The Day After: the people have spoken.

For many, the situation that America finds itself in right now was once an unfathomable thought.

After the unorthodox campaign Donald Trump had run, full of race-baiting and xenophobia while feeding off people’s fears and anger, the idea that he would be elected president was simply unthinkable.

Even when he became one of two candidates remaining. Still, there was no way.

And yet, here were are on, on Nov. 9, and Donald Trump is the president elect.

I said this would be a memorable election for the remainder of our lives. But I didn’t believe it would be for this reason.

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What we saw on Tuesday night was a revolution. This was a fervent repudiation of the establishment by working class white Americans. It was a rejection of the political elites, globalism, and a major blow to the legacy of Barack Obama.

And it continues a trend of a populist surge across western Democracies worldwide. First Brexit, now Trumpism, and countries like Germany and France may be next in their own upcoming elections.

But it has happened. And now we must deal with it.

I was anxious going into last night. As the results filtered in, my anxiety grew by the hour. Once Florida turned red and other swing states were not looking promising, I knew in my heart that it was over, and drifted into an uneasy sleep. The next morning, I reluctantly checked the results on my phone, my worst fears confirmed.

I then read through status after status of my Facebook friends who were basically standing on the ledge, as they voiced with disgust about how their lives will never be the same.

I then took a half-hour walk before leaving for work to do some soul searching. And that’s when it hit me: this country cannot be ruled by one man. It is still about us. If you’re unhappy with the result, then express it by being the best human that you can be. Respect and love for one another is, and always will be, the antidote to fear-mongering and hate.

As a straight, white male, I can’t really look at my friends who are gay, or female, or in the minority, and tell them that everything is going to be OK. And I saw that people were sharing this emotional reaction by CNN commentator Van Jones that basically expressed that very sentiment.

I know so many of us are shell-shocked. But what I can tell you with confidence is that we can make it through whatever comes next if we stick together.

Throughout this election, I preached all along that we must come together at the end, in anticipation of a Hillary Clinton win. So what kind of person would I be if I didn’t live up to my own words when the result didn’t go the way that I wanted it to?

As Hillary Clinton beautifully said during her concession speech, we owe it to the sanctity and posterity of our country to give Donald Trump an open mind. Let him prove to us that he can do the job.

And if he can’t — well, this is the age of activism. We’ll let him know. Our president and congress may belong to one party, but we, the people, will be the watchdog.

It was a day of reckoning, indeed, for America. We have sent shock waves throughout the entire world.

But this is still our country.

And I still believe in us.

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Election Day 2016: The day of reckoning

In 2008, I was in one of the more unlikeliest of places when I learned that Barack Obama had been elected our 44th president.

I was a senior in college, at Binghamton University in central New York, and I was participating in a beer pong tournament in one of the most popular and notorious bars among students.

It was $3 pitcher night at the Rathskeller, which, in German, translates to “basement.” And it’s called that for good reason. The bar is located in the cellar of another bar.

It’s exactly what you’d expect it to look like. It’s dark, grimy, and the men’s bathroom comprises only troughs to relieve yourself in. It was a favorite among freshmen because the bar was lenient with checking IDs.

But it was there, while throwing a ping pong ball into a red Solo cup on a Tuesday night, where the emcee of the tournament informed us all that Barack Obama had officially won the 2008 presidential election. I believe I shrugged and continued on with my game.

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The next day, when visiting a professor for office hours, she talked jubilantly about how she’ll always remember where she was the moment she learned we had elected our first African-American president. When she asked where I was, I lied and said I had been sitting around a TV watching with friends.

In 2012, I was working in my third year as a journalist, covering local elections in Long Island for the majority of election night. It wasn’t until I got home, close to midnight, when I learned that Obama had defeated Mitt Romney to earn a second term. I was mildly more interested than I was four years ago.

In 2016, I am four years older, four years wiser, and infinitely more invested in who becomes the next president. The stakes are much higher than they’ve been in any of the last two elections, and like everyone else, I have been ridden with anxiety over who will win.

But at the same time, I am also appreciating the significance of the moment. You only liveelection-day-2016 through so many presidential elections in your life — and even less presidents — and we may never experience another contest that is crazier than this one. Furthermore, we quite possibly are on the verge of electing our first woman president.

I am not at a bar, and I am already home from work. I will be experiencing this election right here, at home, with my cat and all of you.

This will be an election season that we will be talking about for the rest of our lives. Its significance may fade over time, like everything does, but it will certainly never be forgotten.

One day, we may all be telling our grandkids about what it was like to live in America in 2016. And today is the culmination of that period.

