I lost, at least temporarily, some friends and social media outlets thanks to the recent election — but I may have gained a far broader appreciation of the greatness and opportunities for America’s future.
Enough time has passed for the various realities of the election to settle in. I didn’t start watching returns until 10:30 p.m. on November 8, and I was startled at how the sanguine assumptions of an easy victory for Hillary Clinton froze in place like thick ice covering a fragile piece of glass.
I could not help but think, “Be careful what you ask for, because you may get it.”
Would Trump in victory succumb to corporate Republicanism and all tax cuts to the rich, and pay only lip service to the far larger group of populist Americans that he actually owed?
Here’s what I hope happens to President-elect Donald Trump as he moves closer to assuming office. One, I hope he reaches out again and again to those who did not support him. I hope he listens to them. Hears them. Respects them. Like Trump, they share a passion for America and certainly want to see America a better nation if not a great nation once again. Their fears are deeply felt. Their concerns speak to the extension and protection of American democracy no less committed than Trump’s own.
Two, I hope Trump sears into his brain all those images of the many tens of thousands of people that came out to support him in person, often on short notice, often carrying only a hope and a prayer that he meant what he said at a time of their long struggling despair.
Trump saw their goodness. He saw how they in so many ways remain the bedrock of this country. Their dads fought in World War II. They were raised in post-war expansion of affluence. They want the same chances for their children and their children’s children, even if more than a few of them know that their best days are long since gone.
Day after day on the campaign trail, often making multiple stops in multiple states in one day, Trump grasped the reason his language resonated with them. Let history note that it was Trump’s language inspiring hope not hate that resonated with a battered population of working and middle-class people. Let it also be said that Trump’s opponent never seemed to bother to check in with those Americans who believe in equal opportunities and high mindedness but want it tempered with fair play and playing by the rules.
Only Trump can see the entire playing field arrayed around him. The advisers, the strategists, the politicians will do what they always do — distract, delay, disrupt for their own purposes.
But Trump can, in the weeks, months, years ahead, define and chart his own course based on his insights and observations on the people who trusted you with their votes.
Trump should talk to Bernie Sanders. He should talk to progressive social media icons like The Young Turks. He should never forget that the new Republican Party has the chance to become America’s populist party. Let the Democrats try to resurrect themselves along corporate lines. See how far that gets them.
Trump should surprise the people. He should embrace grassroots democracy and grassroots debate and discussion at all levels. Most people are not hardcore Republicans or Democrats; they are just Americans, just people with more than a little bit of worry and fear for the future.
Trump has the chance for greatness. He ran for this high office because of his own sense of greatness that he seeks to prove and express. Trump has exacting standards — he shouldn’t lower them, ever.
Trump should expect much of himself and those around him. He should root out corruption. He shouldn’t settle for hackneyed party regulars.
He should put some Democrats, especially those who believe in infrastructure enhancement, into places of alliance — even if it is only on an issue-by-issue basis. He should stay on the elevated course and expression of American greatness. We may well fall short in so many areas. It is important for all of us and the entire world to hear that America is always willing to seek out the best, most creative solutions, that we are an optimistic people. We may stumble, but we always get up. Most of the world truly wants us to succeed.
I voted for Trump because he evoked again and again a recognizable message of American ascendency. A quick look at the rest of the world underscores the importance of our role. If Trump succeeds, Americans of all backgrounds will have a better chance for themselves and their loved ones.
And come January 20, that’s worth raising a glass to.
This story "I’m a Jew Who Voted for Trump. To Keep My Support, Here’s What He Must Do Next." was written by Neil Berro.