For many of us, having Donald J. Trump as our president-elect feels like an alternate universe. Even after voting for the man, I was shocked when we won. All signs pointed to a Hillary Clinton landslide or at least that’s how the election was foretold. But we cannot blame the Trump victory and the subsequent Trump Era on the Russians. Trump is exactly what Americans wanted –the American Electorate voted for a hostile takeover.
The current post-election period exemplifies the most extreme form of organizational disruption. We are in the midst of a complete overhaul of an entity that’s on the brink of ruin where the majority either doesn’t know or refuses to admit how bad things have become. If the United States were a gigantic company, then the voters would be powerful shareholders with Hillary Clinton, the Democrat Party, and the Establishment/Elite as the existing management that repudiates change. Oftentimes, the defeated administration would rather destroy the entity than permit the new direction. Protests and riots, deleterious messaging about racism, bigotry, and white nationalism, the last ditch attempt to sway the Electoral College, and even resorting to Blame the Russians are all examples of such interference.
People who expected Clinton to win placed an emotional tag on the outcome and are now going through the neurological rejection of an alternative they never considered. Trump supporters were like bar test-takers. Bar exams have notoriously low passage rates and test-takers know they have a higher chance of not passing than passing. Their minds consider the alternatives and build up more of a resilience. When you do not consider any alternative and only will accept that one result, Clinton, you snap, reject, rebel, and refuse to adapt.
In this alternate universe, Clintonites are trying everything possible to ruin the takeover, even if it means destroying the country. Blaming the Russians remains the classic tool to harm American society because it downplays our strength and disregards the intelligence and autonomy of the American people. Clinton and Trump supporters may never reconcile because they believe in diametrically different concepts, but a failed state in America is not an option.
President-elect Trump is responsible for one of the greatest resets our country has ever experienced. The team must navigate this minefield mindfully because our country is not a company and you cannot just layoff half the country to get rid of them. Ironically, those tactics got our country to this breakpoint in the first place. This moment calls for a transformation, not a simple transition. The only way our country can survive is if we employ the most constructive change management tool: the bridge-builder.
Bridge-builders are like translators. They alleviate discomfort by using commonality to deliver change. Trump has a clear vision to “Make America Great Again,” but it is lost in translation on half of the country. In many ways, I wrote my book “Born Again Republican” for this reason –I only began to understand when I stepped outside of my comfort zone how much people fight innovation. As a DC native and as a Black woman, I had always been a Democrat and liberal, but when I ran for Congress in Maryland in the 2016 Primary, I realized that the status quo could no longer serve the needs of society. I left the Democrat Party and became an independent because: 1) I disapprove of the gerrymandering of our state because it is an injustice to the electorate, 2) the Establishment had become indifferent to the actual needs of the average citizen, and 3) I witnessed firsthand how much my former party takes Black people and voters for granted.
My new book “Born Again Republican” is about my journey and rediscovery of the Republican Party. The unease that the country feels now, I have already experienced as I fought to discover my own conservatism. Becoming a Republican again has been difficult and the vitriol I have received just gets worse as days go by. One’s party affiliation was never a major deal until this election, unless of course you are black like me. Everyone assumes that black people, particularly black women, will always be Democrats, but it hasn’t always been like this.
As Jack Kemp said, “The Republican Party would not even exist except for black Americans.” I would argue that the GOP has suffered from the absence of its mixed heritage. Race doesn’t have to be an issue, but diversity provokes the critical thinking and mindfulness needed for our transformation to succeed. Stories like mine cause people to think differently, and perhaps that is why the attacks just get harsher. Conversations need to be had, and the Trump Transformation is the perfect time to struggle through the issues we have avoided. For the sake of the Republic, we need to diversify our voices and become the bridges for real, sustainable change.
Photo by David McGregor
Liz Matory is a former Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives (MD-8), and the author of the new book, "Born Again Republican" (now available on Amazon.com). Follow her on Twitter at @LizMatory or @B_A_Republican.