I hope I'm wrong

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I was wrong about the 2016 election.

I first wrote about Donald Trump's candidacy in August 2015, describing him as a "self-important windbag who should never receive a single vote to become president of the United States."

A year later, I wrote about Trump again. This time I described him as "a puffed-up, steroidal version of a stereotypical used-car salesman (with sincere apologies to used-car salesmen)."

I was wrong about the 2016 election. That doesn't mean that I was wrong about Donald Trump, although I fervently hope that time proves I was.

I was wrong about the 2016 election, in my opinion, not because I misread Trump's personality, not because I failed to understand his positions on policy, not because I failed to recognize some part of his background that qualifies him to serve as our president.

I was wrong about the 2016 election because I failed to recognize Trump's ability to somehow convince American voters that, even with his obvious flaws, our nation will be better off with him in office than it would have been with Hillary Clinton serving as our president.

I wrote in August of this year that Trump's campaign was "about fear, ignorance, xenophobia and hatred."

Three months later, I recognize that while I still believe Trump as a candidate worked to stir all of those elements, he also came to represent hope for many Americans -- hope for a better future for ourselves and for future generations. Look, 63 percent of the voters who cast ballots in Carroll County voted for Trump. Do I believe that those people were voting out of fear, ignorance or hatred? Of course not. Carroll County is my home, and the people who live here are good people. For whatever reason, the people of Carroll County overwhelmingly believe Donald Trump is the right man, right now for America.

My opinion of Trump has not changed. I don't believe he has the proper temperament to serve as our president. I don't believe his tax policies will have a positive effect on middle-class Americans in the long term. I don't believe his economic plan will work; in fact I believe it will only further the income gap in our country. I don't believe he has even a basic understanding of foreign policy and his presidency almost certainly will not have a positive environmental impact.

I'm afraid of what a Trump presidency ultimately will mean for America.

I was wrong about the 2016 election. It is my most sincere hope that I am wrong about its consequences.

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Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com.