How to Calm Your Staff After Last Night’s Trump Upset

Trump managed to achieve an amazing upset last night, defeating Hillary Clinton with 279 electoral votes to her 218. And this morning, Clinton supporters are freaking out–if my Facebook page is representative of the rest of the world.

I’ve seen “Welcome to the Fourth Reich” and “My husband and I will be out of work in less than a year.” If your staff is having post-election anxiety, here’s what to consider.

The President Isn’t a Dictator

While the current president has more power than James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay wrote about in The Federalist, he’s not a dictator and he can’t make himself one. Congress and the courts and (quite obviously after this election) the people all have a say in what happens in this country. The president cannot force legislation through.

To keep reading, click here: How to Calm Your Staff After Last Night’s Trump Upset

I should have posted this earlier, but frankly, I am so freakishly tired of this election I couldn’t make myself do this.

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28 thoughts on “How to Calm Your Staff After Last Night’s Trump Upset

  1. I was reminded of the SNL skit on the election results reading this. I have come to the conclusion that the ones most complaining are from the generation who never experienced losing as any competition resulted in everyone winning a trophy for just being part of team. So they assumed that adult life would be more of the same, so they’re voting for a specific political figure means their person wins. They fail to see that the world is many with multiple ideas. I am quite sure that after any presidential election,the losing side feels bad, but life goes on. I have voted in at least 5-6 presidential elections and sometimes my choices weren’t elected but what counted was that I voted and my voice was heard. This is the message to get from voting

    1. It’s more than that. I’m from an older generation and have experienced plenty of loss. There are genuine grounds for concern over the results of this election that have nothing to do with being a sore loser.

    2. I have voted in 5 presidential elections since 2000, so I do know what it’s like to lose, including losing the electoral college but winning the popular vote. This is different because of the man who won. Had it been Jeb, or Rubio, or Kasich, you would not see this level of concern. Trump has truly brought out the worst in american society. Not that everyone who voted for him was bad – many have legit concerns – but you cannot put him in the same basket as other sane, compassionate republicans like Bush, McCain, Romney. He stands apart (and not in a good way)

    3. My first vote for President was in 1988. I’ve been on the losing side quite a bit. This feels very different to me, so I wouldn’t put people’s reactions down to “those crazy kids”

      I’m not a fan of stereotyping Millenials to begin with, but it seems particularly misplaced here.

    4. I’m 67 and have voted in many presidential elections. This one was very different. It’s not just that Trump won, it’s more about a electorate that believe complete inexperience, ignorance, contempt for others, and bullying do not disqualify a candidate from our nation’s highest office. I and others I work with are less ashamed of Trump than with his constituents. It doesn’t feel like the country that reveres the office of president anymore. And that saddens us far more than just the loss of an election.

    5. That seems off-base. Many of us have plenty of experience with losing an election. We are really worried about losing the rights of women and minorities, the loss of health care for millions, the denial of climate change, the possibility of war. I am not exaggerating but just taking him at his word from the campaign trail.

  2. While I agree that the world isn’t ending, I think it’s also important to understand why some people have legitimate concerns, and not to dismiss those. I don’t think everyone who voted for Trump is a racist, but some are, and they have certainly been emboldened. In my city, there was an attack downtown on an african immigrant by a Trump supporter in broad daylight. My husband, who also happens to be an immigrant originally from Africa, walks through that area every day. Am I overreacting to be afraid for him? There have been swastikas and racial epithets drawn on local schools and churches. Thankfully our daughter is too young to understand, but yes, we feel unsafe (and this is in a blue state and urban area. I have friends in red states who have even more horrifying stories).
    I know climate scientists working for the federal government who have legitimate concerns about keeping their jobs. Folks working in education in red states will likely be affected – at the state level, Republicans have in the past decade fired many teachers and reduced funding for higher education.
    Finally, some people actually LIKE the ACA and would be negatively affected by a repeal. I know a number of people (including a close family member) who were able to quit their jobs to be self-employed because of the ACA. They are worried about their future.
    Will everyone who is worried be affected in the long run? Probably not, but it is normal for people to be thinking about and planning for outcomes that may affect them. Employers shouldn’t be dismissive of that. I know my employer is working on plans for some possible effects of the administration (I am at a private research university and some of our funding will likely be affected, although thankfully not mine) and on health insurance.

