After mulling it over for almost a week, I’m coming to some conclusions about the recent elections. Some will offend one group, while some will infuriate others. That’s fine, after a rather heated conversation the night of the election, I’ve come to realize that not everyone can discuss politics from a neutral viewpoint, and that’s okay. Not flawed, just humanly factual. It’s actually quite difficult to remove oneself from an impassioned viewpoint. At any rate, here goes…
1) The Clinton loss makes sense. While she may have won the national vote, she couldn’t win the hearts and minds where it counted. And for a logical reason; Sadly (for those in her camp) the Clinton candidacy failed to inspire. One could attribute this to so many things, but and the end of the day, thems the facts jack. So many people didn’t necessarily vote FOR Clinton as they voted AGAINST Trump. Of course, in terms of numbers, a vote is a vote, but the point is more people vote when they are voting FOR something. Her campaign just failed to convince voters that hers was a movement to vote FOR. Which leads to point number 2
2) Voter turnout matters. This sounds like a no-brainer, but seriously, for the folks in outrage over the popular vote v electoral college, let’s look at this simple figure (which ties back to point number 1). Clinton, in the end, garnered less support nationally than Obama in 2012 by about 1 million votes, and less than 2008 by about 5 million votes. While Trump will walk away from this election having done better than McCain by 2 million in 2008 and about 1 million better than Romney in 2012. Hard to argue with that.
3) Which brings me to my next point; the Obama coalition is dead. I’ll argue that Dems haven’t done enough to inspire a whole host of groups like they did (and should have been able to) in ’08 and ’12. You can get mad, but again, numbers speak. Clinton struggled in the Rust Belt and in Florida. We can have entirely separate conversation about the whys, but fact remains, she didn’t bring out the votes.
4) (Most of) White America didn’t vote for Trump because they are racist. Now this is a tough one, mostly for me, because I didn’t know I had to say it. But recently I had a couple conversations that made me come to grips with this needing to be a conversation, and what it really means. This slightly nods back to point number one. In short, whites (and again I mean “most whites”) didn’t vote for Trump because of the bigoted, racist, xenophobic, etc… comments that he made. They voted for him IN SPITE of them. There was a writer for the NY Times, I believe (excuse me for not looking it up, I’m kinda on a roll here, and I’d like not to stop), who said this about people’s views on Trump: “His supporters took him seriously, but not literally. His detractors took him literally, but not seriously.” Simply put, many Trump voters aren’t ardent racists, xenophobes, etc…, they are just okay with it. Which leads to a much larger discussion, but that’s not the purpose of this already super long post. And I’m trying to get through all my thoughts.
5) The GOP needs to come to grips and address the racist element of the party/ invest in the minority vote (the two go hand in hand). The results of the election and the recent selection of Priebus as the Trump chief of staff almost guarantees it won’t happen for an election cycle or so, I’ve been saying it since ’08, and I’ll keep saying it. Steele had it right.
6) 3rd party votes aren’t a waste. I think we are YEARS from seeing any sort of an important minority in congress (not to mention a majority or the WH) but Americans need to take a more active role in ongoing political conversations, not just in election years. Funding could never hurt, but let’s be honest, Its not entirely needed to make a dent in local electorates. It just has to be organized and pointed.
7) UTAH. Holy crap, UTAH. McMullin pulled 20 something percent of the vote. I say that’s HUGE. I personally was rooting for him, if only to a 3rd party win a state. But, my want’s aside, the numbers still speak. In a state that typically breaks GOP anyway, to pull 200,000 votes from in a state where less than 1 million people have voted in the past 4 election cycles is quite a job well done. What will be interesting to see in the coming years is if the GOP tries to bring those voter back into the fold, can a 3rd party emerge, or did we just witness a one-time freak in the electorate? (While not nationally important, I’m kinda nerding out over this one.)
8)For the Clinton folks who are upset because the “lesser qualified” candidate won. Take a step back and look at 2008. If we were all really concerned about qualifications, the senator from IL (who, by the way, never finished a US Senate term that he only won because the guy he ran against a guy who dropped out in the middle of the race because of a divorce scandal) would have never made it past Clinton, and should have been SMASHED by the much more experienced senator from AZ who was also a decorated war hero and extremely accomplished statesman. Clinton wasn’t inspiring. (this goes back to point 1) If a large number of people voting for you aren’t happy about it, you aren’t inspiring. Plain and simple…