An Election We’re All to Blame For

Many people are upset about the results of the presidential election. They are trying to place blame on certain groups of particular people, certain viewpoints, and regions, but I think they’re missing the bigger picture. What is really at fault here?

It’s the fault of our primary system, which varies so greatly state by state, that it has become so confusing and convoluted that it prevents people from voting.

It’s the fault of our primary system, where only dedicated party members are allowed to vote, thus cultivating ideological polarization and the nomination of polarizing candidates. Our primary system, where hundreds of thousands of people are disenfranchised because of their refusal to choose one party over another.

It’s the fault of our primary system, where superdelegates pledge allegiance before primaries even begin, who send the message that some candidates will never be viable no matter how well their policies align with those of the electorate.

It’s the fault of the electoral process that creates a winner-take-all system, downplaying the significance of candidates who have strong supporters as well as minor candidates who can’t get their foot through the door to gain attention.

It’s the fault of a campaign process where money can buy access: access to planes for travel, access to stadiums to speak at, access to pundits to strategize, and access to a mandate they didn’t earn. No matter how good a message is, a message can’t always pay for its platform to communicate with the people.

It’s the fault of the media, who have spent the past year and a half only discussing speculation and possibilities and strategy, and not the issues that are crippling our society. Where was the policy analysis and debate? Where was the objective presentation of facts and figures? What is the average American supposed to do when the most powerful news agencies report stories that make them money, instead of those that create an informed electorate?

It’s the fault of the media who run our debates, decide arbitrary cutoff lines for participation, and dictate who are viable candidates and who are not.

It’s the fault of the media for not asking the substantial questions, for not forcing candidates to discuss the specifics of their policy recommendations, how they would be implemented and what that means in the day-today lives of different individuals across the country.

It’s the fault of the voters.

It’s the fault of voters who only turn out to vote for president and don’t participate in local and midterm elections.

It’s the fault of the voters who vote based on sound bites and rhetoric.

It’s the fault of the voters who look at polls and base their vote on the votes of others in order to elect the least objectionable candidate instead of a candidate whose policies they agree with.

It’s the fault of voters who think that compromise means voting for the lesser of two evils instead of a unifying and substantial candidate.

It’s the fault of voters who don’t understand how the different branches of government work together to create, execute, and analyze law.

It’s my fault. It’s my fault that as a civil servant I couldn’t advocate for my daily struggles, my realizations of how difficult and complicated executing policy really is.

It’s my fault for not explaining how any policy, no matter its good intentions, can get dismembered so much that it doesn’t even resemble the values it was based on.

It’s my fault for letting others shame me because I didn’t want to submit to the lesser of two evils, for letting others run down confidence in my own beliefs and my own experiences.

Act surprised. Act angry. I am too. No matter who won this presidency, I knew I wasn’t getting what I wanted.

The problems we have with Donald Trump are the problems we had before him and the problems we’ll have after. When a political system consistently foments polarizing, controversial, and shallow candidates, I can’t be shocked when they’re elected to office.

So I’m thinking about what I can do now.

I decide the variety of media I watch, the articles I read, the diversity of opinions I open myself up to.

The more disagreement there is the more I will try to listen, to understand, to put myself in someone else’s life and figure out if I would do the same.

This election is my fault. And I’m going to try to fix it.