As a former supporter of Bernie Sanders who fully boarded the "Trump Train" after the Democratic National Convention, I could not be happier about the election outcome – and I hope that those who are disappointed will get on board to begin working together to improve our nation.
As I stood outside the White House following news that Hillary Clinton had called Donald Trump to concede, I watched as people who were heartbroken over their candidate's loss screamed in the faces of anyone wearing a red MAGA hat. The protesters tearfully accused those who voted against the potential first female president of being sexist, racist, bigoted, uneducated... with the same disdain and condescension that may have cost the Democratic candidate the election in the first place.
What those on the left are not willing to see is that most Trump supporters are not racist. We want the same things many of them do – jobs, affordable healthcare, and for our families to be safe – we just disagree on the methods of achieving these things.
There is a good reason why Trump was opposed so hard by the most war-hungry Republicans, and it isn't just that he said mean things. John McCain for example, one of those decrying Trump the loudest, once reportedly called his wife the c-word in front of reporters and said she wears her makeup "like a trollop." These politicians did not hate Trump because they care about women, it was because he is not a typical Republican, who are willing to push whatever agenda they are told to.
A good example that sticks out in my mind is that unlike many elite Republican insiders, Trump has supported gay rights for at least the past 16 years. This man even managed to get the Republican Party to applaud – loudly – for the LGBT community at the Republican National Convention. As I stood in the audience on that day, the change in this party moved me to tears.
Clinton, however, was publicly against gay marriage until 2013.
One of the most important issues to supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders was the Trans Pacific Partnership. Only two candidates in this race had firmly stood against it, and one of them was Trump.
Another thing I have consistently heard is that Trump will bring us to war, despite his largely non-interventionist stances. Clinton's views on Russia could lead to war, while Trump has argued that we should attempt to keep peace. If these stances were reversed and handed to me in a game of "pick the party" five years ago, I would have lost.
As Secretary of State, Clinton's poor judgement and priorities left a trail of chaos and devastation in Haiti, Libya, Honduras, and seemingly anywhere else she touched.
The actual moment when my opinion changed about Trump, even if I was not fully ready to wear one of his red hats, was during an interview with the Washington Post editorial board.
"I watched as we built schools in Iraq and they're blown up. We build another one, we get blown up. We rebuild it three times and yet we can't build a school in Brooklyn. We have no money for education because we can't build in our own country. At what point do you say, 'Hey, we have to take care of ourselves?' So, I know the outer world exists and I'll be very cognisant of that. But at the same time, our country is disintegrating, large sections of it, especially the inner cities," Trump told the Washington Post.
It was a statement that in any other election year, with any other candidates, I would have expected from the left.
Clinton was proud of her hawkish and aggressive ways, and that is terrifying.
If Clinton had won this election, the left would have been telling the Democratic Party that they do not need to change their ways – that they can be as corrupt and hawkish as they please and they can still count on your votes as long as they give you someone to hate and fear. By losing this round, in 2020 the Democrats will want to work for your vote, and they will have no choice but to nominate someone who shares their voters' values – Tulsi Gabbard or Nina Turner perhaps.
Maybe though, Trump will win everyone over. He wants to be liked, and it's probable that he will do his best to keep our population happy and proud of our President. If not, unlike Clinton, at least we know that he will be held accountable.
Cassandra Fairbanks is a DC-based writer and political commentator who has been published in a range of outlets covering the 2016 election including Sputnik News, Teen Vogue, TeleSUR, and Bipartisan Report. She is also a partner at Subverse.net.