November 11, 2016
Since the inception of social media, it’s been my philosophy to maintain political and ideological neutrality when writing publicly; I don’t plan on changing that today. However, this election has taught me a number of personal lessons that belie any particular ideology:
1. There are a lot of disenfranchised people in this country, most of whom don’t live in our population or business centers. They are folks who feel they aren’t benefiting from the incredible economic success and growth our country has experienced over the past decades. They’ve placed their frustration, rightly or wrongly, at the feet of globalization and immigration.
2. Those of us who live in more metropolitan parts of the country are, with all due respect, relatively oblivious to the plight of those mentioned in #1 above. We’re so disconnected, in fact, that this outcome was the shock of a lifetime. The media is no different than those of us in #2 above; even the most respected pundits, pollsters, and so-called experts did not call this outcome and were equally shocked and misguided in their predictions.
3. The political parties are dysfunctional and need to be reformed; it is simply inconceivable that the Democratic Party actively biased the democratic process in favor of one of their candidates, Secretary Clinton, over another, Senator Bernie Sanders.
4. Our democratic process is robust enough to allow a candidate to hijack a political party; by all accounts, President-Elect Donald Trump was able to gain the nomination of the Republican Party against the Party leadership’s own desires (unlike his counterpart in the Democratic Party, Senator Bernie Sanders).
5. It’s possible to overcome a so-called “rigged” ecosystem; irrespective of one’s position on Mr. Trump, it was clear that the vast majority of our country’s power structure, political and economic elites, and mass media were not in his favor. Despite this, he was able to win the nomination and ultimately the election (even with Fox News itself no longer backing him).
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6. Even the “outsider” candidate can be an insider; after all, it’s hard for anyone to argue against Mr. Trump’s privileged upbringing, background, and lifestyle. Despite this, he was able to position himself as a “man of the people” who can relate to working-class Americans in the face of a “rigged” system, this despite the fact we’re talking about a system in which he is a billionaire.
7. Sexism remains alive and well in the U.S., even among self-described progressives; regardless of Mrs. Clinton’s ethical challenges, I don’t believe it is those things that made her unpopular even with long-time Democrats. I believe it was her personality and demeanor that did not match many so-called “progressive” Americans’ expectations of what a woman, mother, and grandmother should be. I come away wondering if a man with her experience, intellect, and strength, even in the face of ethical challenges, would have fared much better with Democrats. After all, even Mr. Trump’s supporters would agree that he had an incredible number of ethical and moral challenges throughout his campaign.
8. This disenfranchisement and the aforementioned phenomena aren’t isolated to the U.S., but are becoming increasingly more prevalent in other wealthy Western countries including as the UK with its recent and equally-surprising Brexit vote. It’s only a matter of time until a similar surprise outcome occurs in Germany, France, and other Western European economies with disproportionate wealth accumulation.
Best of wishes to everyone across the country and world irrespective of whom (if anyone) you backed. I would appreciate it if no toxic comments are posted to this thread.
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