I wrote a little bit ago about how both sides of the political divide live in their own echo chambers. Let me add to that. They also live in their own bubbles and liberals have just experienced the consequence of forgetting that there is a whole different world outside their bubble.
Many of us were lulled into a false sense that America had changed over the last eight years. That somehow the election of Barack Obama and his promised hope and change heralded the dawn of a new and better America. A post-racial America. An America where finally people of color and of different religions and different genders and different orientations would no longer experience the horrors of hate and discrimination.
We believed that our liberal views had finally reached that point where there was no turning back. This was America and the forces of conservatism were on the run.
If only …
What far too many of us forgot was the fundamental nature of our country and our history. We are a divided nation and there are many, many Republicans and others out there who believe and think fundamentally differently from us. You don’t think so? Well, let’s go back in the way-back machine and look at our political history. Since FDR’s death, with the exception of Carter’s four year term and the combined twelve years of Reagan/Bush I, the party that holds the Presidency has changed every eight years. Like clockwork. Like a perfectly tuned Swiss time machine.
It is, to repeat myself, the fundamental nature of modern day America’s politics. The vast middle can’t decide what it wants to be and it is the vast mushy middle that holds the cards in national elections. Give ’em eight years of a Democrat and they’re ready for a Republican. Give ’em eight years of that and they’re ready for a Democrat again.
Which leads to thought number two …
This is what I blame the Democrat Party apparatus and the Clintons for. A failure to recognize that Hillary Clinton was simply the wrong candidate for this year. Much like Mitt Romney, who in so many ways represented the very thing that inspired America’s anger at the Great Recession, was the wrong candidate for the Republicans in 2012, Hillary represented just about everything the vast mushy middle didn’t want this year. She personifies Democratic establishment politics and has been in that mold for decades. She represented no change, no difference, nothing other than the same old, same old.
See above, rightly or wrongly, every eight years American voters want change.
The Democrats had to offer somebody who could promise the American people an evolution from Obama and they didn’t do it. Or if it had to be Hillary she had to come up with a message, a theme, anything that could reach American voters who are fatigued by the last eight years. Instead, Hillary and her advisors basically ran on the idea that she would offer another four years of Obama. (I don’t object to that notion, but I’m not representative of the vast mushy middle you need to win a Presidential election.)
All the while, the Clintons and their team completely refused to recognize the role her weaknesses and her fundamental flaws would play in turning the mushy middle against her. How decisions she has made and conduct she has engaged in would turn the electorate against her. Or at least enough of the electorate would turn to any other option that she would lose the election.
It has been suggested that the point of yesterday is how many Americans voted for hate and misogyny, intolerance and ignorance. I agree that this is a point worth discussing and examining. However, suggesting that is the only point while ignoring the role the Democrat Party and the Clintons played in making such a vote not only possible but also seem to be reasonable to more than 60,000,000 Americans means that we will never learn the lesson, learn from the mistake that was made this year, and ignores the responsibility the party and the Clintons have for foisting this horrible choice on the American people.
Which leads to my third point …
It has been suggested in a number of places over the course of this election that Hillary will lose, or actually lost, because she is a woman. Again, this is an effort to avoid responsibility. To blame this loss on the same old tired identity politics of gender, race, religion, or orientation. And it is completely wrong. The very same people who voted for Trump voted for Nikki Haley, the female governor of South Carolina, Jan Brewer, the female former governor of Arizona, Sarah Palin, the female former governor of Alaska and VP candidate with McCain in 2008, Judy Martz, the female former governor of Montana, Mary Fallin, the current female governor of Oklahoma, Susana Martinez, the current female governor of New Mexico. There are also currently a handful of Republican female U.S. Senators. To suggest that the people who voted for Trump, or the people who opposed Hillary Clinton, did so because she is a woman is simply to ignore the evidence before us.
Last night I was very unsettled about the election results. Although I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, I did want her to win given the only other alternative. I agree that having over 60 million Americans vote for the man says something very ugly about our country. But that ugliness isn’t new. It never actually went away. Barack Obama never snapped his fingers and made it disappear. It is as basic to our Americanism as it is, unfortunately, basic to the human existence. There are those who hate. There will always be. The way to combat that is to continue to love and to spread our message and to nominate our best. We didn’t do that this year — we nominated the one person who couldn’t beat an orange clown — and we will suffer the consequences for the next four years.