What went wrong?
Trump’s victory will continue to create an uproar all around the world. Democrats in the US can be expected to be particularly vocal. After all, for the second time in 16 years our candidate won the popular vote but failed to break the Electoral College.
What can be done about this? A lot. But since we’re Democrats it starts with a lot of internal reflection. That may not feel very good this year, but it’s traditional and wise.
I will start with the obvious: Sanders people, you were right.
First of all, the election was a referendum on Hillary Clinton. She attempted to make it a referendum on Trump, but it wasn’t. It could never have been, and trying to do so was a terrible mistake. The net result was a nasty, negative campaign which never told the world properly who she is and what she would do.
The lesson? Democrats have to stand for positive change. The negative stuff can be handled by PACs with independent expenditures, but the campaign has to be upbeat and positive.
Similarly, the contrast with Sanders comes across even more strongly than it did in the primaries. Sanders himself was a bad messenger – too old, too cranky. The next time we need a similar message sent by someone young and dynamic. But it has to have a few tweaks.
I hope that everyone who supported Sanders can now see hire dire the problem with racism is in America. This was never at the top of the list for today’s new progressives, but it has to be.
I hope that we can also see what the Republican machine can do with someone who has been around for a while. I now accept the notion that whoever we put up has to come from nowhere, much as Obama did. The less the machine can do to paint someone as a liar and a crook, the better. I maintain that 90% of what was said about Clinton was garbage, but it still stuck. There were too many years of the Big Lies being repeated to ignore.
I hope there is also room for some level of expression of faith. Our outreach for a new coalition has to include organizing in and around many faith-based communities, albeit ones outside of the traditional Protestant evangelical world. The ability to paint Clinton as some kind of heretic, despite being one of the most faithful Christians to run for office in a while, was appalling.
I hope that we can see the importance of a clear agenda, a “Contract With America” if you will. Clinton had a plan but it was lost in the noise of all the nonsense this time around. A solid plan which centers on opportunity for working people must be the core of any new effort.
I hope we can see the value of grass roots. We only barely lost the Presidency, really by a few votes here and there. We were killed in Congress. With four years to go we must identify and recruit good people who create and hone our platform, pitching it everywhere across America.
Similarly, the case for a new Federalism where states go their own way and prove what vital economic and inclusive things they can is vital. We must help who we can, where we can. It’s our turn to minimize the Federal role and move beyond it.
I hope we can have a solid generational change. If we learned one thing this time, it’s that old people are really cranky. Include me in that, I don’t care. Under 40 is where it is at. We can do this.
I hope for so many things. I hope we can all survive this, I hope we can get through. I hope that racism will not flare up and I hope we can start finding common ground.
Trump has a series of trials coming up which will dramatically undermine his credibility, even among Republicans. This has a long way to play out and we may yet learn how much more important activism is than elected power. That alone can transform this nation.
Where do we go from here? We must focus on who we are – as Democrats, as Americans, as decent and loving human beings. Everything else will come naturally if we can do that.
There are some hopeful signs, some not. I agree completely that it was a referendum on Clinton. She had the opponent most favorable to her (per Podesta wikileaks), and still lost.
1. We avoided another President Clinton or President Bush
2. Sanders and Trump both proved that crowdfunding and internet media can outperform PAC money. Nonsense lines about “electability” now deader than a doornail.
3. The intertwining of national media with political campaigns is revealed – will help future elections operate with more accurate information
4. The impartiality of party primary process will no longer be assumed without double checking.
5. Republicans, en masse, realized that their party does not give a fluff about their base. Democrats have all the necessary evidence to reach the same conclusion, presented on a silver platter – but have not yet put the pieces together.
6. One a more technical level, the dysfunction inherent in “either-or” choices and winner-take-all structure of 2-party system are ripe to be studied.
1. Trump is going to be president, with House, Senate, and an open Supreme Court appointment.
2. We might have an AG Giuliani (this worries me 100x more than Trump)
3. the D party establishment proved to be more far gone than I think most people thought until now.
4. Both candidates were abysmal on foreign policy (the concept of justice and consequences in international affairs was completely absent), so the election produced no advances there.
5. Bernie endorsed Clinton, Jill Stein got zip.
Good list. To me, it’s all about generational change now. That’s what we need.
What do you mean by a generational change? I’m all for appealing to under-40s, but old people vote (or are, at least, more likely to).
I tend to agree with the idea of picking someone ‘new’ is a good idea. Also, it was pretty obvious that Trump/the Republican candidate was going ask Clinton, “You’ve had all of this time in office and what have you done? How did you vote on each and every issue?” I don’t know personally and you probably know more than me. However, the question places the seed of doubt for people who might not be quite as sympathetic. Also, one problem I read in the UK media analysis, the problem was that, what Sanders and Obama said about her in the respective Primaries stuck. That’s another problem the Democrats had in choosing a losing candidate. I know things change and anyone can learn from setbacks, but again, its something which allows the seed of doubt to be planted ie “What’s changed?” or “How has Hilary Clinton, a losing candidate in 2008, become your best candidate in 2016?”
Some of the markets went down on the morning after and the reports were saying things like “Clinton would have been a known quantity” (or the reverse for Trump). She’s had a long time in politics (post 2000) to establish that. I never had a problem with ‘another Clinton’ (or Bush in 2000). After all, there was no dynastic guarantee that either were going to be elected (unlike a dynastic guarantee that Prince Charles will become King one day). I can see how there might have been the impression of a dynasty though. Had Clinton won, on Tuesday, in 2020 then 24 of the previous 32 years there would have been either a Bush or Clinton as POTUS.
I never really liked Trump. A person who inherited his initial wealth, is now a billionaire trading on his name and attended things like the Presidential Press Party advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest, cutting down on regulation (ie someone else’s protection) whilst always saying that he is ‘a man of the people’ not a member of the ‘establishment’. We know the man is a liar. I’m now a little worried about the Geo-Political fall out (if any) from a Trump presidency (May, Merkal, Tredeau and Xi offered fairly pragmatic recognition and support of his election victory). Frankly, I don’t even think he’s fit to be the Christmas Santa down at the supermarket.
However, I’ll reserve judgement on a Trump Presidency until afterwards. I just hope that’s four, not eight, years.
The world is changing rapidly, for a lot of reasons. Older people who woke up in a different world one day tend to be fearful and resentful. To the young, this is the only world they have ever known. And it is up to them to make it their world one day.
We need them to have more control over this world, IMHO. They have the perspective to navigate it and the decisions made today will guide where it goes. Some elder wisdom to guide them is good, of course, but it should be tempered with the knowledge that it’s not really our world anymore.
We will survive this.
We always seem to. But some will struggle much more than others.
Time to be organized. Sitting down is complicity.
I agree. If we learned one thing from the Nazis, it is this.