It’s been four months since I’ve written for this blog. Four months since I’ve had the urge to write. For a while, I thought it had left me. I was wrong.
It’s 3:21 AM. The date is November 9. The 24-hour news networks are calling the last few states in the 2016 election. Donald J. Trump will be the next President of the United States. I’m shocked. 2016 was ripe for picking by the Democratic party.
President Obama had faced a mountain of unreasonable hatred, but he was still a pretty well liked man. The Republicans hadn’t done anything at all to become more inclusive of people of color. These same people would be a larger part of the population every year. There would be backlash, but the Democrats were in a prime position to keep the Presidency of the United States.
So why didn’t they?
The answer is Hillary Rodham Clinton. We all knew who was next up once the 2008 primary was over.
Though Mike O’Malley and Bernie Sanders challenged her, both were defeated. While O’Malley quickly fizzled, Sanders held on for dear life. Though his rallies had an astounding number of attendees, he couldn’t rustle up the votes to match. But this was a warning sign.
While Sanders and Clinton battled, Donald Trump was steamrolling his competition. But still, no one really thought he would win the election. Sanders supporters pointed out that he trounces Trump in hypothetical general election polling, but they were dismissed as such polls don’t usually matter. The same hypothetical match-ups showed Clinton polling evenly or worse against the GOP candidates. This was another warning sign.
Questions kept being asked during the campaign: Why is it that Hillary Clinton’s supporters are so much less enthusiastic? Why do millenials not like Secretary Clinton as much as Senator Sanders? What can Hillary do to keep the Obama coalition? How will the email scandal affect the election? Can she get voters to stop doubting her honesty?
All warning signs.
Hillary Clinton is not someone people like. That’s just the truth. Conservatives hate Hillary Clinton. And truth be told, so do many liberals. This election year showed that people are getting annoyed with the way things are done in politics. The popularity of Bernie Sanders showed this. The popularity of Donald Trump showed it even better.
Apathy set in for many on both sides. A desire to fight the system arose. Many compared the choice between Clinton and Trump to a choice between Satan and the devil. But polling showed Clinton with a large lead, which tightened to within the margin of error during the last couple of weeks of the campaign.
And so another warning was ignored.
The numbers aren’t available yet, but according to the talking heads, Clinton underperformed with people of color, while Donald Trump overperformed with whites.
A lot of people are going to blame 3rd party voters nonvoters those for Trump’s victory. I don’t believe they should. Votes are earned.
Donald Trump motivated his supporters to get to the polls to support his agenda. Hillary Clinton motivated people to vote against Donald Trump.
And that is the problem. The politics of fear cannot be how the Democratic Party wins elections. People on both sides were clamoring for change. Only one of the candidates appeared to heed the call. Keep in mind that Trump voters hate the GOP establishment.
The Clinton plan seemed to be ‘Vote for her or you’ll deal with Trump’. There was also a sprinkling of ‘I’m going to do what President Obama did and some things Bernie likes too’. It didn’t work. Voting for the lesser of two evils can only work for so long.
And now look what we have to deal with. A Republican-controlled House of Representatives. A Republican-controlled Senate. A Republican President of the United States. And coming soon: A conservative Supreme Court.
I hope the Democrats do the reflection that the Republicans failed to do in 2012. As I said on my Facebook page, Hillary Clinton was 8 years too late. And 4 years too early.