Like many of you, I am astounded and horrified what our country did Tuesday.
But now we have no option but to make the best of it.
Donald Trump will be president, and to a great extent, his successes and failures will be ours.
It’s incumbent on all of us to prevent the worst possible failures. Often, that will involve vigorously opposing him. But sometimes it will involve working with him.
In particular, Americans and especially Republicans of expertise and talent and character should be encouraged to go to work in his administration.
Our president-elect is woefully unprepared for the job he is about to enter and temperamentally unsuited to it. I am more terrified of the damage he could do by accident than of what he might do on purpose. He is going to need all the expert guidance and assistance he can get.
Unfortunately, Trump’s judgment in personnel is not excellent.
You only need to look at his doctor and his lawyer to see that he does not necessarily hire “the best people.”
What Trump needs most is new, normal staff. There are thousands of jobs to fill, where people will make important choices affecting the lives and livelihoods of Americans and people all over the world. Trump’s staffing choices will only get worse if the actual best people — or even the minimally adequate people — refuse to go to work for him.
In the campaign, he tended to surround himself with an alarming array of cranks and kooks. Trump’s current inner circle proves to have had better judgment about campaign strategy than we thought, but I still believe they are disastrously equipped to run the country.
But it’s unclear whether Trump built an inner circle of cranks entirely because that was what he wanted, or because that’s who from the party was willing to be associated with him.
Will Trump really make Newt Gingrich the Secretary of State? Well, he’s more likely to do so if the relatively talented members of the Republican policy elite, who shunned him for good reason during the campaign, continue to do so.
We can even hope — not expect, but hope — that these appointees might build enough goodwill with Trump that they will be able to restrain his worst instincts.
Trump hit the right, gracious, conciliatory notes in his victory speech Wednesday morning. A lot of people have latched onto this speech in an effort to find reassurance. I even found it slightly reassuring, more so than I probably should have.
I am under no illusions that Trump’s personality is changed. Of course he was gracious — he had just won a shocking victory and had no good reason to be angry at anybody at that moment. But what little glimmer of good instincts that speech demonstrated must be found and fostered to the greatest extent possible.
“We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead,” Hillary Clinton said of Trump on Wednesday. She’s right. Trump must be resisted in the likely events he seeks to oppress minority groups and shred the Constitution — but we also need to be prepared to be surprised on the upside.
I still believe what I wrote in June: that a Trump election will create great uncertainty. It will create terrifying risks of bad tail risk outcomes — but is not inevitably going to lead to those outcomes.
Now, it’s on us to do what we can to avoid ending up in the wrong risk tail. We are, unfortunately, all in this together.
This is an editorial. The opinions and conclusions expressed above are those of the author.
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