I Did Not Vote for Trump -- but I Am Willing to Give Him a Chance

On Tuesday night, I stood in an election booth in California, and for the first time since I started voting, I did not fill in the bubble for the GOP ticket. I thought about it. I second-guessed myself, but ultimately, I had to follow my heart and vote third party.

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It wasn't a light decision for me. I spent the fall of 2012 in Boston on Mitt Romney's campaign staff. I campaigned for Bush in 2000, before I was even old enough to vote for him. I'm a die-hard, red-blooded, proud Republican woman and mom, and while I didn't burn my GOP card when Trump won the nomination this summer, I couldn't vote for him.

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After I turned in my ballot and got my "I voted" sticker, I headed to a friend's house to watch the results come in, which was honestly sort of a novelty for this West Coaster, as it's usually called pretty early in the evening over here. "Be warned, I'm a die-hard Trump fan!" she told me when she invited me over. "I'm totally not, but let's do this!" I responded.

I was not expecting to feel as upbeat as I do this morning. After all, Trump is a loudmouthed, fear-mongering misogynist who I don't believe actually has a real Republican bone in his body. Honestly, as Trump took Florida and Wisconsin on election night, and it started to become clear that he would win the whole thing, what I was most excited for was the crap show that I was sure would ensue.

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When Trump took the stage to give his acceptance speech, I was almost hoping that he would give his trademark smirk, look into the camera, and channel his Apprentice persona and say, "Barack Obama, you're fired."

Instead what I heard was a really gracious and shockingly unifying speech:

I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all of Americans, and this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I'm reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country.

A little bit later, he added, "We will seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict." I didn't expect this at all from the guy I assumed would become the Gloater-in-Chief. He's not exactly a humble, gracious guy.

On Wednesday morning, I listened to first Hillary Clinton and then President Barack Obama address the nation, and was impressed by their encouraging Americans to give Trump "an open mind and a chance to lead."

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I think Trump recognized how distraught many Americans have been feeling over the way things have been going, and he tapped into that. A lot of people were and still are just plain mad, and his jerkface comments resonated. No, I don't think he's really going to try to get Mexico to build a giant wall, nor do I think he's going to deport American Muslims. I think that he recognized people being hurt by a broken system, and hopefully will take much more levelheaded and reasonable actions to address those issues.

If not, that's why we have checks and balances. To my friends who are worried about Republicans having a majority in the House and the Senate, let me remind you that Trump probably had the least support from his own party of any candidate elected in our country's history. Even the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, was openly critical of him to the point that pundits are wondering if he's still going to have his leadership position come January.

Trump does not represent all Republicans any more than he represents all Americans. Most people, even our elected officials, are decent humans beings who are just trying their best to do their best, live their lives, and help their fellow citizens. Neither Congress nor the Supreme Court are going to let Trump run a wild tyranny.

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Besides, we can rest assured that the media will be watching him like a hawk. This guy isn't going to be able to get away with anything fishy.

Twenty-four hours ago, I truly believed that Trump would be as horrible a president as Hillary would've been. I didn't have a horse in the race, and as much as I tried, I couldn't bring myself to care. But I'm hoping that the peace promoted by both Republicans and Democrats in leadership right now sticks, and America continues to be great.

We survived eight years of Obama, and eight years of Bush before that. We're going to survive Trump's presidency just fine.

And who knows? He may even surprise us. I'm looking forward to giving him the opportunity to prove us all wrong.

 

Image via iStock.com/Bastiaan Slabbers

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