Minnich: The vote was about us

Pundits stayed up late Tuesday and were at it again early Wednesday analyzing and explaining what the election results mean.

Most of the chat was about the changes in balance of power in the House and the spread of division in the Senate. But as Massachusetts politician Tip O’Neill said many years ago, “All politics is local,” so for me the big headline was that Carroll County voters ousted a judge backed by the local Republican powers and replaced him with a woman who happens to be a Democrat.


That, in my view, is a microcosm of the national story.

Women showed up. Young Democrats and Independents showed up — in Carroll County, in Maryland, across the nation. And they stood up for civility and common sense and collaborative leadership.

In the days leading up to Tuesday’s vote, President Donald Trump, head of the Republican Party, said it was all about him. “A vote for [what’s-his-name] is a vote for me,” he pronounced as he rolled through comfortable country speaking to the faithful base that has been both his refuge and his excuse.

But from where I sit, the vote was all about us, and the results reflect who we are and how we will be identified on the world stage. It was about the essential American idea of fairness and tolerance, and making room at the table.

Early on, as a candidate, the man who was voted to the presidency of the nation of law and order said he could shoot someone in the middle of Times Square and people would still vote for him. Incredibly, people still voted for him. Some voted for him because he said it.

Is that who we are?

He told a guy that if you’re a celebrity like him you can kiss women and grab their genitals and get away with it. And he won anyway and kept on eliminating respectable established Republican candidates in the 2016 primaries.

Is that who we are?

Up until Tuesday, the answer seemed to be yes.

Apparently enough people thought so to let him win the Republican nomination and go on to win the presidency. More than a dozen GOP candidates fell by the wayside as this narcissistic, crude, reckless man ascended to the office of executive of what had been the most respected – if not loved — nation in the world.

People were caught on camera admitting that they like him because he talks just like them. That he says what they think, and shares their — what? Values?

As of Monday, there were still 240 kids still separated from parents at the border because of his no-tolerance immigration policy.

Trump wins kudos from fans for defending thugs and killers and pardoning others while trying to sic the dogs on the news media and anyone who criticizes him.

Is this who we are? Tuesday’s vote addressed that question. The women of America have had enough. Youth has been energized. The old white guard should take note.


It was obvious from the swell of candidates running as Democrats or independents that not everyone wants to be tarred with a dirty brush. Young people and others who never got involved in politics before worked hard, hit the streets, knocked on doors, manned the phones, mailed fliers to turn aside the ugly swell of racism, xenophobia, fear and hatred that has so gleefully been adopted by what has been called the new Republican base.

The good news is that the voters showed they want balanced, bipartisan government. When the House went to the Democrats, Trump and the 36 percent who would still support him were denied a victory that would have emboldened right wing tendencies that could have led to a dictatorship.

That’s who we are. I was beginning to wonder, but I feel better today. A little better, anyway.

But don’t turn your backs on the absolutists on the right.