"It's over. He won. Deal with it," a Facebook responder replied to a comment about the message the cast of Hamilton delivered to Vice-President-elect Pence on Friday night. Trump won the election. So, the implication is, I guess, that neither he nor Pence ever need to deal with any protest. Case closed. Following that logic, the cast of Hamilton was out of line when they gathered on stage to remind the vice-president-elect, an audience member, that many Americans are worried about their rights and to be sure to govern for all. Trump thought so. "Apologize!" he tweeted. In seizing the occasion to send a frank and professional message, however, spokesperson Brandon Victor Dixon and the cast were doing exactly what the comment author recommended: deal with the election. After all, deal-with-it is an equal opportunity obligation.
Yes, Trump won the Electoral College. He will be president. His administration will presumably try to enact some form of the measures he proclaimed during the campaign. Those who voted against Trump do have to deal-with-it. One part of that is reconciliation to the reality. There will be no major do-over for four years; in two years, at the mid-term elections, there’s a chance to mitigate the pervasive power Trump was given. The other part of deal-with-it, however, is action people will take in the face of Trump administration legislation and executive action. Citizens have a repsonsibility to make the opposing voice heard. People must remind their fellow citizens of their shared values. They must proclaim their inalienable rights under the Consitution, and they must speak out against any actions that mean to impose limits on those rights. Deal-with-it strategies need to be lawful, peaceful, articulate, and respectful. Deal-with-it in the community of voters who did not support Trump involves vigilance and action as much as it does acceptance.
Trump and his administration have several realities to accept as well. First, they did not win the popular vote. They have to deal-with that. More Americans voted against Trump than for him. So, the administration starts with a lot of discontent and fear. It can expect challenge and opposition. Democracy depends on the dissenting opinion. Second, Trump has to deal with the fallout from the vicious campaign he orchestrated. He chose to insult and degrade Mexicans, Muslims, women, fellow Republicans, and, really, anyone who disagreed with him on any given day. His intentions to deport millionsof undocumented migrants, and to prevent Muslims from entering the UnitedStates are recorded in his own words. Now, having given people permission to be hateful and having modelled vulgarity and degradation, Trump and his surrogates have to live with the consequences. (This is an immutable truth, my mother would say: Quand tu craches en l'air, ça te retombe sur le nez, literally translated as, When you spit in the air, it falls back on your nose.) His administration will have to deal with the violence that arises from hate. Trump also has to expect that the communities he disparaged are watching and vocal. In addition, Trump also fabricated « truth » throughout the campaign. That trend has continued post-election. Trump can expect that people will deal with that trend by calling out those lies. To deal with his election, people will let Trump know what they think of his words and actions.
Deal-with-it, then, is not a maxim that applies only to the losers. The Trump administration-in-waiting must deal with the effects of the hate sown during the campaign, as well as challenges, criticism, or protest. It can also expect publicized fact-checks of its statements. The powerful message that the cast of Hamilton delivered to Vice-President-elect Pence is only one such manifestation of deal-with-it.