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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

WHO DO WE BLAME?


The President Elect (Lord help us)


I have never felt more proud to be an American than in 2008 when the country elected Barack Obama to the Presidency.  And I have never felt more shame for my country than I feel right now, waking up to a President Donald Trump.  I love the city and state that I live in, but I can't imagine that I will ever feel love for this country as a whole ever again.  Not for one that could vote for a racist, narcissistic, misogynistic, person like Trump. No patriotism for me, in fact right now I only feel seething rage; I want to look at each one of the 58,842,291 people for voted for him in the eye and ask:  how could you do this?

After every Presidential election, the losing side picks over the ruins of the campaign to try and gain insight.  So now it's important to ask, who is to blame for this political catastrophe?

1.  The Media-right after Trump took that fateful ride down the escalator, the media has been Trump's biggest alley.  Given his gift for absurd bombast and offensive statements, Trump brought ratings to the media, who quickly broadcast one speech of his after another, giving him literally billions of dollars worth of free exposure.  And because he lied so fast and so frequently in those speeches, fact checking became almost impossible, letting his lies out into the ether without any contradiction.  Conservatives love to rail against the liberal mainstream media, but it was that media that gave Trump the attention he craved.

2. The pollsters-Although the numbers fluctuated, Hillary Clinton lead in every poll leading up to the election, even on Fox News.  The usually reliable Nathan Silver of the statistical analysis website 538.Com gave her a healthy 65% chance of winning on election day, with most other outlets ranking her chances even higher.  Did this high level of certainty lead to many potential Clinton voters staying home on election night, thinking that she had it in the bag?  Possibly, her support was wide but shallow; she never really excited voters the way that Obama did.

3. Millennials-When the numbers are calculated,  I am sure that the turnout for millennial voters will be very low in this election; these young people tuned in for Bernie Sanders and then tuned out for Clinton.  Sadly, they don't seem to realize the stakes that were involved; for example, someday soon Trump appointed Supreme Court Justices may overturn gay marriage in this country, something they overwhelmingly support but couldn't seen to connect to in this election.  They sadly didn't realize that voting for the lesser of two evils is still something worth doing, especially when the greater evil is Trump!

4. James Comey-Clinton was apparently coasting to a victory when FBI leader Comey announced on October 28th.  that there appeared to be more emails that needed to be investigated.  Although he cleared her the day before the election, the damage was done.  Although polls on the day of the election still showed her with an advantage,  her once commanding lead had evaporated after this unprecedented intrusion by his agency into the election.

5. Clinton herself-With the emails, the ethical questions about the Clinton Foundation, and the unreleased private speeches to Wall St., Clinton always seemed to have one scandal or another being discussed in the media.  Although none of them were criminal, and the attention given them was often overblown, they wound up having a cumulative effect, giving the impression that she was, to use Trump's term, "crooked".  And she was never quite a natural politician; her speeches were lacking in uplift, her emotions often seeming canned and phony. But in many ways she ran a strong campaign: she raised enormous amounts of campaign money, aired some very moving ads on TV, and built up a ground game to get out the vote.  And polls showed her beating Trump in at least two of the debates.  Alas, she wound up falling just short (as of this point, according to the New York Times, she actually got a few thousand more votes than Trump, even while losing the Electoral College). Given the closeness of the election, Progressives like myself will be grinding our teeth at the thought that if Bernie Sanders had gotten the Democratic nomination instead of Clinton, the support of the aforementioned millennial voters very well may have put him over the top.

3 comments:

  1. I completely do not buy the notion that Sanders would have won this election. He would have been labeled a dangerous communist, and the label might well have stuck. We'll never know, and I'll never be able to prove the argument wrong, but "crooked" Hillary wasn't in the grand scheme of things particularly crooked, and this election has proven that people don't particularly care about the facts, so long as the lies are repeated frequently enough. Trump's bribery, sex scandals, fraudulent "Foundation", and fraudulent "university" weren't enough to dissuade his voters. How much do facts matter about emails? Don't you think people willing to believe Trump is more honest would find it difficult to believe a lie about Sanders?
    But again, I don't know. I have no idea. I don't understand this at all.

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    1. ...but more to the point, you forgot an important demographic in your analysis of whom to blame for Trump getting elected- Trump voters. This just in: the people who are most directly to blame for the election of Donald Trump are the ones who voted for him. The media may have given him undue exposure, but it's not like they hid the facts. The facts were there for people to see. People just didn't look. Or they didn't care.

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    2. Hmmm, well, as you say we'll never know about how Bernie would have done. While his left wing views would have repulsed some, his lack of scandals would have kept the focus more on the issues. And I do think younger voters would have showed up for him.Still, who knows.
      Also I didn't mention the Trump voters because that seemed obvious. He always seemed to have a solid 40% of the country behind him, but that got pushed higher on election day, when undecided voters went his way. That movement was what I was trying to pinpoint.

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