Column

It’s Okay to Be a Sore Winner

Never let Trump supporters forget what kind of man they voted for

A young girl wearing face mask sits on top of her dad’s shoulders at a protest, holding a sign that says “TRUMP IS OVER.”
A young girl wearing face mask sits on top of her dad’s shoulders at a protest, holding a sign that says “TRUMP IS OVER.”
A demonstration at the Black Lives Matter Plaza in front of the White House on November 6. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

As Donald Trump loses the presidency — kicking and screaming like a dictatorial toddler — there will be calls for Democrats to take the high road and be gracious and kind winners. Please ignore that advice. Good sportsmanship is for soccer games and high school debate clubs, not a presidential election where the incumbent is threatening not to cede power.

The president of the United States trying to criminally hold onto a presidency that is no longer his come January isn’t even in the top 10 of horrific actions Trump has taken during his time at the White House. This is a man, with the power of the executive office behind him, who separated children from their parents and detained them in filthy conditions; over 500 of those children may never be able to reunite with their families. Trump has stoked racist violence, rolled back rights for LGBT Americans, and contributed to the deaths of over 235,000 people through his incompetence and spite.

We all know I could list dozens more equally horrifying policies and comments from the president because he is an objectively immoral person and his tenure has been one defined by its cruelty to others. So why would we do anything other than celebrate his defeat in the loudest, most resoundingly delighted way possible?

Joe Biden’s win isn’t just about joy and relief at the defeat of a monster, but an aggressive rebuke of everything Trump and his supporters stand for. That’s not something that can be done quietly. (Just ask the thousands of Americans who took to the streets in celebration when the final call was made announcing Biden as the president-elect.)

Democrats — be they politicians or voters — need to stop pretending that adhering to some imaginary idea of civility is what sets us apart from Trump and his supporters. What sets us apart is morality; politeness isn’t necessary to be good, and in fact, can make getting good things done harder.

So gloat if you want to. Post that Facebook status relishing in Trump’s loss. Call your racist relative to rub it in. In the same way that anyone who worked for or in the Trump administration should never be able to walk down the street or eat in a restaurant in peace again, nor should the voters that enabled his bigotry and bile be allowed to forget who and what they voted for. Trump supporters, the “fuck your feelings” crowd who have yelled that the left are “snowflakes” for trying to hold on to basic human rights, should be able to take it.

Don’t worry about cautions against feeding into polarization: Gleeful takedowns of a wannabe despot aren’t going to hurt the country; that’s what Republicans did every time they broke a political norm or rolled back human rights. If anything, those on the left have been too careful about the way they talk about Trump and his ilk.

Leave the diplomacy to the new Biden-Harris administration. The rest of us can have our moment.

Feminist author & columnist. Native NYer, pasta enthusiast.

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