“I can’t belive this,” is the most common text message I get from friends, and see on social media. Of course being from a California bubble, we are stunned. We can only have a Californian perspective. But how do we handle this surprise?
I for one am given to thinking so that I may process my feelings.
First the facts, it seems Democrats no longer have a path to the presidency. Hillary Clinton has now called to concede the race to President-Elect Trump. Republicans have won the senate majority hitting the required 51 Senators, Republicans have maintained the control of Congress with the necessary 218+ Congress members, thereby effectively winning the Supreme Court.
What happened? So far there’s a lot of theories and there will be more Monday morning quarter backing tomorrow, Wednesday, but ultimately we learned America is more sexist and more racist than we expected. It turns out the story is that women didn’t vote for Hillary in the numbers expected, Latinos didn’t show up to the polls in droves and Blacks weren’t even close to the electorate of the Obama elections. So there ya have it. Why did each of these groups vote as such, is an even deeper question, where the blame game will no doubt dominate in the following weeks. Ultimately it comes down to personal responsibility – no scapegoating allowed. I heard commentators say Latinos didn’t vote because they didn’t feel invested in – I for one, as a Latina feel like that’s a cop-out – its your future, you put in the investment. Ultimately if you’re as stunned as I am, America isn’t what you thought it was. [Updated at 6:06 am on Wed] I should have my Political Science Degree revoked – but so do all Political Scientists, and our professors. This election does not follow any existing pattern, and if the average person couldn’t see it coming, it’s because there was no long term warning in the history of America before Donald Trump appeared on the scene. Also, as someone who has worked and volunteered on political campaigns since 2006 in countless races, it’s unthinkable to believe that despite outraising him and outspending him on TV, and more than doubleing the ground game through well established systems, that Hillary would not result triumphant.One more thought – which you will not hear on any network or on the media, but if we are to share blame they should take responsibility for the billions of dollars worth of free media that they provided to Mr. Trump to line their own pockets through viewership, and ads revenue.]
What will happen? Answering the first question leads us to the second. If America and American voters aren’t who you thought they were, then who is America and who is this American electorate that made this happen? These Americans are fearful, hateful, resentful, largely uneducated, and liars – because this type of electoral surprise occurs when people lie to pollsters. Why do they lie to pollsters? Because they’re afraid to be identified as the aforementioned type of Americans. America will now have a leader that is a bully, that sets an example that hate, tantrums, yelling is not only acceptable but clearly a winning strategy. Denying obvious truths repeatedly is the way that Donald ran his campaign and the way he will run his administration. I don’t for one minute doubt that this victory will embolden the bigots, the sexists, the racists, and the haters. I fear for LGBTQ friends, for bold women who will be made to cower, for the undocumented individuals that I know, that I work with and that I am friends with. I fear for disabled individuals. I fear for the children who will grow up in this hostile environment. And although military families tend to be and vote Republican, I fear for them too because a President that does not understand diplomacy will put our men and women in the military in harm’s way.
What didn’t happen? As a long time Hillary supporter, the kind that passionately tried persuading democrats in the 08 primary election this is a particular hurtful thought. We didn’t elect the first woman president! We didn’t break the glass ceiling. We didn’t elect the MOST qualified presidential candidate (man or woman) who has devoted her ENTIRE life to public service – even while in college when she was a Republican. We didn’t believe in her experience. We didn’t believe in ourselves that we could make a difference, we didn’t believe we were worth the time to vote, or to take this election seriously. Even worse, we didn’t believe in each other to move forward together. We didn’t believe in the best that is within us. We didn’t believe that maybe women ARE equally capable and deserving as men. We didn’t believe in the character of hard-working immigrants to just like any of us.
I am angry about what happened. I am fearful about what will happen and I am heartbroken about what didn’t happen.
So much is out of our control and I have learned from W. Mitchell, that “it is not what happens to us, but how we respond to it” that matters. For now I don’t know what that will be for me, but I hope it’s in a positive way, in a loving way, and in a way that can make a small difference.
(Tweet me at @osum)