Clinton vs. Trump: My Analysis
I can sum up the 2016 Presidential election results in two words: enthusiasm gap.
Donald Trump’s voters were more enthusiastic about him than Hillary Clinton’s voters were about her (Clinton’s voters were “with her,” kinda.)
Who is at fault?
Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee are to blame.
Bernie Sanders supporters suspected that the DNC was working against Sanders before WikiLeaks released the DNC e-mails. WikiLeaks’ confirmation that it was true hardened Sanders voters (and other Democrats) against the DNC and Hillary Clinton. Removing Debbie Wasserman Schultz did little to salve that wound when Hillary immediately made Schultz honorary chair of her 50-state program — Hillary spit in the face of progressives and independents and expected us to take it (and, once again, nice job DWS (18 states won)). If a candidate has an overt hostility to you, acts as if she doesn’t want or need you, you aren’t nearly as likely to vote for them. Period.
So, even though Bernie and his supporters made great strides on the Democratic Platform, progressives and independents had little reason to believe that Clinton would enthusiastically embrace our issues. That being said, I got the feeling that most Bernie supporters moved with relative ease to Clinton (I was not one of them — I did not really decide to hold my nose and vote for her until a week before the general election — and I was voting for Bernie’s platform planks, not for Clinton per se). In a more positive light, I can say that Hillary successfully quelled any enthusiasm we might have mustered up for her.
She also ran a dirty campaign against both Sanders and Obama. Her tactics smacked of typically ugly Republican strategies. I remember liking her so much better before she campaigned against Obama. And this is a good juncture to make a distinction: this was never about sexism. It is about THE CLINTONS in toto. The Clintons have always been a little bit oily (I never voted for Bill).
The Clintons have always kowtowed to conservatives. Three Strikes and You’re Out was a Republican wet dream. They deregulated Wall Street. Welfare reform. And the hits go on. It worked well for Bill. But we live in darker times. The electorate would rather beat the system with an unreasoned cudgel (not to mention minority groups) than elect another “tweaker.” (That’s a fun word.)
While in many respects we can say that the e-mail scandal was a mountain being made of a molehill, the DNC elites should have recognized that this was a potentially killer issue. But unlike the bullshit Benghazi “investigation,” there is merit in the e-mail scandal. She did have a private server. She did send classified e-mails. She did lie about the FBI’s conclusions. Like Richard Nixon, she should have been transparent and honest early. Had she been so, she might be running around fancy hotels and breaking their glass ceilings right now. Instead, she’s curled up in a bed drowning her sorrows in copious gulps of hot sauce (“Nothing burns as much as losing to Donald Trump. Nothing!”)
The Democratic elite are so out of touch with voters that they have no chance of grabbing our pussies. Did the Clintons muscle them so they’d muzzle us, or did they act of their own free, short-sighted wills? When the corporate gangbang is more important to them than the working class voters they’re supposed to represent, then they are lost. The Clintons and the DNC managed this campaign into their version of the trickle-down theory: they gained two Senate seats and six House seats in a year where it was possible to re-take the Senate and make substantial gains in the House. Trump had coattails in virtually every race from the bottom-up.
The DNC and the media made a yuuuuge mistake.
The DNC should not have used their power to favor the Clintons. While it is possible that Hillary would still have won, the media blackout for a virtual unknown like Bernie was devastating. As people learned about Bernie, I got the feeling that there was buyer’s remorse in states that had already voted in the primaries. Most people don’t follow politics closely. If they don’t know anything about a Bernie Sanders (or a Martin O’Malley for that matter), they’re going to vote for the Party and the name they know. Unlike the primaries, the corporate media could not have credibly foregone covering Bernie. The people would then have seen a truly good person running against a truly indecent person. They would have chosen between a brave man fighting the elites versus a coward picking on the defenseless.
Do you think Bernie Sanders would have “pivoted to the center” for the general election? Or do you think he would have spoken to the American people the same way he spoke to progressives/Democrats? (The answer is: the latter.) That would have further highlighted Bernie’s fundamental honesty and decency. There is no fucking way Trump could have beaten that. No. Fucking. Way.
This election said that the people wanted change, dammit. And, given what they perceived as More Of The Same versus someone flogging the system they said, “Give us change. We don’t give a damn what kind of change as long as there’s substantive change.”
How the fuck do I know?
Neither we, nor Trump supporters, really know what Trump is going to do. I think that makes this election all the more insane. But, we do know what Republicans want to do. They control several states, the Presidency, both Houses of Congress and, soon, the Supreme Court. And the names floated for Trump’s cabinet appear largely to be right-wing zealots and neocons. That scares the shit out of me. Literally. (I had a colonoscopy today — that’s how the middle class use their vacation days.)
If there is any reason for optimism (or hope) we don’t really know what Trump believes on a lot of issues (he’s said a lot of things, very little consistently). He may be more malleable on issues than we believe. It’s times like these that I think WWBD (What Would Bernie Do)? Perhaps if we politely (not subserviently) tried to ask him to address our issues, he might listen. Obama seems to have made a little headway with him. Why can’t we? Together? (It’s such a crazy idea, it just might work.) About the only thing that we know for sure about Trump is that he is vengeful (and he hates/fears brown people and loves building shit). We could even just ask him to meet with Bernie (he is our strongest spokesperson, after all). Perhaps some shared beliefs will lead to more receptiveness.
One concrete thing we could do on the Democratic side is let our Congresspeople know that we want new leadership at the DNC in the person of Representative Keith Ellison. Howard Dean is running too (and did a decent job with an excellent candidate in Obama), but he never backed off his superdelegate vote for Clinton. That alone proves that he is stuck in the past.
Well, that’s a beginning (of the end?).