  3. EHRL, please stop. Really. People who are scared are scared because they have been specifically targeted and continue to be targets of nasty nasty rhetoric and behaviors. I am terrified for one of my children with good reason. In a part of the country with a high African American population there is fear, surface politeness but total distrust. Bosses should not be trying to reassure. It’s none of their business. If staff aren’t working appropriately than address that. But don’t tell those who have good reason to be afraid that everything will be fine. Because it hasn’t been historically. It really hasn’t.

    1. Seriously. I just saw that someone painted “Kill blacks” on a local ELEMENTARY school. But I’m supposed to not worry about my family? This is sickening.

    2. People are scared for real reasons. I’m not sure I will live through this because of my health and changes in Medicare. I would really like to live in Switzerland like EHRL.

  4. Let me attempt to reassure everyone; it’s only climate change no big deal it will fall on later generations, a known racist will only be appointed Trump’s chief strategist, only maybe 15-20 million people will be back to having no health care, we’ll only privatize medicare and medicaid which are amongst the most efficient government programs so insurers and pharmaceutical companies can reap huge rewards, we won’t miss those endangered species anyway, and we finally get rid of that pesky separation of church and state. What is there to be concerned about?….

    1. You’re very close. We’ll save tons on food stamps after poor people die from lack of care. Unemployment will be much less when we draft all the young men to fight ISIS.

  5. Well. This is the last time I’ll read this blog. Sheesh. You all act like Trump is going to turn the US into Nazi Germany or something. He’s going to the be President but he doesn’t get to be a dictator. The checks and balances system that the founding fathers put it place will finally be working again. Do you honestly think that because Trump won that its suddenly going to become OK for people to riot in the streets? To assault each other? Oh wait… that’s happening now… and hey, it’s the Clinton supporters doing it. Whatdya know.

  6. This post looks like it’s published a few days late. Just after the election we might have hoped (in a crossed fingers way) that people would settle down and live their lives, that Trump would surround himself with a team that would coach him on good governance, and that the nasty campaign rhetoric would turn out to be just talk, as is so often the case. Can we give EHRL the benefit of the doubt that the evidence of events taking a more negative turn may not have come in yet when this was written?

  7. ..and then there are people’s concerns about what happens to their health care with one party – that has promised to kill or gut the ACA – in charge of all three branches of government. Certainly, there are plenty of folks who would be pleased by that outcome, but it’s a frightening prospect for many others.

    Politics aside, I have found that telling someone who’s upset to “just calm down!” rarely results in them actually calming down. I wonder if suggestions for navigating conflict in the workplace in such a heated election season might not have been a more helpful approach to take.

    1. Obviously from the comments here this was a heated topic. But I agree that an article on EAP, conflict resolution or even grief counseling would have been better. My significant other and I have been legit depressed the past week. Like, getting out of bed and even deciding what to eat are a struggle. Telling someone who is grieving to “buck up!” is never appropriate, and we need to recognize that, like it or not, about 1/3 of the country is grieving right now.

    2. You are right. This has become so personal to all of us, on both sides. How do you handle it when someone insists on telling you their political positions in detail when you completely disagree? We’re not going to calm down any time soon. Yet a good boss could try to set the tone that no matter our politics we’re going to continue to respect each other, keep politics out of it, and still work together for the goals of our company.

  8. I wish I could talk about this at work. One of my coworkers who never follows the news and didn’t follow the election was crying in the office because of Trump.

    I went to a huge anti-Trump rally and the only signs I saw were “not my president” and “pussy comment” signs. It was very disappointed.

    I want to make a new “Peter Principle” for election talk this year. Talk about politics until you rise to your level of ignorance, and then scream “racist!” You want to tell someone about how you hate Trump, but you don’t know anything about corporate or personal taxes? When they get to the tax part say “but he is a racist.” Rinse and repeat with gun control or immigration or healthcare of the VA.

    I am not 100% on either side with many of the ISSUES, but one thing that has been extremely lacking at work, and in the protests, are ISSUES. The protest I saw was the worst protest I’ve ever been too. No issues. Just “I hate Trump” by a bunch of college students.

