10 Thoughts on the 2016 Presidential Election
I would like to preface this article by pointing out that these are only my opinions. I’ve been trying to make sense and rationalize this entire election, basically looking at it for what it is from the point of view that is mine and mine alone.
I’ve tried my best to look at both sides of this, and this is me making the best judgment and best formulated opinions that I can. Take any, all, or none of it as you will.
Well friends, here we are. It’s November 10, 2016, two days removed from one of the craziest elections in the history of this country. I’ve had a few days to wallow in both sadness and deep thought, while doing the best job I can to support those who are in need of it.
The coming months will be very telling as to how much work we truly have to do as a nation. The campaigning was easy. Now that it’s over and the results are in, the great work must begin.
This is my state of mind two days removed from the election.
This is the reality we face.
The fact of the matter is this- we are not dreaming. Regardless how unfathomable it is, or how much we don’t want to accept it- barring anything that goes down between now and January 20th, Donald Trump will be the next president of this country. We did not expect it. It’s hard to swallow. However, it is the reality that we face right now. I don’t want to get too into exactly why or how Trump won, or why or how the Clinton campaign lost, but the numbers on the board indicate Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States.
A message for Trump supporters.
Here’s the thing. Yes, your candidate ended up winning. And I understand that you’re happy for him and the impending future of this country. I’m not going to knock you for voting for Mr. Trump, that’s your right as an American citizen- to vote for the candidate who you believe would improve the country the way you want to improve it. I can’t say I voted for him, so I’m not sure what your reasoning was- perhaps his proposed focus on economic change, or his proposed plan for tackling international threats- whatever it was, that’s all well and good from my end. But when I see people on social media talking about how they shouldn’t have to endure the reactions of people who supported Secretary Clinton in the aftermath of this election, I can only shake my head at the hypocrisy.
A picture that seems to keep circulating the internet reads “Right now, my liberal friends are saying worse things about Trump and his supporters than Trump has ever said about anyone.” And that bothers me.
You have to understand that these people that you know, many of whom I’m sure are women, minorities, or members of the LGBT community, are very scared right now at the road ahead. They are emotional, angry, and fucking terrified.
You have to understand that, while you may have voted for Trump based on certain views, there is another side to his campaign, and it is one that has projected the idea of misogyny, racism, and just overall hate and contempt. You have to understand that people have been given reason to fear that their rights that they have fought so hard to attain are about to be taken away in one swift movement. And, to be honest, I’m not sure that their reactions are worse than some of the things that Trump has said during his campaign.
I live in Massachusetts, which has traditionally been very good and progressive regarding states’ rights. I live in a part of the state where privilege exists for many people, white, black, male, female, gay, straight, etc. I think it’s been pretty good. But you have to understand that while you may not be affected wholly, there are other people who may not be so privileged that will be affected.
If your candidate won, that’s fine. I’m not going to argue you on who you voted for. All I’m asking is that you take a second to look at how some people on the other side feel before you jump to conclusions about your feelings being hurt. Put yourselves in their shoes for half a minute.
A message for certain Trump supporters.
Donald Trump’s win in this election is not reason to do whatever the fuck you want to other people. The law is still the law. Sexual assault didn’t just become okay overnight. Telling people who look different than you to get out of the country is still not cool. If you think for a second that you have your country back, you have done nothing but fuel the fire under a large group of people ready to show you that it’s not just your country- it’s theirs too.
A message for Clinton supporters.
It sucks. I know. It really, really sucks. To come this far for nothing is bad enough. But to have the presidency be awarded to someone who had said all the things he’s said, and done all the things he’s done, and to portray himself the way he has, and pull an upset victory over an extremely qualified long-time politician is devastating. I admit I had a hard time getting out of bed on Wednesday morning. I’ll admit it hasn’t sunk in yet for me either.
And you have just cause to feel afraid, or helpless, or alone. But, just like my Trump supporters above you, I need you guys to understand some things as well.
I know a lot of you are hurting right now. But I need you to understand that you are not alone in all of this. There are millions of people in this country and around the world that feel the exact same way you do. Just because one guy was elected president doesn’t mean that everyone is suddenly out to get you. You have strength in numbers. And Hillary did win the popular vote, so I think it’s safe to say that your numbers outweigh theirs.
There are people out there that you may not know. But they love you, and they have your back. People that may have more privilege to things will help those who are less privileged than they are.
You need to understand that the people who are around you will not let anything bad happen to you. If anyone tries to touch you or make you feel like nothing or take your rights away, they will have to go through the lines of us fighting with you and for you first.
I do not believe that people are innately bad people. Hatred and contempt comes from all different places in our lives, but I really think that deep down, we’re all good people. When it comes right down to it, I think human good will prevail in the end.
There are some other things I need you to understand as well (some of them may be a little hard to accept).
I do not believe that a vast majority of Donald Trump’s supporters voted for him because he said and did all of those sexist, racist, hateful things. I believe they voted for him because he represented one thing, and that was deviation from the norm.
