For the past several years, I’ve used the digital inbox space you’ve so graciously afforded me to warn about the potential doom that Donald Trump represents. During this period, I’ve often been asked by readers why NextDraft became so much more political. Look outside. You’ll understand. The pandemic failures, the economic collapse, the polarization, the attacks on the press, the destruction of norms and institutions, the moral and ethical degradation that enables us to look away from kids in cages, the poisoning of the party of Lincoln, America’s freefalling world leadership role, the wanton racism, the dictator love, the emolumental illness, the fleecing of the nation, the firing of people for doing their jobs, the embrace of enemies and insulting of allies, the acceptance of traitorous behavior, the climate denial, the treaty torching, the unearthing of the nation’s darkest impulses, the lie after lie after lie … all of this and more leading us into a bleak new reality heralded by the once and current reality TV star, have proved my warnings to be, while understated, all too prophetic. Being right couldn’t feel more wrong. The writing was on the wall that Trump promised to build. Birtherism has become a full grown adolescent. Angry. Hateful. And now, more dangerous than ever; cornered by unpleasant polling numbers, lashing out, eyes fixed on a TV screen, hands flailing about, slapping screeds on social media, and a knee pressing down on democracy’s neck as enablers chant, cheer, or maybe worse, stand by and shrug. What many saw coming is here. Now what? Here’s The New Yorker’s David Remnick—not today, or this week, but the day after the 2016 election: “All along, Trump seemed like a twisted caricature of every rotten reflex of the radical right. That he has prevailed, that he has won this election, is a crushing blow to the spirit; it is an event that will likely cast the country into a period of economic, political, and social uncertainty that we cannot yet imagine.” Imagine that.

+ A few weeks after Remnick wrote that article, Derek Black, a former golden boy of white nationalism who courageously renounced the movement, tried to explain the storm ahead. “A substantial portion of the American public has made clear that it feels betrayed by the establishment, and so it elected a president who denounces all Muslims as potential conspirators in terrorism; who sees black communities as crime-ridden; who taps into white American mistrust of foreigners, particularly of Hispanics; and who promises the harshest form of immigration control. If we thought Mr. Trump himself might backtrack on some of this, we are now watching him fill a cabinet with people able to make that campaign rhetoric into real policy … Mr. Trump’s victory must make all Americans acknowledge that the choice of embracing or rejecting multiculturalism is not abstract. I know this better than most, because I’ve followed both paths. It is the choice of embracing or rejecting our own people.” Your move, America.