EDITORIAL

Editorial: President Trump (it’s true)

The Detroit News

A bitter — and bizarre — presidential election ends with Donald Trump as 45th president of the United States. We congratulate Trump on a hard-fought victory, and wish him, for the good of the nation, huge success.
His somewhat surprising surge to victory — among others, winning battleground state Ohio by double digits — tells us a few things.

Republican president-elect Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown early Wednesdya morning.

First, the country may have just gone through a divisive election, but voters were clear in their message: They want change in Washington, and they don’t trust the establishment to deliver it. More specifically, voters didn’t trust sending Democrat Hillary Clinton to the White House would change anything about the nation’s trajectory.

From the beginning of her campaign, Clinton was viewed as dishonest and untrustworthy, and reports about her mishandling of classified emails cemented that reputation.

Many will question Trump’s ability to lead the country, and they have good reason to doubt his judgement and temperament, given his antics during the campaign. On Monday, President Barack Obama told an Ann Arbor crowd that the “fate of our democracy” depends on who succeeds him. He clearly didn’t intend for it to be Trump.

We recognize Trump’s flaws, but we are confident our democracy will survive his presidency. The nation is strong.

Trump has a Herculean job ahead of him in bringing the country together and restoring rationality to its politics.

The 2016 presidential race rubbed the nation raw. Now the hard work begins of trying to heal divides that have only deepened during the course of the campaign.

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Trump waged a cage fight of highly personal attacks and vicious rhetoric, and their words will have a lasting impact on the people. They bore the distinction of being the most disliked candidates ever to face off in a presidential race.

The tenor of their campaigning infected the electorate.

An ABC News poll last week found that 97 percent of both Clinton supporters and Trump backers said they detested the rival candidate. And in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released ahead of the election, roughly half of the electorate said they wouldn’t be comfortable with or prepared to support the new president.

This election served to split Americans along race, gender and income lines, even more than they were before the cycle began.

Democratic pollster Fred Yang, who helped conduct the WSJ/NBC poll, told the Wall Street Journal the “post-election period could be as divisive and bitter as the campaign itself.”

Coming together will be difficult, if not impossible. Yet the country is built on a tradition of peaceful transition of power. We hope it will be the same this time.

While the election was fought on hard partisan lines, the new president will need to govern from the middle. Trump has made the job of unification harder for himself with a barrage of personal attacks, bullying, and racist and sexist comments. Trump needs to prove to the nation he is worthy of the office and the respect of a nation.

That will mean, for one thing, abiding by the separation of powers and returning to collaborative governing with Congress. The corrosive practice of pushing through major policy initiatives by executive order must come to an end. It contributes greatly to the feeling of disenfranchisement by the citizenry.

We come out of this election as divided as we’ve been in 150 years. To advance, America must bridge its divides and focus on the future.

Clinton fueled the hatred with her degrading comments about Trump supporters, calling them a “basket of deplorables.” Certainly, not all of them are, and in fact many reluctantly supported Trump because there was no way they could vote for Clinton. Her supporters may be disappointed with the outcome of the election, but they need to honor the results.

It is naive to think that we will ever be unanimous in our political views. Nor should we be. Vigorous dissent and political debate are essential to democracy.

But there is too much smugness and intolerance on both sides of the political aisle. The notion that compromise is a bad word has taken root, and it has become an obstacle to finding solutions to the difficult challenges facing the nation.

Today, we must choose as a people to let optimism prevail and give this new president a chance.

A president alone can not put us back together. We have to do that ourselves.