The Political Fallout
Continuing with more random thoughts on the stunning results of the 2016 presidential election:
HILLARY CLINTON WON
The way we elect American presidents must be closely re-examined and perhaps overhauled. Fact: Hillary Clinton won more votes than Donald Trump. While the poll numbers are still rolling in, the final tally will undoubtedly show that the Democratic candidate won the votes of more Americans than the Republican candidate. This has been the case in 6 out of the last 7 presidential elections. Aside from the timing of this partisan comment, there is something inherently wrong with a broken system where a majority of Americans voting in favor of one candidate over another doesn’t translate into that candidate being elected. This system isn’t just flawed. It’s broken. The electoral system must be changed. It’s time to create a bi-partisan national commission to implement a better way to elect our leaders.
A GENERATIONAL DIVIDE
We of a different generation often beat up unmercifully on Millennials. We still think their music sucks and we’re totally convinced they spend far too much time worrying about the latest bullshit trend on social media. But, for the most part, Millennials in this election got things right. Younger people have the most at stake personally when it comes to politics. Their future is in jeopardy. We now have a president-elect who denies global warming, who intends to terminate women’s reproductive rights, who resorted to a gutter-level of personal conduct that’s unprecedented in American political history, who adheres to a set of core beliefs grounded in the distant past rather than the future. For the most part, a majority of young people REJECTED that message and that candidate. My generation can’t be so proud of itself. In fact, we should be ashamed. We’ve burned up the planet, poisoned the air and the oceans, empowered the banks to tether you by the balls, and now we’ve just given you Donald J. Trump for President. Here’s a shout out to young activists who are committed to progressive causes — get involved. This isn’t a plea. It’s a fucking obligation. Our future depends on you. We hope that you can become the greatest generation. Please.
JEB BUSH WAS NOMINATED, AFTER ALL
An uninspiring presidential candidate with a famous last name was once thought to be the inevitable nominee of his party. And, turns out, she was. Hillary Clinton turned into a Democratic reincarnation of all the stupefying negatives of Jeb Bush, earlier perceived as the heir-apparent to the presidential throne. Like Bush, Clinton often had difficulty connecting with average voters. She, and her complacent campaign staff, distanced the candidate from questions and scrutiny. While Donald Trump was basking in the glow of unprecedented media coverage, Clinton was tightly controlled. She held virtually no press conferences. She sequestered herself away from media while traveling. Everything was carefully orchestrated by the handlers and “experts,” leaving the average voter with the (accurate) perception that Clinton was hopelessly out of touch with people living and working on Main Street. Unfortunately, the political machinery of the Democratic Party didn’t weed out the mediocrity of candidate Clinton in the same manner Republicans were able to quickly expunge Jeb Bush from the national political scene.
POLLSTERS EATING TRIPLE HELPINGS OF CROW
I lost whatever sliver of respect I still had for pollsters way back in 2004 after most of the pundits that year predicted the election of John Kerry. They were wrong back then. But this time, they really blew it. Witnessing the polling group and website Five-Thirty-Eight have the audacity to continue posting flawed “data” last night, all night long, in the midst of such a massive slap in the face to their credibility was excruciating. Sure, surprises do happen. But national pollsters should have been able to employ more accurate survey methodology and at the very least factor in outlying habits of key demographics that might not align with traditional ways of conducting polls. Move over Hillary. The night’s biggest losers were the pollsters and pundits.
A NATION OF
ANGRY VOTERS HYPOCRITES
The 2016 national electorate has been widely described as “angry.” That’s certainly accurate. What’s grossly inaccurate, however, is the mainstream media’s portrayal of widespread anger being almost entirely monopolized by the Trump campaign. That’s simply not true. Plenty of Clinton supports were angry, too. In fact, Bernie Sanders supporters were arguably the angriest constituency of all. We continue to demand a complete overhaul of the economic and political system of this country. Many die-hard Clinton supporters were also angry, as well as horrified, at the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency. And so, like me, we rallied around an admittedly-flawed, often wavering compromise of a presidential candidate who wasn’t so much an inspiration, but a desperate firewall. The 2016 election will INACCURATELY go down in history as a popular manifestation of intense voter anger with Washington and the rest of the political establishment and elites, supposedly targeted at both parties. But if voters were so “angry.” then why did they end up doing what voters inexplicably do every election in my memory, which is RE-ELECTING establishment politicians, namely incumbents in overwhelming numbers? Fact: There were NO SURPRISES in the congressional, senate, or gubernatorial elections. None. The establishment won, once again. Big surprise. So, quit the “anger” bullshit. Voters must not be too angry, after all, since they re-elected 95 percent of the incumbents who were running for re-election. I could have gone along with a massive political sweep and housecleaning. That’s DIDN’T HAPPEN. Hypocrites.
Trump’s victory is being described by some as the last gasp of a frightened segment of the population — namely older Whites — soon to be outnumbered by looming horizontal shifts in racial and cultural demographics. I previously thought we are becoming a more tolerant nation, a more secular society, a more empathetic people to the struggles of others. But, alas we are not. We’re stooped and stymied in the same ugliness that once engulfed other advanced nations in similar scary times when an imperfect storm of seemingly unlikely events creates an unforeseen political pox. I can’t even begin to understand what it must be like to be an immigrant, a Muslim, a responsible journalist, a social worker who deals with family crisis’ and wakes up this morning in a different America than we thought, just 24 hours earlier. I cannot fathom the fear. I cannot fathom the disappointment. I can only fathom my own sense of shame.