Looking around the ballroom, the first thing you notice is the lack of regalia – no tuxes, no flowing gowns, no shiny footwear, no clinking jewels.
Nor should there be, for this is the Inaugural Consolation Ball for the people of Not Trump Nation.
There is nothing to celebrate for them – for us – when into the Oval Office strides meanness and venality in the place of grace and dignity.
It’s bad. But some things about the Inaugural Consolation Ball are quite heartening.
One thing is how many people are there – nearly 65.8 million, the number who voted for Hillary Clinton (contrasted with the winning 62.9 million for you-know-who).
And something about all those not-Trump voters:
A whole bunch weren’t interested in dancing when the inauguration rolled around. They were interested in marching – hundreds of thousands in Washington, D.C., hundreds of thousands in the nation’s capitals, hundreds of thousands overseas.
The Women’s March in Washington looked to be one of the largest political protests in our history.
No consolation, I know, but keep looking at the facts and the numbers:
Some observers are saying that this was one of those historic, old-fashioned GOP political routs. Not true.
The Democrats claimed two additional seats in the U.S. Senate – meaning Republicans were actual net losers. The Dems added House seats.
The GOP also could not prevent the Congressional Black Caucus from growing to its greatest number ever: 49.
(And let’s say that, based on Trump’s sandbox blast at civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis, this is not the beginning of a beautiful friendship.)
Not Trump Nation flipped control of four state legislative chambers (the New Mexico House, Nevada Assembly and Senate, and Washington Senate) compared to three for the GOP.
Continuing the theme of a rout that wasn’t:
In the very red state of Texas, Trump won by 600,000 votes – a tremendous shift, and not in the GOP’s favor. Four years ago Mitt Romney beat President Obama there by 1.2 million.
In very red Arizona, Trump won by 91,000 compared to Romney’s 208,000-vote margin.
Speaking of Arizona, one of the guests of honor at our Inaugural Consolation Ball is Paul Penzone. You may not have heard of him, but you probably have heard of Joe Arpaio, the profiling, rights-trampling demagogue Penzone ousted as sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County.
Joining Penzone at our consolation ball is Stephanie Murphy, the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to Congress. The Democrat said she was driven to run for Congress by the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. She won in Florida’s 7th District.
Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto, who held on to Harry Reid’s Senate seat for the Democrats, became the first Latina senator and boosted the ranks of Latino lawmakers in Congress to 38.
That’s not all that was heartening for progressives Nov. 8.
Voters endorsed stronger gun laws in three of the four states where they were on the ballot. The minimum wage was raised in Colorado, Arizona, Maine and Washington.
You see, a lot of progressive notions and candidates succeeded in that Election Day conservative rout that wasn’t.
Of course, dire straits for progressive policies are self-evident with GOP control of Congress, with the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act in favor of a conservative cliff-dive.
Yes, things couldn’t be worse, except for indicators like the independent emails I have received from people who plan to march – in the nation’s capital, and their state capitals – to protest.
None has even done this before. All say the Trump presidency has moved him or them off their comfy sofas.
No shiny shoes at the Inauguration Consolation Ball; instead, footwear for marching.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado.