Activist Monday: The Election Was Rigged, and The Establishment Candidate “Won.” Now WWDD?
Posted November 21, 2016on:
Good afternoon, all. In the midst of furious prepping for my first Thanksgiving at my new house (thank Goddess I have no Trumpsters in my family), I am hastily writing my still-jumbled thoughts on what happened, and how the election has blown “politics as usual” into smithereens. And even though we’ve heard that meme since the Circus Peanut launched himself into this race from the Tower bearing his name in giant gilt letters, what we never heard during the campaign was what that would mean for America. Far, far too late, Americans, even those who voted for him, are starting to understand just how bad it’s going to be, and just how hard we’re going to have to fight back against the dystopian nightmare he will try to impose on our unwilling country.
My first thought is that the election rigging that Drumpf endlessly whined and Tweeted about, 13-year-old boy style, was indeed accomplished – but on Republicans’ behalf. The Manhattan Meerkat benefited from years of Thuglican gerrymandering and passage of anti-Democratic voter ID laws, some “coincidentally” passed in the last few months, to very, very narrowly win a few swing states…while losing the popular vote by (at latest count) approximately 1.7 million votes. The margin of victory in Michigan is less than 12,000 in favor of the “president-elect”; the margin in Pennsylvania is less than 80,000. In the other 37 states not considered “swing,” the voting was not at all close, with vast swaths of the American population agreeing that #lovetrumpshate.
Secondly, with all the bullsh*t about the Orange Creamsicle being anti-establishment and the “outsider” in the race, it was quite clear that the media elites wanted him to win very, very badly. Why? Because now, in the new age of social media reigning over all, they have been trained to worship at the feet of a certain type of candidate they find “authentic” and accessible. Opinion-makers and pundits routinely and incessantly make the case to Americans that what matters most in a President is something they call “authenticity,” but I call “folksiness” – the ability to sound as though you’re speaking off-the-cuff and directly to each person listening. There’s an emotional appeal to candidates with folksiness (otherwise known as “have-a-beer-with”), who, lately, have been combining this quality with feel-good branding and slogans, like “Hope” and “Change” a la Obama, and “Make America Great Again” a la Drumpf. If you think about it, the past several Presidents have all been folksy, whereas their opponents have not been. Bill Clinton: folksy. Dubya: folksy. Gore, Kerry, McCain and Romney: Not folksy (although Gore did win the popular vote, just barely). Drumpf and Bernie Sanders, folksy; Hill a Reeeeee, not folksy. But wait, you might say – I don’t see how a 70-year-old white male billionaire who lives in a huge penthouse in Noo Yawk can be folksy. Ah, but in this case, an emotional slogan and TEH P*NIS were combined with The Donald’s out-of-control Tweeting and off-the-cuff word-salading to make him folksier than HRC in the media’s eyes.
Let’s be honest here: even those of us who love her know that Hillary is not folksy. She’s a passionate, do-gooding wonk, which is perfect for governing, but not great for campaigning, at least not in the teeny tiny minds of the Beltway media. And so, Drumpf got about $3 billion in free advertising, while Our Girl got about 1.1 billion – mostly focused on important issues like her coughing, her alleged snubbing of the press, and her f*cking godd*mn email server. Yes, this was a sexist issue. Can you imagine Colin Powell, the great and godly liar and war criminal, ever paying the consequences for his waving of a vial of baking soda at the UN and claiming Saddam had weapons of mass destruction?! Yet Hillary is the one who is a threat to national security?! Come on, people. COME ON. And yes, Hillary voted for the AUMF. So did almost every other sitting senator, most of whom were men, and who did not get relentlessly pummeled by the Warren/Sanders worshipers for it either. And from the center-left folks, too: John Kerry voted for it. Crickets.
The media’s sexism, built-in bias towards folksiness, and desire for revenue led to a fatal lack of self-awareness and ability to understand itself as the Fourth Estate playing a crucial part in American democracy. That, and the wildfire spread of fake news on Facebook, Twitter and Google, were a huge factor in the rigging of the election, and only now does the media seem to be actually explaining what all that stuff about blowing away democratic norms really means. Like that story in the Washington Post yesterday about the dangerous conflicts of interest that will arise from Der Drumpferer’s unwillingness to divest himself of his businesses before the inauguration. Obama is even weighing in on this one. But where were these people, including Obama, before the election? Why did the media dutifully report, every once in a while, on the feces-throwing baboon’s refusal to release his tax returns, without connecting those dots? Why didn’t they cover him assuming he had nefarious motives for not releasing them, instead of assuming he didn’t? This is a guy who has been involved in over 4,000 lawsuits in this life, and is well-known for illegal financial maneuvers like stiffing his employees and using money from charitable donations to purchase a statue of himself. He was allowed to continue forward with this ominous lack of transparency with zero consequences from the media, and given the benefit of every doubt, whereas Hillary was pilloried mercilessly for her alleged lack of honesty and trustworthiness, despite being the most honest politician in the race.
