Disorganized Post-Election Thoughts

1. Fuck. Seriously, what the fuck?

I realize this is a very widely-held opinion,  it today, I am not particularly contrarian.

2. Corollary: how did everyone manage to get this wrong? Polls, pundits, prognosticators all had Clinton in the lead, and comfortably so. Unless there were shenanigans, they all got it wrong in a failure of Dewey-defeats-Truman-es que proportions. And I haven’t seen any obvious signs of unforeseen shenanigans.

3. Could there have ban shenanigans? Could Anonymous or someone have rigged the election? I suppose anything’s possible, and I’m sure people will be looking into this possibility in the coming days, but it doesn’t feel like it.

Rather, this feels like a systemic mistake everyone made. Like underestimating how many bigots would come out to vote for one of their own.

4. In a way, this is understandable, because even though Trump’s an unabashed bigot and sexist who’s broken many of the rules everyone took for granted, surely some ground rules must still hold, right? Like, having a GOTV operation to get your voters to the poll helps you, and not having one hurts you, right?

And for this reason, I can’t really resent the people who voted for third-party candidates and handed Trump victory in races that turned out to be closer than expected. They probably didn’t think they were really going to change anything, and neither did any of the rest of us.

5. Looking forward, it’s possible that the Trump regime won’t be as bad as we fear. For as much as he’s talked about setting up horrible policies, he’s not Hitler. He’s not enough of an ideologue for that. He’s just in it for the attention and the glory.

Of course, that means that we need to start worrying about what de facto policymaker Mike Pence is going to do.

6. And related to point 5, since the Republican party is going to be in control of the presidency and both chambers of Congress, whatever happens over the next two to four years, they’re going to own it. If it turns out to be good, then great, although given recent history, I have low hopes for the Republican party.

But if it turns to shit, don’t let them forget it.

7. And as a follow-up, dust off your activism handbooks, because we’re going to need them. I’m not advocating an intransigent obstructionism like what Republicans have been inflicting on Obama for the past eight years. Oppose bad ideas, not Republican ideas.

8. Finally, no, I don’t have any uplifting parting thoughts, or even a picture of a kitten. Come back later.

6 thoughts on “Disorganized Post-Election Thoughts”

  1. The best links I’ve seen about it: http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-reasons-trumps-rise-that-no-one-talks-about/

    What I said about it elsewhere:

    warning: passionate soapbox
    I have a plan. Feel free to discard if this is not helpful to you.

    I don’t think the narrative of Angry White People is completely explanatory. Most of the people I know who voted for Trump were Native American or Latin@. Most of them gave as their reasons a distrust of system insiders in general and Clinton in particular. So it wasn’t that they thought “go sexism/racism/idiocy!”, it was that they felt economically screwed over and wanted someone outside the system to administer a corrective. Therefore.

    1) Don’t give up. Don’t let us slide further into fascism, authoritarianism, and hate through a feeling of helplessness.
    2) Defend people whose rights need defending. (I expect a lot of my liberal friends are about to get religion on team civil liberties. We can do it together!)
    3) Make some friends in groups of people who are not like me. I have a head start in the [my volunteer group], they’re all pretty conservative. Be kind. Be polite. Be friendly. Be helpful. Listen. And let them know that I’m a bisexual poly woman with an occasional disability that lives in Seattle. When you put a face on the Other, it’s harder to demonize those evil liberal city slickers who don’t understand us. I’ll be that friendly face.

    I think a lot of the poison in our current political dialogue comes from that othering, of making our friends and neighbors and relatives into The Enemy, of breaking those connections in the social fabric out of fear. I’m not going to do it. I’m going to be the beloved sympathetic hippie idealist friend who will be there for you in a crisis, and who also believes in peace and freedom and civil liberties. I’m not going to yield my mind to reactive fear. We have a broken political situation. We can hide under the bed or we can meet it with grace and resolve.


    1. I love that Cracked article. It really did hit the nail. To bolster some of their discussion, did you know that about .5% of America lives on $2/day or less? (that’s still 1.5 million) I spend a lot of time working with communities that are desperately poor. The type of community where cancer patients who are trying to die peacefully at home have to keep a gun at hand to keep the roaming gang of drug addicts from breaking into their house and stealing their pain meds. (Yes. This happens.) Or they use that gun to feed the family or fight off bears. And then you have the “City Folk” who talk about gun control and demonize them for trying to stay alive because one angry man went crazy and shot people. Trying to find innovative ways to make my donations feed 30 people for the long term. Trying to find ways to explain why we allow illegal immigration when we have so many desperate and out of work. Did I mention desperate? Because sometimes when I am trying to figure out how we can feed a group of people for a month on $200 because there is NO INDUSTRY where these people can work, I FEEL DESPERATE. When I spend weekends with the homeless in a county that has a per capita income higher than almost anywhere else in the US but I can’t figure out how to get one sane deserving woman out of the shelter and into a permanent situation because an apartment or room in this area near services is ~$900/month and I don’t have that kind of money to donate. When I see that the same men show up in the winter shelter year after year, drunk every night, and I know that they’ll end up in the Emergency Room at least 5 times over a winter because of exposure gained when they had no where to go during the day hours. When the crash happens and you know that the bankers got enough money to pay off most of the mortgages in the US yet nothing went out to the people. Shovel ready, my ass. When I know that we are ALL just one disaster away from the same homeless situation as these people. When the churches are demonized as entertainment or bigoted or child molesters or uneducated idiots, but the churches are the only source of shelter we have for the desperate homeless in our county because the only homeless shelter is dedicated to those that can actually get better, not the hopeless cases.