They saw something in him that they think is going to change the country. I plead that you don’t get angry (or worse, violent) because they voted their conscience.
I need you to understand that many people in rural parts of the country don’t have a lot of money or jobs. They believe that Trump’s business background and focus on tax cuts, business tariffs, and his proposed investment in infrastructure will be some kind of guiding light. And perhaps it may not be what we’re used to hearing from politicians (which is why his promises came off as so egregious), but perhaps those that voted for him were tired of what they perceived as a slow-moving government that didn’t care about them. They wanted a candidate who says he won’t leave them behind and then actually doesn’t leave them behind. When it comes right down to it, they have their reasons for voting for him, and I’m not sure that all of them (maybe some, but definitely not all) are for the reasons you may think they voted for him.
Look at this statement Bernie Sanders released.
But above all of that, I need you to understand that all is not lost there either. Because if Trump doesn’t follow through on his promises, the people who supported him will turn on him, too.
A Message for Clinton supporters, Part 2: The fight begins now.
So, what happens now? Where do we go from here?
My opinion is to do something simple yet controversial: go about your daily lives. The opposite of fear is not acceptance in this case- it is normality. The only thing I ask (and this will tie into my next point) is that we all learn to love each other a little more.
What the “Trumpsters” want to see are those classified as the liberal elite crying, succumbing to fear and talking about moving out of the country (I’m paraphrasing Sorkin's letter to his daughter a tad, but you get the idea of where I’m going with this). What we need is to do the opposite.
So, cry. But after that, get up and be angry. Be passionate. Make art. Sing. Make music. Dance. Feel. Live. Inspire. Be inspired. But do not submit to fear and terror, because it’s not going to get us anywhere, especially when we have the power to fight this.
The midterm elections are only two years away. Invest in senators and congressmen and women. Just like Trump was able to flip the system, we can flip the system back.
Donate. Support. Protest (but please be safe and smart and don’t be violent with anyone or anything, please). Never stop making your voice heard, because we hear it and it does matter. It truly, truly does.
Trump might be different as president than he was during his campaign- or he might not.
Trump has based most of his campaign around the fact that he’s an outsider trying to bring down the system. But what happens when he’s actually inside the system? Starting today, Trump will begin to receive briefings at just about the same deep-level intelligence as President Obama receives. This means that his idea of what is happening both internationally and domestically could change. Might he have different opinions about Syria and Russia after these briefings than he did watching the news? Quite possibly. There is reason to believe that he might be a tad more moderate than we’ve come to believe during his campaign. We did see a gracious Donald Trump in his victory, and even saw glimpses of it during his address at the Republican Convention. Who knows if this Trump will emerge during his first term?
Then again, human nature suggests that at 70 years of living, one doesn’t just change one’s own personality in two months. We may very well get the same loud-mouthed, boisterous man that we’ve seen for the last year and a half. Paired with the prospects of his cabinet (among those being vetted are Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, and Newt Gingrich), we have reason to believe that we could get more of the same thing. Republican voters also want the same Trump we saw during the campaign- which could spell disaster for Trump among his approval ratings if he doesn’t carry that to the White House.
HOT TAKE ALERT: I sincerely hope that Donald Trump is able to do this job well and treat it with respect. I sincerely hope something within him is going to make him change and treat all those people he offended with dignity and respect. Because when it comes right down to it, we’re all on the boat with him. And if he crashes, so do we.
Then again, I didn’t vote for him, and I don’t like him.
So, that being said…
Andrew’s Over/Under for the length of Trump’s term as president: 6 months.
His involvement in his own organization gives us reason to be skeptical. I, for one, don’t believe that he and his family can go about separating business from politics.
Trump has also vowed to reverse many of President Obama’s policies. He does have the House and Senate at his disposal, but even if his fellow Republicans choose not to back him, the two words that President Obama has really made famous that Trump plans to exercise are: Executive Orders.
That’s all well and good. But what happens when you use too many Executive Orders? That might be called an abuse of power. And what happens when you abuse your power? Two words: Impeachment Hearings.
I give him six months before the first impeachable scandal/crime happens. Any takers?
Looking at 2020: Who’s next?
I could be wrong, but I think we may have seen the end of Hillary Clinton’s run as public servant. She has done a fantastic job serving this country; she should and will go down as one of the most important not just women, but people, in this country’s history.
But, for the Democrats, there needs to be some searching for a candidate for the 2020 election.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA)- she’s an anti-Wall Street crusader with a huge progressive following. She’s also a badass. However, not only would she be 71 years old in 2020, Massachusetts nominees have not had the best time in presidential elections (see Dukakis, Kerry, and Romney).
Sen. Chris Murphy (CT)- The senator made headlines with a 15-hour filibuster in support of firearm legislation back in June. Murphy is very popular in his home state of Connecticut, and he was also speculated to be a potential running mate for Clinton in 2016.
