In conservative upstate New York an alternative inauguration party will hail the fact that 3 million more people voted for Clinton as defiance spreads nationwide
On the evening of 20 January, just a few hours after the former host of Celebrity Apprentice has taken the oath of office to become the 45th president of the United States, about 80 people in the tiny snowbound town of Saranac Lake in heavily conservative upstate New York will gather for an inauguration party.
The event is being billed as a celebration, a chance to rejoice in the electoral victory that saw their political ideals prevail. Food and drink will flow freely, musicians from across the area will perform. The Stars and Stripes will be flown to denote the deep patriotism of the event. And then at the height of the night the carousers will participate in a rendition of Leonard Cohens Hallelujah, with lyrics specially rewritten for the occasion.
Trump said hed make us great again
But we dont even trust the man
He lies and cheats and tries to foster anger
As the lyrics suggest, the party will not be honoring the electoral victory of the newly enshrined President Trump. On the contrary, Saranac Lakes Alternative Inauguration Party will mark the defeat of Donald Trumps brand of anti-establishment xenophobic nationalism.
A celebration of Trumps defeat on the day of his inauguration seems several stages beyond fanciful. The real estate billionaire did after all pull off one of the biggest electoral surprises of modern times.
Yet the progressive inhabitants of Saranac Lake are not alone in such thinking. Across the country, a growing chorus of influential voices can be heard exhorting liberals not to wallow in despondency in the wake of the Trump ascendancy, but to embrace optimism and celebrate a victory of their own.
From national leaders such as Bernie Sanders and the Rev Al Sharpton, to state authorities on both coasts, through urban bastions and university towns scattered across the heartlands, a unifying message is emerging. Do not despair, it says, we won!
The counterintuitive idea of liberal victory in the 2016 presidential race is posited on Hillary Clintons startling triumph in the popular vote. With the final tally of votes now certified by all 50 states, the definitive result of the presidential election carries quite a punch.
Clinton attracted the support of 65,844,610 Americans. Trump was backed by 62,979,636. Which means that fully 2.9 million more Americans voted for Trumps Democratic opponent than for him.
Whether those millions voted because they liked Clintons vision for the country, or because they detested Trumps, is impossible to say. But it is fair to say that Trump failed to persuade a majority of voting Americans to back him on his unlikely journey to the White House.
National political leaders have begun, like the folk of Saranac Lake, to draw strength for the no-doubt brutal fight ahead by focusing on the popular vote as a measure of the depth of support for progressive values that persist in the US today. Bernie Sanders, who played no small part in boosting Clintons numbers by inspiring young people to rally to the liberal cause, told the Guardian that in his view the president-elect had to take on board the truth of his defeat in terms of national votes and act accordingly.
Mr Trump has got to understand that he does not have a mandate. He lost by almost 3 million votes.
Sanders went on to say that the knowledge that most voting Americans backed progressive policies on 8 November should embolden people as the new Trump era begins. If we stand together, we can effectively take on Mr Trumps ugly ideas and continue the fight for a progressive vision for this country. On virtually every major issue facing this country whether its raising the minimum wage, pay equity for women, rebuilding our infrastructure, making public colleges and universities tuition-free, criminal justice and immigration reform, dealing with income and wealth inequality the strong majority of the American people are on our side.