Wednesday, November 9, 2016

President Trump

It seems that 2016 just keeps on giving. First the Cubs win the World Series, then Trump defies all polls and expectations and wins the office of President of the United States. Not only that, but the Republicans have secured a majority in both the House and Senate which means the Supreme Court is due to shift conservative. Surely, the giant meteor is only weeks away from bearing down on us.

Over the coming months/years the Democratic National Committee will no doubt be working on its post-mortum in the hopes of identifying the causes for Hillary Clinton's stunning loss. One of the excuses that is already spinning out of the minds of some of the more radical pundits is that people voted against Hillary Clinton because she is a woman. That's right, people are actually claiming that that nation was not yet ready to have a woman in the Oval Office so they voted against Hillary simply because of her gender. This would have been the fate of any woman on the ticket, they claim. Bullshit, I say.

While I concede that there may be a small yet vocal minority who voted against Hillary because of her gender, her being a woman was not a factor for the vast majority of people who voted against her. The fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote is a clear indication that enough people were willing to elect a female President. The problem resides with the candidate herself, not with her gender. During an election cycle where many people feel disaffected and were on the lookout for a political outsider, the Democratic Party threw its own outsider under the bus in favor of the biggest insider they had. A candidate who began her political life by carpetbagging her way to a New York Senate seat. A candidate who consistently lied about trivial matters like being under sniper fire in Bosnia or her daughter jogging through the World Trade Center on 9/11 just so she could seem more "presidential". A candidate who, despite already knowing the potential consequences (see George W. Bush and 22 million missing emails), set up a private email server and conducted political business on it. A candidate who claimed that she would hold Wall Street to the fire, yet refused to release the transcripts of the speeches she was paid to make for them. A candidate who rewarded Debbie Wasserman Schultz, disgraced DNC chair, with a position on the campaign trail. And, yet instead of addressing these issues head-on, Clinton decided to ignore them and focus instead on Trump's personal negatives. The Clinton camp tried to have you believe that voting for Trump was an endorsement of all the terrible things he said which is like saying that Germans who had grievances with the Treaty of Versailles supported the Nazi party. It's possible to support some things about a candidate but not others. And, yet the Trump campaign never tried to equate a vote for Clinton with endorsement of her corruption. Is it any wonder that, when given the choice between a shit-talking celebrity blowhard and a corrupt political insider, a significant amount of people decided to go with the blowhard?

That's not to say that the Trump campaign bungled its way to victory. They didn't. They won because they played to the disaffected white-collar Americans whereas Clinton played to the disaffected minorities. This allowed Trump to pick up the key swing states, especially those in the so-called Rust Belt (It didn't help that Hillary didn't set foot in Wisconsin during the general election and blindly believed that Bernie supporters who delivered the state to him in the primaries would just fall in line) Clinton played identity politics in an environment that was more concerned about class politics.

In the end, exit polls suggest that neither side were very enthusiastic about their candidates. They distrusted both of them, yet somehow managed to hold their noses and cast their votes for what they saw as the least of two evils. People who voted for Trump hated his stance on women and minorities. People who voted for Hillary hated her scandal-plagued political career. The result was a victory for Trump. Hillary lost not because she's a woman, but because's she's Hillary.

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