10 quick thoughts on the 2016 election

Last night was the big once-every-four-year party known as the Presidential elections.

Today, though, it’s the morning after and some of us our are looking at the person in bed with us thinking “Jesus! How much did I drink last night? I don’t even remember talking to anyone?” Others are happy as a pig in shit because they’ve just broken an 8-year drought and now, right here, is a person that seems like a dream come true.

But most of us who aren’t so emotionally involved with the ceremonial election of the nation’s leader, are likely shaking our heads. And some people will proudly say that they saw this coming – that they aren’t surprised at the least – that there were signs along the way to show that this is exactly what would happen.

I was surprised about Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton, but I’ll say I was less surprised and shocked than many of the people in my circles. That’s because I also have some conservative circles, which I love, because they always keep me up on a different point of view. And believe it or not, I value that.

Here are my quick morning-after thoughts on the election of 2016.

  1. Bernie would’ve beaten Trump. This was a populist election, and there was no taste for a president who was as qualified as Clinton. People have had it up to the gills with the political parties, with political professionals, and with a system that ignores their concerns. I think the math favored Bernie all along. He mobilized an army of young voters. Democrats would’ve supported him, and a number of conservatives I know would’ve voted for him over Trump. But they were never, ever going to vote for Clinton.
  2. Clinton, and to some degree her most ardent supporters, were arrogant and presumptive about this election. I watched the energy drain out of this race the day Bernie dropped out. I saw kids who had phone banked, walked neighborhoods, and get their friends registered to vote just stop. And Clinton’s people just chastised them for not supporting the heir apparent in Clinton. If Clinton’s team wanted to win, they would’ve pegged Bernie as her running mate, or somehow incorporated him into the campaign more. Tim Kaine – seriously! That guy was as dull and flat as a piece of construction paper. It might have been unconventional, I know, but Bernie brought more energy and excitement to the presidential race than I’ve ever seen before. She could’ve captured that energy and used it for her campaign. Instead, Bernie’s supporters were left without a candidate they could support. This election was different, and the Democratic party failed to see that. The Republicans saw it, and they promoted their populist candidate, and he’s now going to be president. I know there were die hard Hillary supporters out there, and they have every right to be disappointed and hurt right now. But it was a mistake to think a win was possible without capturing the energy that was created by a younger block of voters who were eager to work so tirelessly on Bernie’s behalf. (Note: I have a thing or two to say to Bernie supporters, particularly the younger ones, but that is too much for now and requires a different post. But I’ll say this: You don’t change the world by putting all your effort into a figure head, even if that figure head was as awesome as Bernie. You’re going to have to do some work, hard work, if you want to change anything).
  3. Donald Trump isn’t as crazy as you think. I’m convinced 90% of his absurdity is show. He’s perfected the art of modern celebrity culture and reality television. In his instability, his off color remarks, and his obnoxious behavior, there’s a sense among some that he is authentic. At least more authentic than what we’ve been getting out of our politicians for the past 30 to 40 years. Politics is part political machine and part marketing machine, and Trump certainly had the edge in the marketing department. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. 
  4. You can no longer tell voters that they have to vote for the least objectionable flavor of shit. It’s intolerable, particularly to younger voters – as mentioned before, they just stop participating. In this election, being told that you had to vote for Hillary or you’d get Trump, or that you had to vote for Trump or you’d get Hillary, felt something like blackmail. People are sick of it, and they want something and someone to vote for. They are tired of defensive voting. Hillary relied to a large degree on the bad taste people held about Trump without really weighing the bad taste people had for her, or the Bush/Clinton dynasty that has held power for 24 or the last 32 years.
  5. Republicans are out of excuses. They’ve spent the past eight years complaining about Obama. Saying he’s an obstructionist who won’t work with them. They’ve used the president as a campaign gimmick. They’ve blamed every single problem in this country at the president’s feet. Now, the GOP has the president, the House and the Senate. If things keep sucking, there is no one left to blame. Republicans in 2017 will literally hold all the cards. Americans need to hold them accountable if this country isn’t the shining dream world those candidates promised it would be if we gave them the power.
  6. I really hope that Clinton supporters, democrats and liberals don’t start behaving the way I would expect Trump supporters to behave had he lost. Name calling, hatred, and vitriolic statements, particularly those that attack people at the personal level because of who they supported for president, does not solve one damn problem.
  7. Seriously, can we get a third party now? Not the Libertarians, who seem to put up the most energetic pot head they can find. Not the Green Party, which is an absolute joke. I mean a third party, with structure and leaders and people who can raise non-corporate money like Bernie and speak with some intelligence and grasp of the issues.
  8. The good news in Kansas is that Sam Brownback and Kris Kobach likely aren’t our problems anymore. They, astutely, buddied up to Trump. I expect Brownback might end up at the head of the USDA. Kobach might end up as Attorney General, with ICE or Homeland Security. But they won’t be in Kansas anymore. Also, there’s been a complete change in the Kansas Legislature. While you’re being all upset about the presidential election, here in Kansas, voters returned their state to the people – and that is far more important. (An aside: I’ve not been kind to either of these people, so what’s good for Kansas might not be good for me. Capiche?)
  9. Life goes on. This isn’t the end of America. This isn’t the end of Democracy. This doesn’t mean WWIII (we’re already in that, by the way, we’re just pretending otherwise). My prediction – and I’m going out on a limb here – is that you will get up and go to work. You’ll live life much like you did the day before. You’ll take your kids to school in the morning and tuck them in bed at night. And America will do its thing for the next several years, just like it always has before.
  10. If you really want to unite the country and prevent this shit show of an election season from happening again, if you want to establish a government that really works for people, stop calling the other side stupid, libtards, Nazis, etc., and find what Bernie supporters and Trump supporters have in common. Find that, and you will find about 70-80 percent of people on the same page. And then, maybe, we can get something accomplished. Behind this election is a weary demand that our government once again begins to work on our behalf. Trump supporters and Bernie supporters share this idea, even if they lay the blame at different places. But most of the country is struggling, has been for 40 years, and they are tired of it. Bernie’s people blame the ruling elite and the wealthy; Trumps people blame the ruling elite and progressives, or at least progressive ideals. But they have more in common than people realize – and that is a demand that our government start paying attention to growing difficulty of simply existing in America today.

One more thing I thought about later this morning.

If you’re liberal, and you think this is the worst thing ever, that this is going to set the country back 50 years and undo generations of progress, you are wrong. The country at times, stumbles, but it doesn’t fall, at least not for long before it gets back up. If you’re conservative, and you think this election is going to restore America to its glorious past, you are wrong. First, that time never really existed. If it exists at all, it’s in our future, not our past. In fact, I suspect that this election is the death rattle of an aging form of thought. We’ve seen this before. The political machine did all it could to keep Theodore Roosevelt out of office, but he forced the country to move forward. The country’s richest men considered a military coup of the government when Franklin Roosevelt proposed Social Security. We’ve had a civil war, bad presidents, scandals, wars, depressions and still time moves on. One generation is replaced with a new one, and, eventually, that generation grows old, dies and is replaced by another. It is the way it has always been. Progress and time win 100% of the time, every time. Elections might slow progress, but they can never stop it.

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