Wednesday, November 9, 2016

President Trump???

This is not good.
The Democrats had an excellent chance to keep the White House and possibly win back the Senate, and they blew it.  There were several good reasons to keep the Democratic hold on the executive branch, but the party's now-discredited establishment couldn't think of one.  All Hillary Clinton offered was that, under her administration, Americans would be "stronger together."  And now Donald Trump is to become the forty-fifth President of the United States!
Before I continue, I have to address the fact that I voted for Green Party presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein.  I don't regret casting my ballot for Dr. Stein one iota.  I would never have voted for her if I thought for a second that she could win enough votes in New Jersey to deprive Hillary Clinton of the state's fourteen electoral votes and give them to Trump.   And, she didn't.  Hillary won the Garden State with 53 percent of the vote.  I'm proud of my vote for Dr. Stein; I did my part to help her get to the five-percent threshold necessary for the Greens to get federal matching funds for the 2020 presidential election . . . even though Dr. Stein didn't quite make it.
That out of the way, I now turn to the election results. Trump won on fouls, using every epithet in the book against women, racial and ethnic minorities, and Muslims, and feeding into people's paranoia and resentments.  He exploited the legitimate concerns and grievances of the cratering middle class and turned them against convenient scapegoats.  And all Hillary Clinton could offer in response was that she was not Trump.  She never offered a positive domestic program to help people get ahead and never explained why her interventionist foreign policy proposals would make America safe.  She merely promised more of the same of President Obama's policies without explaining why this would be good enough.
There's a whole class of people who feel alienated from the natural constituencies of both major parties, Republican fat cats and Democratic cultural elitists.  They resent Wall Street bankers for getting rich at their expense and entertainers who live good lives paid for in part by their fans. Many of them are working low-wage jobs and seethe with resentment toward these constituencies and for a long time were like powder kegs waiting to explode. That sound you heard on Election Day was those same people going "Kaboom."  And Donald Trump lit the fuse.
It didn't have to be this way.  The Democrats had presidential candidates who had the same ability to speak to disaffected Americans that Trump did.  Joe Biden, who ultimately decided not to run, had it.  Bernie Sanders had it.  Jim Webb had it.  Certainly Martin O'Malley had it.  Hillary didn't.  But the Democratic establishment wasn't interested in anyone other than Hillary being their standard bearer.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her minions tipped the scales for Hillary, discouraged and silenced those Democrats who wanted to run for the nomination against Hillary, and brought the hammer down on those who did.  Hillary's supporters happily approved.  They didn't care that she was  a fundamentally flawed candidate. They didn't seem to mind her ties to Wall Street.  They overlooked her hawkish call for a no-fly zone in Syria and how it risked a military confrontation with Russia.  They were all too busy chanting, "La la la,  first female President!"
I saw how the Democratic establishment pushed Hillary and stifled alternative voices.  As a Martin O'Malley supporter, I saw my candidate ignored when he called for more primary debates.   I saw how he was marginalized, along with Webb and Lincoln Chafee, and not given the chance to make his case.  Then, after O'Malley dropped out and Bernie Sanders surged and had a realistic shot of winning the Democratic nomination, Hillary's underlings undermined Sanders at every turn. Despite the fact that Hillary was a flawed nominee, they forced her on the electorate and assumed, once it became apparent that Trump would be the Republican nominee, that Hillary would win because she was not Trump.  Hillary herself acted like she was entitled to the Presidency, not so much because she's a woman, but because her husband had been President in the 1990s and because she thought it was her turn.  The Democrats could have come up with a strong nominee who could beat Trump had they held a fair nomination contest, but they gambled everything on Hillary, and now they're paying for it.
Not only was the Democratic establishment so smug about the 2016 election, so were Hillary's rank-and-file supporters.  I quit several Democratic Facebook pages because of the nasty comments from so many Hillary fans about her competitors for the nomination  - O'Malley's obscurity, Sanders's far-left policy proposals - and the ridicule and insults I got simply for supporting O'Malley.  When I  backed Dr. Stein in the general election, Hillary supporters ridiculed her and her movement to build up the Greens.  Then they tried to gaslight me into voting for Hillary because they said a vote for Dr. Stein would help Trump by splitting the anti-Trump vote.  They weren't reaching out to me with friendly persuasion; they were chewing me out with angry threats.
All through this campaign, from the start of the nomination contest in the spring of 2015 to the nominating conventions, I kept saying that Hillary was a flawed presidential candidate, and Hillary supporters laughed at me.  Several of Hillary's opponents for the Democratic presidential nomination kept warning that Trump could win, especially Martin O'Malley, and so did I.  Hillary supporters kept laughing.  It looks like I have the last laugh now . . . although I don't feel like laughing.  The Republicans have all the power in Washington, having kept control of both houses of Congress, and the Democrats are completely devastated . . . and, like I once said, looking very Whiggish.
I can't let this go without calling out the media for being complicit in anointing Hillary as being inevitable and treating her opponents for the Democratic presidential nomination with contempt while giving Donald Trump the free media that proved to be the oxygen for his victorious campaign and thinking it wouldn't lead to his victory.  The press let us down as much as the Democratic establishment.
If there's any bright side to all this (and I'm stretching it here), it's that Hillary Clinton appears to have won the popular vote, and the Democrats gained two seats in the Senate in Illinois and New Hampshire . . . and may win a third Senate seat in Louisiana next month, thus denying the GOP a three-fifths filibuster-proof majority.  Trump doesn't have the mandate he thinks he has.  So the opposition has to get its act together and do what Martin O'Malley asked of his supporters - "hold strong."  Liberals in the Democratic Party ought to be ready to bolt the Democrats and form a new progressive party with the Greens.  I hope O'Malley himself does what his mentor Gary Hart did the night Ronald Reagan was re-elected President - begin recruiting for another presidential campaign for the next election.
In the meantime, the notion of "President Trump" is a reality.  And to Hillary supporters, I hate to say I told you so, but . . . I told you so. :-(

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