Sen. Cory Booker (NJ)- my personal favorite. He’s a fiery senator and former mayor of Newark who once saved a woman from a burning building. He’s got a reputation as a reformer, and was in consideration to be Clinton’s running mate this year.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN)- She may not have the resume that Hillary Clinton has at this moment in time, but Klobuchar is an extremely well-liked senator from Minnesota, who seemingly has a well-thought out plan for getting to the White House. She’s also extremely well liked in the state of Iowa, where she says she “feels at home.” Hmm.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH)- Brown has very progressive tendencies very similar to those of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. He also lives in the crucial swing state of Ohio, which I’m sure Democrats will be anxious to make a campaign assault on come 2020.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)- When Hillary Clinton left the senate, Gillibrand replaced her as New York Junior Senator. Could she make a run at the Presidency in 2020?
I encourage you to also look up names like Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Kamala Harris.
I have omitted names like Bernie Sanders (because of age- he’ll be 79 four years from now) and Michelle Obama, mostly because Michelle says that she has no interest in the job.
Don’t abolish the Electoral College- Reform it.
For those of you that don't know already, this is how the Electoral College works.
How ironic. The system that Donald Trump was complaining about being rigged ending up getting him elected.
Hillary Clinton may have lost the Electoral College, but she did succeed in winning the popular vote- something Democratic nominee Al Gore did in 2000, losing to George W. Bush. This is a huge accomplishment, signifying that more than half the voting population wanted Clinton to be president, not Trump. I keep seeing people on social media make moves to abolishing the Electoral College. I’m going to step out on a limb here and say that that is NOT what possible voting reform needs. A president cannot be decided merely by popular vote. If that were really the case, you’d have votes in New York City that weigh as much as votes in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Of course the candidate who can grab the most big cities would win the election. What bothers me about the Electoral College, and what I believe needs to be reformed, is this winner-take-all system that we’re used to.
In 2000, the race between Gore and Bush came down to Florida and its 25 (at the time, it’s 29 now) electoral votes. Bush ended up winning the state by 537 votes out of almost 6,000,000, but got the entire 25, winning the election.
I believe a system that takes into account the popular vote in each state would be more effective. This is sort of like the systems that Nebraska and Maine have in place, but instead of using drawn out districts (opening the door for parties to gerrymander and draw their own electoral lines), the electoral votes are split based on the ratio or percentage of the popular vote.
Ex: If there are 11 electoral votes in a state, with 7,000,000 votes cast, and Candidate A gets 5,000,000, while Candidate B gets 2,000,000, the votes would be split based on the ratio of votes. Candidate A would get 71% of those 11 electoral votes (7.81), while Candidate B would get the other 23% (3.19).
If there are an odd number of electoral votes in a given state, and there’s essentially a 50-50 tie, the candidate who wins the popular vote in that state outright would win that last electoral vote, essentially “winning” that state. It might also encourage more third party voting, since those candidates may end up with percentages of electoral votes. It requires a lot more math and more time than we’re used to, but hear me out.
This is just something to think about, but I hardly believe taking the step to not completely abolish, but instead reform the Electoral College would be an effective solution.
This country needs to find a way to come together, not divide the lines even further.
Can we promise to never have an election like this ever again?
I’ve been way more politically invested this year, I admit. But this was exhausting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a campaign that was clogged with mudslinging, name-calling, and negative campaign ads. Good God.
I for one will be happy if I never see another campaign commercial as long as I live. Hopefully next time around we can get back to more civil debates about the issues, and less about personal attacks.
A final thought. I don’t know how this happened from four years ago (or maybe it’s blatantly obvious and I’m not looking into it all that much), but the lines between red and blue have divided people more than ever. If Clinton had been elected, Trump supporters I’m sure would have claimed it to be the beginning of the end of the world as well. Stephen Colbert, during his live election special on Showtime had an interesting statistic: “More than 4 in 10 Democrats and Republicans say the other party’s policies are so misguided that they pose a threat to the nation.” These two parties are terrified of one another. We need to change that.
That being said, the fact that Clinton and Trump splitting the popular vote and the Electoral College vote is fairly troubling. The fact that there was not one outright winner or loser in this election may very well deepen the divide in this country.
But this is America, where anything is possible.
A quick note about America: one of the best things about this country is that we’re all different, and that’s okay. It’s so great that we get to live in a country where all people from all walks of life should be accepted and accepting of each other’s differences. This country has been called the land of opportunity by many. It’s based on the idea of freedom, which, I think, means the freedom to look, speak, and think differently from other people. It also means that one should not be oppressed for being different. We really need to take a look at that in the coming months if we want to make some kind of difference.
Above all, this is not a country where hate it welcome. Love will always triumph over it, no matter what anyone does or says.
Hug each other a little tighter today.
Call your parents and friends (Don't text, call them). Tell them you love them.
Be patient with and good to one another.
Pray for peace.
That's my two cents, guys. Leave a comment if you feel so inclined.
11/15/2016 03:02:04 pm
Thanks Andrew for a thoughtful commentary on this election. We are shifting towards a understanding of who we are as a country outside of the traditional two party campaign and need to reevaluate our understanding of who we are as a nation.
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I enjoy making lists, countdowns, and making sense of the world that I see around me.