President McCain could have prevented all of this
What if we weren’t ready for an African American president?
Good friend of the blog, the column, all-around smart guy, political savant, and absolute mensch, David Blatt, has a hypothetical for you:
A post-election-anniversary thought experiment. Many believe that there could never have been the election of our white nationalist President Donald Trump except as a backlash to the election of black President Barack Obama. So, knowing where we find ourselves now, if you could go back to Election night 2008 and change history so that John McCain is elected President — and in the process be guaranteed Donald Trump would not be elected eight years later — would you?
A fabulous question, methinks, for it speaks to the shelf-life of America’s resilience, racism, and patience. It’s also a difficult question because, even if you’re inclined to take the deal, a couple of rogue Squamous cells break free from John McCain’s cancerous nose and we’re looking at President Sarah Palin. Nevertheless, to keep the existential danger of the current occupant out the Oval Office, would I have taken a McCain win over Obama to prevent President Trump?
As wonderful as Obama was — as transformative — the country needed the Affordable Care Act less than it didn’t need Donald Trump getting on and off Air Force One. McCain, on his worst days, is better than Trump on his best — and Trump doesn’t have a lot of those. The country is built to withstand bad presidents — it survived George W. Bush, it survived Hoover, it survived Nixon, it survived Grant, but Trump is different, existentially so, in part because he’s incurious and in part, not to put too fine a point on this, because he’s nuts. John McCain is and was an honorable man and the country doesn’t unravel under his presidency, no matter how much you would have disagreed with his policies, for he wouldn’t have thrown alms to white supremacists or given Steve Bannon office space. With McCain as president, someone like Barack Obama, maybe even Obama himself, comes again — maybe in 2016, maybe in 2020. With Trump as president, someone like Roy Moore does.
Operators are standing by.