion in free airtime on cable and network news channels leading up to his election.  The media should continue to pursue Trump's income tax returns that he alleges are under audit by the IRS.  Further, new organizations should investigate how America's First Lady to be, Melania Trump, entered the United States.  She was supposed to have a press conference last summer to show proof she did not enter the U.S. illegally.  Further, the media ought to investigate the truth behind Trumps shoddy business practices and his many conflicts of interest with foreigners and governments he has borrowed money from to maintain his empire.  His generous use of the EB-5 program, where foreigners who invest in U.S. capital investments like real estate are granted U.S. visas, would be a good place to examine. 

The Electoral College will cast its vote for President-elect Trump in December, and he will be sworn into office in January.  He will then be president, but many Americans are having trouble accepting that fact.  

Trump's rocky path to success calls to mind a quote written in 1926 by H.L. Mencken.  "As democracy is perfected, the office of the president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people," he wrote.  "On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."