The aftermath of the 2016 elections
“AFTERMATH: Sixteen Writers on Trump’s America” is an article that appears in ‘The New Yorker’, a collection to a series of articles in response to the election of Donald Trump to the White House and what his presidency could potentially mean for the country. The series of articles, published on November 21st, 2016 are authored by sixteen writers, some of whom include Toni Morrison, Hilary Mantel, Jeffrey Toobin and Atul Gawande.
Generally, the collection of articles was a reflection of the overall feelings and expectations held by many Americans towards the presidency of Trump. The first article, titled “A Democratic Opposition”, by George Packer, begins by making a reference to the Watergate Scandal, where then President, Richard Nixon, was revealed to have abused his power by using government instruments to hide financial wrongdoings and lie to the public about the war in Vietnam(Packer, Gawande and Mantel). The article further talks about Nixon could have easily gotten away with the wrongdoings but democratic institutions and public opinion kept him in check. In the article, Packer draws a comparison between Nixon and Trump, indicating that Trump could violate the constitution through means like torturing terrorist suspects and killing their next of kin (Packer, Gawande and Mantel). Packer also points that partisan advantages and weakening of institutions that stopped Nixon will help Trump violate the constitution.
In “Health of the Nation”, Gawande talks of the mismatch between Trump and his solutions and the American fundamental values, noting that for instance, abolition of Obamacare will worsen the rising costs of health (Packer, Gawande and Mantel). In “Bryant Park: A Memoir”, Mantel discusses Trump’s brutality and his disappointment on Trump’s election, drawing on his personal experiences. In “Four-Cornered Flyover”, Hessler discusses the important role played by the simple-looking state of Colorado in Trump’s election, using anecdotal evidence (Packer, Gawande and Mantel). Toni Morrison’s “Mourning For Whiteness”is a discussion of the perpetration of hate by White Americans against Black Americans, since they feel blacks pose a threat. Morrison explores why these white voters voted for Donald Trump, indicating that most voted for him because he was an expression of their fears of the decline of white superiority (Packer, Gawande and Mantel). Jane Mayer’s “The Dark-Money Cabinet”, the irony is drawn that the corrupt people he swore to remove from government are also his largest supporters, like the Koch brothers. The rest of the articles continue to provide their criticisms of Trump’s persona and demeanor, his campaign, his upcoming presidency and a contrast between him and outgoing President, Barack Obama (Packer, Gawande and Mantel).
Most of the work in this collection of articles uses anecdotal references by the writers, which help them easily present arguments and discussions that most Americans find relatable. Most of the writers adopt a two-sided approach the topic about Trump’s election, although a significant portion of the articles are an expression of distaste and dissatisfaction with his election as President.
Most of the articles mainly appeal to non-racist white Americans and people of color, since many of the articles empathize on the threat Trump’s presidency has on the liberties of the people of color and the American public in general. It is for this same reason that the articles could be taken negatively by white, conservative Americans.
Packer, Gawande and Mantel. “Aftermath: Sixteen Writers on Trump’s America.” 21 November 2016. The New Yorker. 1 December 2016.