I don’t think Trump won, as much as I think Hillary lost.
I’ve already seen the cries of sexism and misogyny echoing around the web-o-sphere.
Really, c’mon now, progressives. Do we have to retreat there? At the risk of sounding like a concern troll, let me tell you that the amount of sexism and misogyny at work in Hillary’s collapse was a tiny thing compared to the overwhelmingly negative reputation Hillary has accumulated for herself across almost five decades in the public spotlight. At some point you have to quit hiding behind accusations, and face the reality that Hillary Rodham Clinton was a scheming, conniving, selfish, self-interested, lying, manipulative, altogether terrible candidate for President.
I know it’s gospel doctrine for everyone under 40 that the only reason anyone didn’t vote for Hillary, is because her vagina terrifies the Red Staters. But really, if people can peel themselves away from Jon Stewart re-runs long enough to examine Hillary’s collapse with a non-biased eye, it comes down to a glaring lack of credibility on Hillary’s part. And all of the most egregious wounds were self-inflicted. Nobody forced Hillary to call 1/4 to 1/2 of the entire country deplorable. That was a cute remark entirely of Hillary’s devising, because she assumed — oh yes, we all assumed — that Hillary was protected by a demographic and political bubble through which nothing about her past could penetrate.
Hillary knew in her heart she had earned the White House.
I thought for sure she’d earned it too — crookedly, and in true Clinton style.
So I confess to being utterly surprised by these results. Even more than I was when Romney lost in 2012. And I thought Romney had it in the bag.
My belief, therefore, is that Hillary — and her supporters — fantastically miscalculated. All of us did, really. Us Trump doubters and nay-sayers. We assumed that identity politics would carry the day. That the nation would be in too much of a hurry to elect TEH FURST WOMAN PRESADENT to notice that Hillary Clinton is unfit for command. She belongs nowhere near the levers of genuine power. When she is, people literally pay. Sometimes with their lives. I assumed not enough Americans saw this, to care. And I was wrong. And so were all of Hillary’s avid fans, who selectively gave themselves amnesia about all the times Hillary fibbed to them, to her superiors, to the public, and even to her own party. Trump was simply too awful to permit him to win.
Except, apparently, no. Trump’s awfulness is like the chewy center of an expired chocolate from a box of sweets. Hillary’s already been gnawed in half. Her staleness is well-known. Trump? He offers the chance of change. Of difference. Of no more same-old-same-old. And no, I don’t think I believe Trump will be any better than he is. I think Trump’s still the same hot mess I thought he was on day one. I just think Americans are choosing the New Hot Mess, versus the Old Hot Mess. Because they’re desperate for a tornado of fresh air in Washington D.C.
And that’s what I would like Democrats to understand.
It’s not misogyny. Hillary’s sins were simply too obvious to hide. And too many voters were sick of seeing business-as-usual down in Foggy Bottom. Not to mention being fed up with all the histrionic knee-jerk nuclear-option name-calling — by progressives, at everyone else.
Liberals, seriously, the name-calling tactic was shopworn 20 years ago, and it’s even more shopworn now. Americans are sick of being bashed for not toeing the progressive party line. Do Democrats and progressives understand? They cannot use these meaningless labels to dodge the issues anymore. The American public seems to have finally refused to be afraid of nuclear-option labels. As Bill Maher admitted, progressives have cried wolf too often. Americans saw Hillary for who she is, and there could be no more sweeping under the rug, of Hillary’s misdeeds — by people who cannot grapple with the fact that they lined up to support a wholly cruddy candidate.
And yes, Trump is cruddy too. It’s just that, he’s new cruddy, and he’s willing to give the name-callers his middle finger. Having been called epithets — by compassionate, caring, tolerant liberals — for years and years, Americans took a look at Trump and said, “Fuck it, why not?”
I am sure the political pundit world will be on fire for months, after the final tally is counted.
My hope is that we hear a lot less about how everyone who wasn’t a Hillary voter, is the devil. And a lot more about how or why the Democrats ever thought running Hillary was a good idea in the first place.
And yes, running (President) Donald is and was (and will be) terrible too. But in every election season, it’s the losing team that has to look hardest in the mirror.
Here’s your chance to get real, progressive America. Enough with the smug style. Tend to your house. Stop excommunicating your fellow countrymen from the human equation. Admit that there are real complaints with actual merit, on the conservative side. Force yourselves to face the fact you do not have all the answers.
Then, maybe, we can have an actual conversation.
P.S: for all the Trump fans, feel free to feed me a truckload of crow in the comments, I’ve clearly earned it.