Here's some breaking news: The election's over

May 2, 2017

Recently, a local columnist employed that old standby, "the five stages of grief," to explain Progressives' supposed refusal to accept the results of 2016 election.

But Progressives understand perfectly well who won the election. No one's questioning Donald Trump's Electoral College victory.

The real - and far more bewildering - story is about how President Trump and his supporters haven't gotten over the election. He's still campaigning like it's 2016. After the election, Trump launched a tour of states that voted for him.

Reaching out to states that hadn't supported him would have demonstrated a generosity of spirit, an attempt to bridge our nation's divides. Instead, he led a self-congratulatory gloat-a-rama, recapping his glory days on the campaign trail.

That endless campaign continues, most recently this weekend in Harrisburg, Pa., nearly six months after the election. I know of no other U.S. president who has engaged in such odd behavior. And no, it's not - as some say - an early start on the 2020 campaign, which would be weird anyway.

On Saturday, Trump supporters repeatedly broke out with chants of "Lock her up! Lock her up!"

They were referring, of course, to Hillary Clinton. The people chanting weren't looking forward to 2020 – no one expects Clinton to be the nominee – they were reliving the good ol' days of 2016. Sorry folks, fun's over!

Meanwhile, Trump has a hard time getting through an interview, press conference or phone call with a foreign leader without mentioning the size of his victory, which he exaggerates. Last week, during an interview with Reuters, he handed out maps illustrating the extent of his Electoral College win. Yes, Mr. President, we know. You won the election. That was last year. Now it's time to govern. Which would be easier if he weren't so hell-bent on further dividing our nation.

David Gergen, an advisor to one Democratic and three Republican presidents, including Ronald Reagan, called Trump's Saturday speech "the most divisive speech I've ever heard from a sitting American president." What's the point? We live in a time of polarized politics. Why make things worse? There is no good reason. Trump simply enjoys campaigning more than governing.

But there is some cause for optimism. Congress has apparently reached an agreement to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, averting a shutdown. In today's world that counts as a major accomplishment.

Also, Delaware's congressional delegation demonstrates that some politicians are willing to speak and work with members of the opposing party.

In January, Sen. Tom Carper, talking about the Affordable Care Act in Seaford, mentioned a congressional Bible study group that meets each Thursday. It's a small group, but both Democrats and Republicans attend and actually talk to each other outside the hothouse atmosphere of partisan politics.

Last week, Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, and Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, sponsored a bipartisan bill designed to deliver food aid more efficiently. Coons and Corker recently returned from a trip to Uganda, where they toured a camp for 274,000 refugees. Coons called it a "powerful experience."

And Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, our newly elected Democratic congresswoman, recently said she's seen signs of cooperation. Speaking at the Lewes Public Library, Blunt Rochester said freshmen members of both parties met to discuss potential areas of agreement. "People want to see us get things done," Blunt Rochester said. "This means we have to work across the aisle."

One Republican, she said, almost started to cry while recounting how his son was dating a girl who feared her family might be deported. Another Republican said he was attacked by his own party for supporting DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or "Dreamers" act.

Neither party is quite as monolithic as they sometimes appear during the daily news cycle. The key, Rochester said, is "finding common ground."

Said Rochester, "We can get stuff done and still be true to our principles."

One can hope.

Don Flood is a former newspaper editor living in Lewes. He can be reached at

  • Accomplished writers appear in the Politics column every Tuesday on a rotating basis to explore the dynamic world of politics at the local, county, state, national and world levels.

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