    Which will lead to some generational stereotypes. We never heard the word “misogynistic” until SJWs took it over a few years ago. I can’t tell you how many younger millenials (under 28ish I would say) get so self righteous about misogyny and “racism” when you’re trying to talk about specific, other issues. What is that? Is that how you argue when you know nothing? Is that the new “Sorry, I’m not up to date on that topic? Or is it the result of liberal education that leads one to believe that everything is racist?

    As per the healthcare concerns mentioned here, try buying Obamacare. You most likely can’t afford it. So it doesn’t really matter whether it exists or not if you can’t even buy it.

    1. Please avoid baseless generalizations. I’m an epidemiologist, and I know more about how insurance and health care works than most folks in this country. I can tell you that what Trump has promised – low premiums, great care, no mandate, and no restrictions on coverage for those with pre-existing conditions – is not possible unless he is willing to implement cost controls (which I’m not necessarily against, but Ryan and co. are really going to hate).
      And my brother and several friends DO have Obamacare.
      But I could actually forgive policy differences. What I can’t forgive is bigotry, and while not all Trump supporters are bigots, he certainly is.

    2. I’m not sure what you want to discuss at work. You don’t really know if your coworker follows the news. Work is not a place for these types of discussions. It’s for getting work done. You sound more like you want to pick a fight. Your statements about racism, misogyny, and ignorance have no place in the workplace.

  9. Trump wasn’t called a bigot, a racist, or anything else UNTIL he ran against a Democrat.

    THAT fact tells us a lot; such as name calling is what some news media outlets, politicians, and even some individuals are good at – and not much else.

    Yep, call me “deplorable,” “bitter clinger,” and other such stupid names, give the middle finger to your opponent, tell me that you’ve never been proud of your country until it does something for YOU, praise street thugs while ignoring the death of great Americans, tell me that at some point I’ve earned enough while making health insurance unaffordable, killing jobs while lying to me that the economy is getting better, make statements like the “cops acted stupidly”, lie to the American public even when the truth would be better, be a rapist enabler, cuss out and demean the very public servants whose duty it is to protect YOUR life, complain to me that your side still needs to be heard after losing the election; but, 4 and 8 years ago it was all “Na Na, I won you lost,” etc. etc. etc. I will keep my mouth shut – then vote against you in the voting booth.

    Aint’ Democracy grand!

    1. Actually he was, many times, starting in the 70s when he was sued by Nixon’s administration for housing discrimination.

    2. Nobody called you anything. If anyone calls you a deplorable at work, ask them to please stop. Otherwise I’m not sure what your point is.

  10. EHRL,

    Well, as you can see from the comments, some very real fear!

    All I can do is sit back, keep my fingers crossed that it won’t be that bad, wish nothing but the best to ‘everyone’ in the US, and be glad I live in Canada!

  11. EHRL,

    While I hate to be “that person” who brings up privilege, I feel like I nonetheless have to say that your suggestions for dealing with the election are ignorant and, well…privileged.

    It’s easy for a white person, especially easy for cis-gendered, straight, Christian white males – to go back to their daily lives post-election. It’s easy for them to generally ignore politics as a whole, to not care. Why? Because they’re generally not going to be affected by it. Likewise, it’s easy for you to say that, “tomorrow will be just another day,” because of your privilege – because it really *will* be just another day for you.

    However, that is not the case for many, many people.

    As some of the above comments have already pointed out, violence against minorities has significantly increased since Trump was elected. People really are fearing for their lives and for the lives of their children. What if there was threatening, anti-American abuse spray-painted on the school your child went to? What if other children started picking on your child, saying that because of the new president people like him will have to move back to where they came from? What if while on public transportation, a man out-of-the-blue groped you saying that “these belong to me now” because “Trump said so”? These are examples of REAL things that have happened to people in America. How would you feel if they happened to you?

    No one can argue that Trump isn’t a racist, sexist, etc. etc. So if someone has the ability to overlook that, to vote for him DESPITE all that, then they’re privileged. And, you know what, they’re also likely unconsciously biased, and thus a little racist. Sure, they would never say something racist out loud (hopefully), but they have shown through their actions that the basic safety of minorities is less important to them than their own needs, say, for economic change. If someone can be as publicly racist as Trump and STILL get that many votes to win the presidency, then yes, 50% of the country absolutely is racist. Maybe it’s more racist than we thought.

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