      Will this get better with the change in leadership? Probably not. But it sure as Fuck wouldn’t have gotten better with the same leadership. At least this group recognizes that they should probably listen to the Great Unwashed. Clinton appeared to feel entitled to the position and had no need to listen or compromise on anything. (I can’t actually think about her without feeling the Tourette’s part of my brain start spewing obscenities.)

      And yeah, there are moments I want to howl in frustration and slam my fist into a wall because there ARE NO REAL SOLUTIONS. I see what’s coming with automation and AI. I cannot save the world. I am one human that just wants to not see other humans drown. Is that so much to ask? It looks like it may be.


      1. Sigh. After re-reading that comment, I think it’s time for me to get off teh intehwebs and go relax in meatspace. Around people.


    2. Thanks for the references and your own experience. Those were helpful.
      It’s also ironic, since it seems that fixing the middle class would be something that should work for everyone, liberal and conservative, Republican and Democrat, and if we could just get our act together, we could, to reuse an old expression, lift all boats.


      1. Yeah, I’m totally not looking forward to the Orange Crush gathering up the reins of power in his stubby little pussy-grabbing hands. (shhhh, can’t say that too loud. I might get sued.)

        But I can understand the frustration. Ever see the movie “Bullworth”? It’s worth a watch.


  2. If we can’t manage to find at least some good points in another viewpoint’s arguments, we’re likely not trying hard enough. I haven’t been a huge fan of Obama (despite voting for him in the first round), but he has done some things I have liked.

    Clinton’s people and the DNC machine f*ed over Bernie Sanders. Bernie would have won. Frankly, Elizabeth Warren would probably have run if Hillary hadn’t crouched over the nomination and bared her teeth until no one significant attempted it. O’Malley? Come on –we all know he was in there so she’d have someone to tromp. A primary debate that consists of one woman on stage would have been pitiful. We never even heard about Jill Stein in the campaign though Johnson was talked about a great deal. Could it possibly have been that Dr. Stein (who is just 3 years younger) was articulate and passionate and would have been a foil for Hillary (not in a good way for Clinton)?

    I have always believed that Trump’s victory had everything to do with media shaping the outcome. It corresponded to social psych tenets. We certainly know that the Republicans didn’t cheat in his election in the primary because the party certainly didn’t want him as the candidate. They did try with the CO primary cancellation, and had livid Republicans from all over –even those that didn’t support Trump.

    Clinton had EVERY advantage. Google and Facebook shaped her traffic for her and buried anything negative. The media carried water for her daily. Hell, now we know they even called to talk about what should be in the articles they published and the questions they posed.

    It bluntly comes down to the fact that most of the public distrusted Hillary Clinton. Whether you blame it on her email server, her Clinton Foundation, the pay-for-play schemes that were rampant, or her absolutely charming personality to her underlings that became legendary for her rages, the public didn’t trust her. I find that I typically vote about the same way as Susan Sarandon, over the years. Even when I don’t pick her candidate, I respect her judgement. After what the DNC did to the Sanders supporters without even a particle of an attempt to mend fences, well, I am truly not surprised. And the polls? To get Clinton to poll that high they were skewing the base. Nate Silver even warned about that. Plus, after all the demonization, the Trump Silent Majority was a real thing. No one would admit they would vote for Trump. But we saw in the primary that they did.

    It was a close election. Very close. No one liked either of these candidates. (If you did like one of them, sorry, you’re not in the majority.) But people are really tired of the idea that the government can just run roughshod over them. “If you want to read it, pass it.” Little Sisters of the Poor and birth control. Killing an American citizen in Yemen without a trial. Killing foreigners with drones. Ignoring some crime and paying too much scrutiny to other crime. Executive orders that give sweeping powers without the benefit of congressional approval. (That one is going to be FUN under the coming Prez.) The TPP. Black Lives Matter. Rampant unemployment among recent grads. And when the public gets tired, you see them swing violently the opposite way for a while.

    At the end of the day, neither one of these two large parties matter overly much. There’s a machine running underneath them that dictates what laws pass and what focus will be given to which issue. Soros, Sussman, Google, Facebook, whatever. These are our real rulers.


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