Political Victory

By Graham Glover

Political victory. What is it? What does it look like? Does anybody (especially in America) ever really achieve it?

Did the Republicans achieve it last November? Donald Trump won the presidency, but does this mean he is politically victorious? He won an election, and his party maintains control of both chambers of Congress, but how much does that really mean in today’s political context? (See the inability for the White House and Congress to make any headway on the healthcare bill.)

Conservatives seem elated over several rulings this week by the Supreme Court. Cases are finally going our way, their supporters say. One could argue that conservative jurisprudence is now victorious (and may be more so in the future, with talks of Anthony Kennedy’s imminent retirement, and another suspected conservative appointee by President Trump). But is this true? Is America now a conservative nation, that favors conservative interpretations of the Constitution and our laws?

In America, no matter who wins an election, the losing side never seems to fully concede the political outcome. It’s not as simple as a sports game. Last night, I watched my alma mater win their first national championship in baseball. There was no doubt after the game that the Florida Gators had beaten the Tigers of L.S.U. Victory clearly belongs to the Gator Nation.

But political victory isn’t always so apparent. Just a few days after President Trump was inaugurated in January, millions of women marched in protest on Washington, D.C. and throughout the rest of country (and even in other cities around the world). That Donald Trump and the Republicans won at the ballot box was not enough to deter his opponents from flexing their political muscles. Somebody might win an election, but this doesn’t mean the other side must like it, or in some cases, accept it.

So then, what does political victory look like? More to the point, is political victory even possible?

I’m not convinced it is and I think this is ok. Partisans and ideologues may recoil at such a statement, but I think our constant political flux is exactly what makes America work.

This isn’t to say we should reject political outcomes (Trump is my president, as well as every other citizen of these United States). But if you don’t like the result, there’s no reason to be quiet. The debate should continue – as vocal and vehement as you want to make it.

In our American experiment, political victory is always tenuous. It’s never lasting. And this is a good thing. Democratic republics survive because of this.

So, keep at it my fellow Americans. Keep the debate going. Keep the political activism alive. For such is the beauty of being an American.