Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Election to End All Elections

Like many others, I was surprised by the recent U.S. presidential election results. I read a fair bit of news and would consider myself abreast of the going’s-on in and around the world—from the New York Times, the Washington Post, to Breitbart and the National Review. I’ll read liberals, socialists, conservatives, libertarians, I don’t care. I’m an inveterate news junkie. Something was amiss, though; all the pollsters had the election as an overwhelming Clinton victory, and though I’d like to think I’m a fairly sceptical reader, I can’t help but be swayed when all the ‘experts’ universally agree. Seems logical to me, I convinced myself. The Huffington Post hilariously had the chances of Clinton winning at 99%. I had no hard contrary data with which to run with. Sure, I noticed that Trump rallies were attended by tens of thousands and the atmosphere was like a playoff hockey game, and that Clinton rallies were dreary and under-attended affairs. I chalked that up to people not being very enthusiastic about her, but that—again!—the experts were right, and she was comfortably ahead by every metric. All of this contributed to the shock of election night. That dark November night where the results bled in slowly and the extent of the wound didn’t become clear until most people were sound asleep, dreaming of a new America.
Since the election I’ve posited this query to liberal voters and have felt very troubled by the answers. I’ve stretched it a little because the woman in the scenario is Canadian, but no matter, she certainly would have voted for Trump. She’s a conservative and has been for decades. It goes like this: my friend’s Mom, who is an immigrant of Pakistani origin, voted for Trump. Is she a racist, sexist, xenophobe? The answers I get vary from, “she’s misinformed,” “yes, it’s simple—she is a racist, sexist, xenophobe,” to “she’s obviously dumb,” “she watches too much Fox,” etc. They simply cannot logically comprehend why a woman of colour would vote for a hate-muppet like Donald Trump. Many liberals are in dire need of introspection, but continue to blame their failures on outside forces. It’s all James Comey’s fault! I have a feeling that a lot of them don’t even have one republican friend (because why be friends with a sexist, racist monster, right?)
Maybe journalists should do what the reporter Salena Zito did and, oh, I don’t know, actually hit the streets and talk to hundreds of residents in swing states where they actually live. Salena lives in Pennsylvania and consistently noted throughout the campaign that there was little support for Hillary and that people were angry. She noted “little” details, like the fact that there weren’t many Hillary Clinton signs on people’s lawns compared to previous elections. She didn’t moralize and pass judgement like many at the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, etc, who, apparently, don’t get out much to the suburbs. I imagine Paul Krugman or Jonathan Chait don’t much talk to plumbers, electricians, truck drivers and the like, yet their words are in vaunted places and reach millions. Clearly, they don’t have their fingers on the pulse of America.

Ross Douthat is a smarty-pants writer for the NYT. I don’t know where he went to school but it’s probably Yale or North Western or Harvard. Some place like that. He predicted that the Electoral College vote would be 322 for Clinton and 216 for Trump. Now, here’s a guy who studies and writes about politics for a living at the most prestigious outlet in the world. While you’re at work filing TPS reports, he’s pouring over the minutiae of the election 9 to 5, sussing out patterns and breaking it all down for his readers. He’s got sources all over. And this political expert got it so wrong that a baboon on a three-day K and booze bender could have made a better prediction. The actual, reality-based electoral college results were 306 for Trump and 232 for Clinton. What kind of chaffs me is that there are no consequences. I’m not saying these reporters should necessarily be fired. Honestly, I don’t even know what the consequences should be (maybe no column for two months?), but as a rational man I feel like justice has been cheated. Their attitude amounts to “oops, sorry ’bout that guys, we’ll do better next time, heh-heh”.
Wisconsin, which has typically been a Democrat stronghold, went to the Republicans. Hillary Clinton hadn’t campaigned in Wisconsin since April and seemingly relied on arrogance and celebrity endorsements to carry her to victory. It’s not terribly shocking that rich feminists like Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham, who decry the ‘patriarchy’ and ‘white privilege’ didn’t sway union guys in Wisconsin who have seen their jobs dry up and industries move elsewhere. Perhaps telling them they should feel guilty about being white and how they’re sexist for sometimes crudely commenting on women with their buddies wasn’t a great strategy for the democrats. It was an utterly tone deaf campaign.
The narrative is now that Trump was elected by a dying white electorate who will soon go extinct. And that if Trump was elected every kind of minority was going to be catapulted over the wall. Well, first of all, nearly half the electorate didn’t even vote. They were so terrified they just didn’t give a hoot, I guess. You don’t hear in the news too much about the millions of Latinos and Asians that voted for Trump. And lots of women.  And lots of educated people. All this about the “poor, uneducated white guy” vote is a little misleading. Sure, a lot of uneducated white people did vote for Trump, but that’s just one piece of the pie. In 2012 for instance, 68% of voters who made less than $50K a year voted for Obama, compared to 38% who voted for Romney. And Trump performed better than Romney amongst all minorities. I see some liberals banking on the extinction of white people and then the saintly democrats can regain power. I hate to break it to you, but if liberals continue down the identity politics road, they’ll alienate the working class even more. If the GOP runs a young, fresh, slightly progressive candidate as opposed to a populist buffoon like Trump, imagine how much they’ll win by. You can disagree with me, that’s fine, but I’m telling you, giving righteous lectures to people telling them they’re racist, sexist bigots for voting for Trump is not a winning strategy. It never will be. The liberal media should focus more on how bad a Trump presidency will be for more pressing real world issues like criminal justice reform and the environment, or that he’s filling his cabinet with hard-right religious maniacs, not spilling endless amounts of ink on which bathroom transgender people use.
I know that there are legitimate concerns in the LGBT community when Trump assumes power. The future vice president, Mike Pence, has some alarming views on homosexuality. He’s a proponent of the bizarre practice of ‘gay conversion therapy’. I’m guessing it’s something akin to ‘praying the gay away’. So, that’s alarming. But, in six months when no LGBT rights are curtailed, gay people can still get married, and trans-people aren’t melted down in to Trump Steaks, all the concern will be for naught. It’s the same thing if Bernie Sanders won. You think he’d turn America into some socialist paradise with universal healthcare and free university? Hell no! People need to discern between campaign rhetoric and actual policy. Remember how Obama vowed to close Guantanamo Bay? Yeah, how’d that go? In regards to building the wall along the southern border, there is nothing inherently racist or wrong about a nation’s desire to protect their borders in the interest of national security. My main gripe with the wall is that it’s a wholly futile endeavour. Yes, illegal immigration is an issue that needs to be addressed, but what will a wall do? People will go over it, under it, through it; they’ll arrive by ocean or by hiding in the trunks of cars. Don’t underestimate Mexicans, they’re hardy people!

