There's no point in wasting a lot of space or time lamenting how depressing this electionhas been and how awful both candidates are. But despite the events we've been forced to witness over the past 18 months, there are some silver linings likely to emerge from the election.
- The exposure of Trump's view of and treatment of women has helped to shine a light on the deplorable behavior of others and that more can be done. Trump is not the only person who treats women like objects. Hopefully all of the bad press, condemnations and discussions of his behavior and his mentality will continue to shine a light on this inexcusable behavior and significantly deter others from doing the same. Millions of women have come forward to share their stories of assault and harassment showing us that there is more we all can do and that not enough has changed.
- The voters' likely rejection of Trump sends a message to the world. While Trump's nomination and being a real contender for the Presidency until the race's final month sent a very bad message to the rest of the world about our values and beliefs, his ultimate rejection by the voters affirms the underlying global view that America is still (when push comes to shove) a bastion of equality, freedom, and democracy. Obviously, this election was not our best moment, but unlike Brexit, we, in the end, will (likely) at least reject hatred and bigotry.
- Hillary will have to operate differently. Even though Hillary will likely capture a substantial majority of electoral college votes (perhaps as many as 350), it's not a mandate for her in any way, shape or form. Too many voters can't stand her or trust her, and that she faced competitive races from fringe candidates like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump is proof positive of how people feel about her. No matter what mandate she claims to have publicly, she knows that she can't continue operating the way that she typically does (one set of rules for her, one for everyone else) and get away with it. She will be a one-term president if this status quo mindset continues. So hopefully facing a tough primary and general will force team Clinton to clean up their act and that will make her a better President.
- The conversation is moving in the right direction. Until Trump, the typical Republican-Democratic dispute was over social issues like same sex marriage or abortion. Those are absurd topics to still be discussing in 2016. While there are wildly different views on how to create new jobs and opportunity in the U.S. - I think we need open borders, open trade, a competitive corporate tax rate, better infrastructure, real school reform, and while others may see it differently, at least we're now talking about the right issues.
It's not clear any of these benefits would have happened if the race had featured two different candidates or even just a different Republican. None of this will make the next few weeks any less painful to watch, but as we shake our heads as we head to the polls, at least a few good things will hopefully come out of it.