Donald Trump’s stunning victory in the presidential race is not just devastating to liberals in general and Hillary Clinton in particular. It is also concerning to many conservatives as well.

Trump’s vision of America, the “Crippled America” of which he has written, is not one that most people share in all its particulars. But most Americans can see some plain, unvarnished truth in it, which is why Trump is on his way to the White House.

In a race to the bottom between the two least popular presidential nominees in modern history, voters did what most professional pundits said they would not: Unable to face the dreary and degrading prospect of electing the devil they did know, the latest champion of the corrupt Clinton clan, they took a risk on the untried candidate.

Clinton’s belated departure from the national political scene is cause for celebration. Democrats will bemoan her loss, thinking rightly that they are in a perilous state if they cannot beat an opponent so flawed. Clinton’s venality and mendacity proved an insurmountable obstacle for too many voters, as it should have.

After a campaign that was ugly to the point of national embarrassment, this is not a time for another round of insults and recriminations. That widespread public embarrassment at the choice America put before itself is a token of an underlying decency and a desire for the country to be admirable. Thus, it is time to put the election in the past and look ahead to repair and revive the great American experiment in democracy.

Trump will now be president, and every American owes it to him and to their country to hope he succeeds. This is every incoming president’s due. That doesn’t mean rolling over and letting him win every item on his agenda. It means, rather, starting with and sustaining the desire to see the Trump presidency promote the common good.

This will often mean opposing the new president’s positions vigorously on many of the most important issues facing the nation. Republicans in Congress, in particular, must not be shy about this. If they give Trump whatever he wants and everything he campaigned on — his pronouncements on trade and entitlements come forcefully to mind — it will be a great disservice to the nation they represent.

Republicans also owe Trump the voice of reason they can provide in confidence, to keep his appetite for needless conflict in check. Not all of Trump’s ideas are bad — far from it. He deserves praise and gained huge support because he has been willing to call Islamic terrorism what it is, seems determined that political correctness will not impede efforts to protect the public from it, and repeatedly speaks for a big section of the population that has long been told that its anxieties and culture are the only ones unworthy of respect or even toleration in the new America.

Trump will begin his presidency without the high approval ratings President Obama once enjoyed. But if he recognizes the value of the hand he’s been dealt, it’s possible he could win over a nation that the polls show does not think highly of him. A successful, self-controlled Trump can win the confidence of many who wrote him off. An erratic, bombastic Trump will alienate his countrymen further.

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In this regard, Trump can learn from Obama’s most egregious mistake, which was to govern as though his opinion was the only one worth considering. If, like Obama, Trump governs based on the blunt philosophy of “I won,” and behaves as though his agenda “can’t wait” for the legislative process prescribed in the Constitution, he will quickly lose his grip on Congress, squander popular support and lose office four years from now.

But if he engages Congress, including the opposition, this could set him apart from Obama.

We hope that Trump, despite indications he gave during the campaign, will govern as a conservative. We also hope that, without betraying principle, he restores compromise to politics. This could be the great hope of his presidency, and a consolation to those who this morning are most pessimistic. The divisive and bitter Obama era has been dominated by the politics of the my-way-or-the-highway mentality, with the arrogant tone set by the man at the top. It characterized his signature piece of legislation and the Republican response to it that shut down the government pointlessly in late 2013.

America has rarely been so divided. It falls to Trump to heal those divisions. Few people, even among his supporters, might think of him as right for that emollient role. But he has surprised everyone repeatedly in the past 18 months, and he now needs to do so again.

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