The most lopsided electoral college vote was in D.C. Even traditional Red states like Texas still have s high 30s to 40-something % of the population voting Blue. Same goes for Blue states like New York. Yet, something like 93% of D.C. voted for Clinton. A tiny district, more powerful and flush with cash than any other in the world, full of lobbyists who take kickbacks and throw in provisions into bills that never make it into the papers, and sociopaths devoid of any sympathy for the poor who live in rural areas with little opportunities. No empathy for a truck driver from Nebraska with 3 kids. Did you know that the most common job in America is a truck driver? Ah well, he’s just another sucker for the Washington machine to grift. D.C. almost universally voted for Clinton and D.C. is chalked full of the vilest examples of human scum on planet Earth waiting for your fat-ass dirty dollar. The D.C. that voted for Clinton is one not of nasty words but of nasty actions. One could make a case that if you wanted to reject the status quo, if you wanted to make a moral vote against racism/sexism/misogyny and every other hateful ism, you would vote against all the fat, rich white dudes in D.C. who voted for Hillary Clinton. These people don’t care if you’re Muslim or Mormon. No, their discrimination runs deeper than that. They only care about money and exploitation and power. They want to make money with a pharmaceutical company and pour more drugs down your gullet. Oh, but Trump said he grabs women by the pussy! JFK is one of the most beloved presidents in American history and he was a womanizing playboy. So was Bill Clinton. Who fucking cares? Powerful men are generally boorish pigs who fuck lots of women and brag about it. They’re not limp-wristed girlie-men. That isn’t going to change until Clay Aiken becomes president.
I suspect a lot of liberals who act as though they’re horrified by Trump, secretly smiled to themselves when they woke up the day after the election knowing that a whole bunch of fat-cats on Wall Street and K Street were having a really, really bad day. I guess it’s the punk rocker in me, but between moments of disappointment and shock, I couldn’t help but chuckle that the voting public gave political establishment the biggest ‘fuck you’ in a long time, maybe ever.  

If Hillary’s campaign planted an actor posing as a truck driver at one of her rallies with a sign that read “Truckers Will Haul Hillary to Victory!” and then brought him up to the stage to address the people, then Tommy the Truck Driver could have won this election for Hillary. Instead she opted for born-rich millennial feminists finger-wagging to the public and chastising them about how bigoted they are if they vote for Trump.
I wouldn’t have voted for DJT, but man, I didn’t know schadenfreude levels could go this high watching famous people have meltdowns over the Trump victory. I didn’t think it was possible to cringe as hard as I did watching and reading celebs’ reactions to the Trump victory. They really have to be seen to be believed. I won’t quote Sarah Silverman or Lena Dunham’s painfully dumb bloviating for fear that I’ll OD on douche-chills, but go search them out for yourself. You’ll never read something so maudlin and pathetic in your entire life. You’d think their entire families fell into a volcano.
There’s a case to be made about abolishing the electoral college, but candidates don’t campaign for the popular vote. Bragging about winning the popular vote is like a coach bragging about scoring more playoff goals. Right, but you lost the game.
The Dems ran the wrong candidate, plain and simple. They ran a deeply unlikeable, uncharismatic establishment politician who colluded with the DNC and the press to discredit and smear Bernie Sanders (which violates most of our natural inclinations to fairness). Then they rammed her down voters’ throats and America barfed her up like a four day old fish taco.
Hillary and Bill with their Clinton Foundation are like Walter White and Skyler with their car-wash: a front to launder dirty money and favours. Have an A-1 day, America.

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