The initial shock has given way to a twofold horror. First, there is the unavoidable fact that more than 62 million Americans voted for this man. Most white college graduates preferred him. Most white women preferred him. Presumably many of those 62 million aren’t bigots or bullies or sexual predators or compulsive liars. But they knowingly voted for someone who is all of those things and more.
And then there are the sickening practical implications. During the campaign, novelist Adam Haslett remarked that “endless acts of verbal violence shock us into stunned passivity so we no longer register the horror of what we’re living through.” But that’s nothing compared to the horror fatigue that awaits us under a Trump administration. His election — along with Republican control of both Houses of Congress and more than two thirds of state legislatures — will almost certainly precipitate an assault on civil rights, civil liberties, environmental protections (including a reversal of early, tentative steps to deal with global climate change), consumer protections, reproductive rights, gay rights, workers’ rights, prisoners’ rights, humane immigration policies, aid to the poor, gun control, antimilitarism, support for public education, and on and on. It will be bad enough for an individual deeply committed to any one of these issues; for those interested in all of them, it will be difficult to absorb, let alone summon outrage about and become active in opposing, a tidal wave of reactionary policies likely to continue on a daily basis for many years.