|As shocked as the rest of us|
I wanted to avoid discussing Election Night the day after, and was lucky that we had some medical appointments in Portland on Wednesday so that I was away from the computer (and the news) almost all day. Initially, I was fairly sanguine about the election results. I can afford to be – I am a middle-class, older male with less than a year left to retirement. If any of those attributes were different, I might be less sanguine. If ALL of them were, definitely so. Once I got home and read some of what others were saying, I made a vow to wait until five days had passed in order to have a clear head and a clean idea what, exactly, happens from here on.
I read lots of after-election analysis. Certainly, the Trump fans were happy. Gleeful. Ecstatic. And why not – they have the House, the Senate, POTUS, and many state legislatures and governorships. Life is good (for them) and we can expect a HARD turn to the right for the next two/four years.
Dems were sad. Shocked. Angry. Apoplectic, even. About that anger – it’s OK, IF we channel that anger to work hard and to fight for the things we all care about. Another direction to channel that anger is to get people to realize the importance of voting and in educating themselves about the issues.
And that’s why I decided to end my five day sabbatical four days early. It was clear to me in talking with people that there were many more “undecideds” this year than in the past. I figured that, with apathy (and downright disgust) towards both major candidates, more people would have a hard time choosing. I figured than one reason Clinton failed to gain the Electoral College majority was because of this, in the form of the new accidental Ralph Nader (Libertarian Gary Johnson). Mathematically, I’m right, but that’s not the answer.
Paul Harris had it first:
Raw numbers to remember: Obama got 65.9 million votes in 2012 while Romney got 60.9 million. As of 11am today (Wednesday), Clinton has 59.3 million, Trump has 59.1 million. Bottom line: Democrats and Obama supporters didn't show up and vote for her, to the tune of 6.6 million missed opportunities.
Here in Oregon we saw about 75% voter participation. That’s sounds pretty good, but frankly, that’s shit considering we have vote-by-mail. EVERYONE who is an eligible voter gets a ballot – all they have to do is fill it out and send it by mail (or drop it off at an election ballot drop site). No lines, no waiting, no muss or fuss. And yet 25% of those who could vote, did not.
And that’s the other thing – there were many who could not vote because they weren’t registered. Nationally, it was reported that almost HALF of Americans eligible to vote (more than 90 million) never cast a ballot. If you want to be angry about something, be angry about that. And it you didn’t vote, you have no right to be angry about anything.
So apathy about taking action is one thing. But “apathy” about being informed is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. This election showed that “Truthiness” no longer matters. Say whatever you want. Facts be damned. Fake news sites on social media like Facebook and Twitter were given the same “consideration” (I laughed when I wrote that) as NBC, Fox News, AP, and Reuters. Maybe more so, because they pushed the “National Enquirer”-type headlines that seems to eventually resonate into the MSM when reporting on the candidates, always with the “people are saying…” lead-in as if that was the gold standard of reporting.
No wonder people want to know how to block political posts on Facebook.
Oh, one more thing – Trump called for “draining the swamp,” yet, as always, incumbents ruled the day (as always, 90% of incumbents were reelected). In fact, many of those who pulled the level for Trump helped sent those incumbents back. Incumbents like Little Marco Rubio. And Ted Cruz. And many other Republicans who failed to “heartily endorse” Trump. Plus Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
That’s gonna be awkward. Top of Form
So how can we wake people up to (a) pay attention and (b) do something about it?
Well, let me make some post-election predictions first:
- James Comey’s job at the FBI is safe for now.
- The ACA is DOA. Its replacement? Don’t hold your breath. As many as 20 million people may lose their insurance. I wonder how many of these 20 million are part of the 90 million who didn’t vote.
- There will be no more Benghazi hearings, nor hearings on the Clinton Foundation or Orgy Island or whatever else drops in the next little while. No need – “Mission Accomplished,” if you get my drift. The GOP has more pressing issues – they already got what they wanted out of this one.
- Meanwhile, the Clintons will continue their foundation and their good works on the global stage, and not many will notice except the ones they assist.
- Based on his own speeches, tweets, and postings, Trump has made a LOT of “first day” promises, and plenty more for his first 100 days. It’s anybody’s guess whether he’ll be able to keep them all (hint: no).
- However, the promises he will keep will be the ones that will cause the most damage. Don’t take my word for it.
And that’s probably how people will have their eyes opened. Not by words alone, but with action. Things are going to shift hard right, for sure, but I believe they’re headed south as well. When things get bad enough, will the people finally pay attention?
As for me, I plan on giving Trump the same level of support the GOP gave Obama for eight straight years. Good luck!