So just savor it a little bit. It’s obviously a tense night, and we’re all feeling a little high-strung as we await the full results over the next few hours — but at the same time, try to appreciate the historical significance of what we are all currently experiencing.

And then tomorrow, we can focus ourselves on the day after. Because the real impact that will be felt from today’s results is how we react as a nation.

We have two options: stay divided or come together.

Which road we choose will determine how we will be remembered for generations to come.

Here’s hoping for a happy ending.

The Weinblog endorses…

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Guys, we made it.

Don’t ask me how. But throughout the 18 months of painful political mudslinging, slander, smear campaigns, scandals and character assassinations; throughout the misogynistic, xenophobic, sexist, racist and bigoted rhetoric; and throughout the cesspool of conversations that took place on social media, political talk shows and possibly even at your own dinner table – despite all of these disturbances and intrusions into our daily lives that made it seem like this election would never come to an end, the biological process of time still held true.

And here we are, on Nov. 7, one day before voters head to the polls.

Sometime tomorrow night, we will know who our next president is. And hopefully, we, as a nation, can take one collective sigh of relief and move on.

But first we have to choose someone.

I strongly recommend Hillary Clinton.

*Ducks, shuts laptop, runs for cover, hides in a closet, says 12 Hail Marys, reluctantly leaves, tiptoes back, opens laptop. Nothing happens. Breathes a sigh of relief. A tomato then flies through the screen and hits me in the face.*

I know, I know. The emails. The foundation. Benghazi. The general untrustworthiness.

It’s been so easy to absorb any one of these narratives and use them to form one general conclusion – that Hillary Clinton is a corrupt, crooked, dishonest politician.

But doing so would be a lazy conclusion that her critics want you to make.

First of all, there is a reason that, despite all of these developments, Hillary Clinton is still a presidential nominee. And that is because she has been thoroughly investigated by the proper authorities, and was determined to have broken no laws.

That is the truth. People who believe otherwise are simply ignoring facts.

Anybody who has actually read into the details of Hillary Clinton’s alleged missteps know by know how strongly embellished and exaggerated they have become over time. The closer you look, the more benign they become.

Does that mean that she wasn’t careless with her private email server? Or skirting an ethical line? Sure. But you find me a person who has run for president who has lived a perfect life.

One of the reasons we know so much about Hillary Clinton is because of how public her life has been. As an activist, a wife of a two-term governor, First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, the majority of her life has been in the public eye. And yet, the biggest scandal is her misuse of e-mails.

The bottom line is that Donald Trump is not a decent man. His greatest concerns are his own best interests and he does not care about the American people. He lacks any awareness on the most basic issues of governing and has shown no interest in educating himself. He is easily rattled by even the smallest slight directed towards him, and his history of denigration towards women, immigrants, veterans and disabled people make him someone who has no right to represent our country.

That we even came this close to handing this man the most powerful and important job in the world is nothing short of terrifying.

Simply put, a vote for Donald Trump sets our country backwards.

It promotes divisiveness over unity.

And it undermines the values in which this country was built on; that of inclusiveness, progress, and that men and women of all faiths and backgrounds are treated equally.

Let’s be on the right side of history tomorrow.

Let’s put the first women in the White House.

The worst part of this election is how nasty it’s made us

With six days to go until the election, we can at least distract ourselves this one night with Game 7 of the World Series.

As a sports fan, it’s what you live for. One game to take it all. This game will be recorded in history books until the end of time. It’s where sports heroes are made and legacies are forged. Just sit back and enjoy.

Now back to the election! Yay!

I found myself in an unexpected political debate earlier today while I was getting lunch with a coworker. I say ‘unexpected’ because it was a colleague who I hadn’t really even heard express any political opinion since I’ve known him.

But today he was voicing his deep vitriol for Hillary Clinton, and as someone who fully intends to vote for her, I found myself on the defense.

If nothing else, I pride myself in not being ignorant. Even if it’s not something I want to know, I try to make sure I  have a base knowledge of all the facts of the pertinent political story lines. And thus, the argument basically became us having a back-and-forth arguing which candidate is worse.

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Shockingly enough, the world did not stop spinning on its axis. After a few minutes, we both stopped and agreed that it’s a sad state in America when, one week before the election, we are basing our political arguments on who is less bad.

And it’s an offshoot of the negativity that’s surrounded the 2016 election. Rather than discussing which candidate can inspire and help more people, and how they can change America for the better, it’s become a debate about which one comes with the least amount of baggage.

I’m proud to report that our lunch then went about its usual course, and we gladly continued our days after that without thinking any less of each other. Which is how political arguments should be.

