Donald Trump, like the rest of us, has his flaws.

For instance, some of my past columns have condemned him as an "unconservative publicity hound," "braggart," "buffoon" and "fraud."

But in keeping with a fair-and-balanced perspective, my last column also branded Hillary Clinton as a "fraud."

And while many folks in our nation (including me) and beyond are wary about what the Trump presidency portends, ponder these two positives about our new leader while preparing to give him a fair chance to prove his critics wrong:

He's the only person not named Bush to win both South Carolina and the presidency since Ronald Reagan.

He's the only presidential candidate who's ever sent me a Christmas card.

That Trump card arrived at my house via snail mail last December with this message: "Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays, We are, together, going to make American great again, I Love You All, Donald J. Trump."

That was back when the bodacious billionaire and reality TV show star was stealing every scene in a GOP presidential-race cast of 17. Trump won the S.C. primary six weeks later, despite not winning over any of South Carolina's Big GOP Three — Gov. Nikki Haley and U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott. Haley and Scott said they ended up voting for him. Graham said he did not.

Yet Trump, early in his stunning rise to the Oval Office, was enthusiastically backed by S.C. Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster.

Prescient prophet 

As Trump advanced his amazing march to the GOP nomination, McMaster told me, in remarks quoted in my March 11 column:

“He’s surprised everybody, including me, with his tremendous popularity with Republican voters.”

McMaster said that while Trump was “a powerful figure,” he was also “a lot of fun” and "a very nice, considerate, even kind man."

McMaster accurately added that in the general election Trump would have "a lot of people coming out to vote for him and for other Republicans who usually don’t vote for Republicans. That’s how a party grows.”

McMaster also predicted: “It will be one massive brutal campaign, and we will need a candidate who can wade into that, like Trump. ... It will be a cage fight. We know how determined President Clinton and Secretary Clinton are to win. They’ve got a lot of friends. They’ve got a lot of firepower. They’ve got a lot of money. It is not the Marquis of Queensbury rules. It is a brawl. It is no holds barred.”

Now a major chunk of the U.S. population feels locked in a painful submission hold, sort of like the Iron Sheik's vintage camel clutch, by Trump's triumph. That includes lots of folks in Charleston County, which Mrs. Clinton carried.

Just don't wallow too deeply in the dire dread epitomized by numerous variations on this overwrought puzzle posed about this election's result by, among others, CNN's Van Jones, a former Obama administration official, and slate.com culture editor Dan Kois:

"How do I explain this to my children?"

Here's how: "The candidates Daddy votes for don't always win."

And here's how Trump, in a familiar phrase of his, described what he has in mind for America during his brief remarks early Wednesday:

"It's going to be a beautiful thing."

OK, so plenty of Americans see a beastly blunder by the electorate, not a beautiful thing, in the words "President Donald Trump."

Remember, though, that Chicken Little was wrong when she sounded this false alarm: "The sky is falling."

Plus, though the stock market had been steeply falling as Trump's prospects rose, that descent was significantly reversed — at least in our country — on Wednesday.

Upset special

OK, my informed assumption that "Crooked Hillary" would beat "Dangerous Donald" was published in this space on Election Day.

But before piling on too hard about that understandable error, committed by nearly every prognosticator, consider this mitigating, closing caveat from that column:

It warned that in 2007 the experts expected Trump to lose the "Hair vs. Hair Match" against Vince McMahon at WrestleMania 23. Then Trump's underdog surrogate, Bobby Lashley, beat McMahon's man Umaga, giving "The Donald" the right to shave the WWE owner's head.

As for Tuesday's close shave at the only polls that count:

You don't have to like the outcome to savor its reminder that voters, not pundits and surveys, are the election deciders.

And now that Trump is going to be president, can we expect more Christmas cards from him?

Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is wooten@postandcourier.com.

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