By L.V. Anderson
The sense of disillusionment white American liberals woke up with on Nov. 9 was powerful enough to taint the entire year with a sense of doom. So many illusions were shattered by the election of Donald Trump: about the media, polling, the Democrats’ vaunted ground game, the fundamental character of our fellow citizens, the viability of the American experiment. Even if the first 10 months and eight days of 2016 had been an era of unbounded inspiration and hope, the impact of Donald Trump’s election would have outweighed them, reducing our optimism to a historical footnote.
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Of course, the first 10 months and eight days of 2016 weren’t an era of unbounded inspiration and hope, even if the post-Nov. 8 world makes them look pretty good by comparison. Not even the most diehard, optimistic Hillary Clinton supporters could ignore the minor disillusionments that cropped up every few weeks—events that in hindsight seem like distant rumbles of thunder warning of the storm to come. Bernie Sanders supporters were disillusioned by the Democratic National Committee’s contempt for their chosen candidate. Moderate Republicans were disillusioned by Donald Trump’s unforeseen takeover of their party. Queer people who’d recently won the right to marry were disillusioned by the horrific massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Women who thought they’d seen overt misogyny disappear from polite society were disillusioned by the cavalier way Trump described grabbing women “by the p---y.”