No matter what happens in this election, we’ve already shown the worst of ourselves. The divisiveness and bitterness that has spread like a disease throughout our country is completely out in the open. There’s no hiding from it anymore.

In other words, we have very little to be proud of after Nov. 8.

It doesn’t mean we’re a lost cause. But it certainly means that there is some healing that needs to take place. And weirdly enough, my cordial argument with my colleague today gave me hope that it can happen. Because it proved to me that two people with differing beliefs can have a disagreement and still coexist quite peacefully.

A lot of people are going to be unhappy after the vote. But this talk of refusing to accept the result, or of starting of a revolution — it needs to stop. We need to move on and do it as a united force.

I’m not going to say I’m confident it will happen. But I know we are at least capable of it.

Maybe one day we will all learn to put country over party. Like Bill Weld, the Libertarian vice presidential candidate, who during an interview with Rachel Maddow on Tuesday essentially advised people to vote for Hillary Clinton because, in his opinion, Donald Trump is not an option.

Perhaps we can follow Bill Weld’s lead and weld together as one.

#BillWeldPun

The email controversy is the worst political “scandal” of all time

I’d say happy Halloween everybody, but given the state of this presidential election, every day for the last several months has felt like Halloween.

And with just over a week to go, those who clung to the desperate hope that it would come to peaceful, amicable ending  were sadly, sadly mistaken.

It’s only fitting that this tumultuous presidential contest would have its most severe twist just days before the majority of voters head to the polls, when on Friday we learned that the FBI is once again looking into whether Hillary Clinton did indeed commit a crime by mishandling classified emails in relation to her private email server — an investigation that the bureau had already closed this summer.

Even typing that whole thing out sucked.

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There’s so much to unpack here.

FBI Director James Comey is under intense criticism from both sides of the aisle for his decision to notify Congressional leaders of the new developments so close to Election Day, when we don’t even know if the new trove of emails discovered carry any significance whatsoever.

Not only did Comey go against department policy, but he disregarded the recommendations from the Department of Justice, and is now being accused of breaking the law by his meddling in the election.

And that’s the whole absurdity of this new development. The FBI has admitted they do not know if these emails matter. Heck, we don’t know how many of them are new, or if any of them were even sent by Hillary Clinton.

So to reignite the email controversy less than two weeks before the election without any evidence of wrongdoing …. well, I’ll just let you form your own opinion. It remains to be seen how this may affect people’s votes on Nov. 8 … but my gut tells me that people have already made up their minds, and pending a bombshell revelation this week, that this won’t be enough to change enough people’s minds to affect the result.

We haven’t even gotten to the most ridiculous aspect of this yet. The emails were discovered not on Clinton’s server, not on Wikileaks, but on a laptop used by disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner, who the FBI was investigating for allegedly sending explicit photos to a 15-year-old girl.

The computer was found to have contained emails from Huma Abedin, one of Clinton’s closest aides and Weiner’s estranged wife.

Let’s just say I share the same reaction that Joe Biden had when he first learned of Anthony Weiner’s involvement.

I can’t reiterate enough how inane this email controversy is. No one wanted to hear about it in the first place (including Bernie Sanders, who arguably had the most to gain by capitalizing on it), and we were all thrilled when it was over last July. And now it has been brought back for the dumbest of reasons.

If Hillary Clinton has knowingly put American lives at risk and jeopardized national security because of her careless use of an email server, then those headlines would be splashed across my television screen faster than the movie “Inferno” will be out of theaters.

Instead, we have emails about Hillary Clinton’s aides conversing about how they could get the upper hand in winning an election.

“Lock her up.”

Has Donald Trump made Saturday Night Live great again?

Saturday Night Live is a show that is fun to hate.

“It hasn’t been funny in years.”

“That show is still on the air?”

“This is the worst cast of all time.”

Those are common criticisms often expressed among the show’s skeptics.

Which, for the most part, I think are pretty unfounded. Saturday Night Live remains far and away the premier improvisational sketch comedy show on television. That alone differentiates it from practically everything else and makes it worth watching.

It still draws the world’s leading celebrities as hosts and musicians as performers.

And the show’s weekly nature allows it to literally be up-to-the-minute as far as commenting on and satirizing today’s news.

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Oh, and it’s all live. If you can’t appreciate the difficult task of needing to write material from scratch for a 90-minute time block to entertain millions on a weekly basis while not knowing far in advance who the guest host is going to be, then you’re just not being rational. It’s a hard job and one that you would not be able to do better.

