Even though the 2016 presidential election concluded only a week ago with Donald J. Trump as the winner, I feel this post is late. I came to terms with the baffling results within 48 hours of the decision, and have moved on. But because it was such an important election with an outcome that stirred up so many emotions within me as well as millions of Americans, I feel it necessary to share some insights I’ve gained post-election.
I’ll start by saying that I was stunned, and still am a little bit. Mostly due to all the negative attention the media threw on Trump and the outrage among women after the Billy Bush tape leak. And the anger all non-whites shared from Trump’s ongoing racist remarks, it seemed like he really didn’t have a chance with minority groups, women on both sides, and liberals. With all that at his back, how could he possibly win?
(Not the whole reason, but you’re getting warmer.)
I made the same mistake everyone else did in assuming the above. Because I overlooked two very important factors in an election: one, the kind of people who show up to the polls on Election Day are typically baby boomers and seniors (not millennials, aged 18-35), and two: Hell hath no fury like a white man scorned.
Because that’s exactly what happened: Trump tapped into the hatred and fear of White Middle-Class, Middle-American Males and rode their anguish like a wave all the way to the Oval Office as the most unqualified candidate in American history. And for me, that was my biggest problem with Trump’s victory. I knew it was bad when I saw people writing off so much of the hateful rhetoric spewing from his mouth, often employing a variation on this phrase: “I know he says some crazy stuff, but you gotta admit he’s got some good ideas / he’s right on that issue.”
(“And he’s not peddling climate change like the last guy. Better return those shears.”)
The hate he was able to summon and subsequently command disturbed me, but what astounded me was that Trump’s complete and utter lack of experience was one of his biggest advantages.
His opponent, Hillary Clinton, has been in politics for thirty years and because she is a flesh and blood human being she is fallible. I’m not defending her nor am I saying she is perfect. She has made mistakes: like voting FOR the war in Iraq, her involvement with Ben Ghazi, and of course, the unspeakable act of using a private Email server.
(“Don’t forget your free taco bowl on the way out, ladies. Courtesy of Trump Tower.”)
Compare this to Trump’s political screw-ups: zero. His companies may have filed for bankruptcy six times, he may be in a constant state of suing someone or being sued, he may have bragged about sexual assault, condemned women who want abortions, and he may have ignited the flames of racism by calling Mexicans rapists and promising to build a wall, but politically speaking?
He is squeaky clean. And that’s why he was able to frame Hillary as a corrupt politician: because compared to a BLANK SLATE like Donald Trump, any politician looks corrupt, incompetent, and out to get you. The hallmark of the Republican Party is a distrust of big government, and boy did Donald Trump push that button, over and over again.
(“I’ve got the best temperament. Until I see shiny buttons. Then I have a slightly less-than-perfect temperament.”)
But Hillary Clinton is to blame also, because quite frankly, she was a weak candidate. Not compared to Trump, absolutely not. But compared to baseball. Compared to the Walking Dead and whatever is on Netflix tonight. On paper, she was far more qualified for presidency than her opponent, but the American people found her to be boring at best, and a corrupt government drone at worst.
And that’s a problem, because here’s the inconvenient truth: real politics, like doing your taxes, is utterly lacking in razzle dazzle and showmanship. It’s drawn out, dry, and only hardcore nerds actually enjoy it.
(“Today we defeated the Demogorgon. Tomorrow? International trade tariffs!!!”)
Until Mr. Realty Show Star Donald J. Trump came along, that is. The media swarmed on him like the last lifeboat off the Titanic, and covered him at every opportunity to get views, clicks, likes, and ad revenue. I don’t even want to know how fat journalists and late night comedians got off this never-ending election because of the controversies Trump stirred up, but I guarantee their ratings have never been higher.
And the best part was after creating Trump by giving him billions of dollars’ worth of free publicity, they sat back, utterly stunned that he cinched the election.
Why? What did they think was going to happen when they blasted his smug face and tiny hands onto every screen all over the world? Once you pitch a trailer for a new reality show and it gets a positive response from the focus group, of course the producers will run it. Unfortunately, this time it was the American people, and this reality show can’t be switched off for at least 4 years.
(So let’s hope that Naked and Afraid stays a reality show and not the replacement for our national motto, E pluribus unum.)
Finally, I’ll weigh in on the Electoral College and why I agree it needs to be fixed. When I was in Berkeley this past summer, I met a student who’s from Florida, and when I saw her on social media holding her absentee ballot I realized something: her vote is five times more valuable than mine, a New York resident.
And the reason is obvious: it’s a given that states like New York and California will vote blue and states like Texas will vote red, but swing states like Florida and Ohio have the power to tilt the election in their favor depending on the mood of the people. In other words, if I stay home and don’t vote, New York will still be blue, but when my Floridian friend mails in her absentee ballot, you better believe that little envelope packs a punch.
(“Hello, 911? Someone just dropped straight fire into the mailbox on Allston Way.”)
To recap, I feel that Donald Trump will be our 45th president because Trump was able to rally the Middle-Class, make politics into a reality show, and turn his biggest weakness (no political experience) into his biggest strength. It’s important to note that this is simply the conclusion that I reached as a moderate consumer of news media, and I’m sure that many readers will have a more comprehensive understanding, so feel free to add a COMMENT below if you agree or disagree. And as always be sure to SUBSCRIBE so you don’t miss any future posts, and SHARE the post if you felt it to be informative.
Thanks for reading,
J. F. Seegitz
P.S. The protests need to stop. If you’re a democrat, please honor our democracy and accept that you lost. If you’re a republican, please stop acting so self-righteous by making fun of them. Did you people just up and FORGET the Tea Party?