So what will Democrats do now, knowing that the true maverick in the race, the first female candidate for President ever, won the popular vote but lost the election? They can go a few different ways.
One way is “OMG let’s court the white working class!” Uh, no. First of all, it’s the white middle/working class, who usually vote Republican, and their numbers are declining rapidly. There’s no future in that; there are more of us than them. Second of all, they voted for the billionaire wearing a dead animal on his head because they liked his slogan, and they’re racist and sexist and xenophobic. These are idiots whose votes we may never get. And frankly, I’d say they can go f*ck themselves, except that since Drumpf is going to ignore every single campaign promise he made and screw them to the wall, they’ve already done that. Enjoy your poverty and death, Trumpsters, courtesy of Making America Hate Again!
Another way is “Let’s give him a chance, and try to work with him!” Uh, no. Why the hell would we do that? Because no one knows what he’s going to do? Not buying that at all. I know what he’s been saying and who he’s been putting on his team. Those aren’t the words and actions of someone who deserves a chance. Those are the words and actions of someone who deserves to be IN JAIL. Donald Trump is continuing to conduct business in India and nominating neo-Nazi types for key strategic positions. What else do we need to see? Well, I guess if you’re Bernie Sanders, his unprincipled supporters, or (perhaps) Chuck Schumer, all you need is access to power. I suppose many members of the Reichstag felt the same. Didn’t turn out so well for them either.
The best way is to re-brand the Democrats as a Party that stands for the people. Not just white Christian people; all the people, the ones who elected Hillary Clinton President of the United States and whose majority voices have been muffled by an anachronistic construct called the Electoral College. Nothing that Drumpf does, including being inaugurated, should be considered legitimate, and should always be branded as negative. Yes, that is straight out of the Rethug playbook – and why not? In our case, we’re not lying about a man’s place of birth or his religion. We’re just telling the truth. He was brought into power by a rigged election and he’s not our President, nor will he ever be. If he actually does anything to make our country better, it will be either completely by accident, or will turn into something negative down the road. Just think of him like a dumber, less experienced Dubya, and you’ll get the picture just fine. (Pence and Bannon are his Cheney and Rove, respectively.)
In order to do this, I think the first thing the Democrats should do is to start recruiting some new blood. Most of the top Democrats are older white men, just like the top Republicans. A guy with Keith Ellison’s profile is a step in the right direction, although he seems to be ignoring the rigging and focusing on turnout; still, he’s young and of color, which is good. (A woman would be better.) I also caution them against relying too much on the august wrinkled brow of soon-to-be-former President Obama; he was head of the DNC before, and he did nothing with it at all except to raise money for his own re-election. He couldn’t have cared less about the national Party or down-ballot races. Maybe he’s changed, who knows – but my skepticism meter is very high. Let’s also not forget millennials, now the highest voting population in America. While they can be quite frustrating in their desire to be recognized for awesomeness they haven’t earned, they are idealistic, smart, ambitious and willing to change the world. Let’s give them a seat at the table, shall we?
As for us, in true Widdershin style, we’ll pull up our sleeves and get busy with feet on the street, calls, emails and petitions like this. I know expecting the Electoral College to go against, well, the Electoral College, is a long shot at best…but who knows, with Facebook and Twitter finally starting to do their part against fake news and neo-Nazi propaganda, maybe by the time December rolls around, there will be a holiday miracle under our tree. I’m sure Our Girl would be ready on Day Whatever, as usual.
Should that miracle not happen, I personally am waiting for Hillary to figure out her next move. If there is an opportunity for me to apply for a job working for her, I will do so. I don’t think she’s done, and neither are we.
So as Fredster said this weekend, hope is our theme. We can go forward, and so can the Democrats. We have the majority on our side, after all.
This is an open thread.
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