A lot of people also like to point out how today’s cast members pale in comparison to those of the past. But at the same time, we forget that Saturday Night Live serves as a launching pad for amateur comedians. The likes of Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Chevy Chase, Jon Belushi, David Spade, Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Jimmy Fallon and Bill Hader were nowhere near as universally popular during their actual SNL tenure. It was only after they left and starred in blockbuster films when they really became famous household names.

So all of those factors make Saturday Night Live an easy show to pick on. But the fact that it always remains in national consciousness shows that it is still as relevant as ever.

And thanks to a certain presidential candidate that provides countless amounts of material, one can make the argument that the show is as funny and influential now as it has been in a long, long time.

Saturday Night Live has a long tradition of playfully (or not so playfully) mocking our prominent politicians, especially during our presidential debates. So it was only natural that people were especially excited for the debut of the 42nd season this year, which was purposely timed to coincide with the debates.

And it hasn’t let us down.

Whether you support him or not, Donald Trump’s language, demeanor, appearance and overall behavior are asking to be ridiculed. So it came as no surprise that SNL went outside its own cast to find the perfect candidate to portray him, knowing they had one chance to get it right.

Enter Alec Baldwin.

Baldwin’s representation of Trump has been so on point that it may go down as one of the most memorable and iconic caricatures in television history.

Combine it with Emmy-winner Katy McKinnon’s portrayal of Hillary Clinton, and the cold open for every single Saturday Night Live this season has become must-see TV.

On a side note, I believe McKinnon may be the best female comic the show has ever had. She is on the cusp of greatness.

As Trump, Baldwin captures the man’s absurdities to perfection. He looks the part, he sounds the part, and he presents him as the unintelligible buffoon that he really is.

The craziest part about Baldwin’s characterization is that people in the decades ahead will probably watch these episodes and assume he’s over-embellishing the presidential candidate. When, in reality, it’s Trump who is the one who is an even bigger joke.

After Nov. 8, we will finally be rid of Donald Trump.

But we will mourn his loss on Saturday nights.

Debate #3: A light at the end of the tunnel?

Mercifully, we have reached the end of the 2016 presidential debates.

Somewhere out there on the Internet, there is a GIF of Elmo from Sesame Street dancing amid streams of confetti that I am too lazy to find. But if I had the motivation, I would insert it right here.

Seventy-one million people watched last night’s spectacle, an increase over the second debate. Never again will these two candidates have a chance to address the nation on the same platform in front of a bigger audience prior to Election Day.

And given the chaotic state of Donald Trump’s campaign — which he did nothing to remedy last night — that is a very, very good thing for supporters of Hillary Clinton.

That being said, this debate was easily the most watchable of the three, with discussions focusing largely on actual policy, thanks in large part to the stringent moderation by Chris Wallace.

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In my opinion, it was the most well-moderated debate of the last two election cycles. Wallace, a Fox News host who formerly worked for NBC, is a registered Democrat, and has voted for presidents of both parties in his lifetime, made sure both candidates stayed on topic, and asked pointed questions to each that addressed their greatest shortcomings.

But it was Hillary who prevailed. She finally got the policy debate she wanted, and was able to stay on message from start to finish, never losing her poise, while throwing in several not-so-subtle jabs towards her opponent that he really had no answer for.

Quite honestly, I don’t think Hillary could have scripted it better if she tried.

While there is plenty to dissect over what was said last night, easily the most prevailing chris-wallacetakeaway that will be remembered for years to come was Donald Trump’s flat-out refusal to confirm that he would accept the result of the election — therefore undermining the whole basis of our democracy, and perpetuating a dangerous belief among his most fervent supporters that they, too, don’t have to accept it either.

It was arguably a disqualifying moment in American politics and officially closes the book on what was very likely the worst presidential candidate in our nation’s history.

One day later, Trump doubled down on his remark (“I’ll accept the result … if I win”) and at the same time attempted to clarify by saying he wants to reserve the right to legally challenge it if it appears to be questionable.

In other words, he did what he always does —  talked himself into an even worse mess.

But anyway, now that these are done, it’s time to mentally prepare ourselves for the inevitable: President Hillary Clinton.

For many, those three words will make them gag. At best, most will shrug.

Me? I’m fine with it. And yes, I’ve read a lot of reporting on the email content that was leaked from Hillary’s aides via Wikileaks.

While there are instances of imperfect political comportment and conniving gamesmanship among her and her aides, it all amounts to one thing — Hillary Clinton is an intensely ambitious, highly studious and devoted public servant who will on occasion blur the ethical line to achieve her goal of helping people.

If that’s disqualifying to some people, then so be it.

I for one believe America will be in perfectly capable hands.