The unthinkable has happened and Donald Trump has won the presidency of the United States of America. Who is to blame for this travesty? Well, there is a lot of blame to go around, but I want to start with who not to blame and why.
Myth 1: Many Clinton supporters have blamed third party campaigns for her lose. The math for this just doesn’t add up. Jill Stein was insignificant in this election. Gary Johnson did do fairly well for a third party candidate, but as a Libertarian, he drew the vast majority of his support from Republicans who were disenfranchised by Trump. These Republicans were not going to vote for Clinton. Their protest vote was against Trump. If Johnson wasn’t in the race, they would have either stayed home, wrote in a protest vote, or reluctantly voted for Trump.
Myth 2: Some Clinton supporters have blamed the Bernie or Bust voters who promised not to vote for Clinton in the general election. First, the number of write-in votes for Bernie Sanders was almost non-existent. Combine that with Jill Stein’s votes and they were still non-existent. Some Sanders supporters might have stayed home on Election Day, but exit polls show that Clinton wasn’t able to energize the minority vote the way that Barack Obama did. It wasn’t the Sanders supporters who stayed home that cost her the election; it was a much bigger issue than that.
Myth 3: A few Clinton extremists just can’t help themselves and blame Bernie Sanders for Hillary Clinton losing the election. Apparently he didn’t kiss her ring enough at the DNC Convention. The fact is that Sanders not only asked his supporters to support Clinton, but he also went around the country campaigning for her. Ultimately, that wasn’t enough because despite what these extremists believe, Sanders wasn’t a cult leader. His supporters don’t have to do what he says and while most of them did end up voting for Clinton, some probably did stay home. Still, they weren’t enough to actually affect the election results as I pointed out earlier.
Blame 1: First and foremost, the buck stops with the candidate. Hillary Clinton has herself to blame for losing this election. She was not a very good candidate. She did not inspire people and her entire campaign was marred in scandal and reacted to that by staying on the defensive. Then she picked a boring VP candidate who also didn’t inspire people or reach into any demographic that she needed to win.
Her whole campaign was based on playing it safe and maintaining the status quo. Her campaign failed to realize that the majority of people in America were not happy with the status quo. This is a lesson she should have learned in the primary when Bernie Sanders tapped into that same anti-establishment momentum that ultimately won Trump the presidency.
Blame 2: Hillary Clinton’s primary supporters. You blew it!!! You ruined the country for us all. We had a choice between someone who represents our humanist, progressive values, who was tapping into a strong wave of populist, anti-establishment momentum and you all voted for the status quo, right leaning “liberal,” who has been entrenched in scandal, and in the pocket of Wall Street.
I get people who supported Clinton after the primary. At the point, the options were limited and Trump was scary. I even voted for Clinton on election night and stood outside the polls encouraging people to do the same. But supporting Clinton over Sanders in the primary? There is no excuse for that. This is especially true given the fact that Clinton, the DNC, and their supporters stacked the deck against Sanders in some really dirty and dishonest ways.
Blame 3: The DNC really fucked up. They backed the wrong horse and by putting their thumb on the scale of the primary, have doomed us all to a Trump presidency. Once again the Democratic Party has snatched defeat from the cusp of victory. The thing that really pisses me off is that they will undoubtedly learn the wrong lesson here and push for more establishment and more conservative candidates in the future rather than realizing that America voted for Trump not because he was conservative, but rather because he was anti-establishment. They will almost certainly continue to alienate their base and lose many elections to come.
Blame 4: I blame President Barack Obama for the next Republican Supreme Court Justice. He sat around for a year doing nothing when he should have pushed for the Republicans to confirm his appointment. He started by nominating a conservative hoping to appease the Republicans and the problem was that is where he stayed. He should have given the Republicans an ultimatum to either confirm his nominee in 3 weeks or he will withdraw Garland and nominate a more liberal Justice. Then after a month or so, withdraw that person and nominate and even more progressive Justice. At that point, Clinton looked like a lock and Obama could have used that as leverage to get a more liberal Justice appointed. Now, the leverage is gone and Trump will almost certainly pick the next Supreme Court Justice despite the fact that Scalia has been dead for almost a year.
Reality Check 1: If Senator Bernie Sanders became the nominee (which if the primary was not weighted against him from the start, he would have), we would have a Democratic President right now. One Clinton supporter told me that there is no way to know if Sanders would have beaten Trump. In fairness, that is partially correct. We can’t know with absolute certainty that Sanders would have defeated Trump, but the evidence strongly suggests that he would have. Here is why:
1. Sanders polled better against Trump than Clinton did at the end of the primary. While polls that far out are not reflective of the end result in the general election, it does present one piece to the puzzle.
2. Unlike Clinton, Sanders was not marred in scandal and FBI investigations. These investigations dogged Clinton throughout the campaign all the way to the end. Sanders didn’t have any of that. He was scandal free and would have remained so.
3. Sanders would have kept the focus on the issues. Clinton tried to do this at first, but had to quickly abandon that and move to defense. She had to defend herself against the FBI investigation scandal and jump in the mud against Trump.
4. Sanders is more likable than Clinton and Trump. Trump and Clinton respectively have the highest unfavorable ratings of any candidate in history. Sanders has low unfavorable and high favorable rating by most Americans.
5. Sanders was able to tap into the same wave of anti-establishment momentum that rode Trump to victory. If Sanders was in the race, he would have taken some of those votes from Trump and inspired more of those voters on the Democratic side to come out and vote.
6. Bernie Sanders fucking inspires people!
Reality Check 2: We can’t go back in time and change the primary. We can’t go back in time and change the election. We now live in a world that will have a President Trump on January 20th. It sucks, but it is real. We can either hang our heads in defeat or start fighting back.
Reality Check 3: The Republican establishment doesn’t like Trump either.
Reality Check 4: Trump may be our next President, but he won’t be our next king. He does not have the power to do whatever he wants despite the Republican controlled House, Senate, and Supreme Court. Bernie Sanders talked about a movement and now is the time to show what a movement can do. Most Republican lawmakers are still responsive to their citizens. So let’s give them something to be responsive to. It is time to dig in an fight.
- Thoughts On: Bernie or Bust (skepticink.com)
- The Superdelegates Rant (skepticink.com)
- At Least Two Presidential Candidates Are Atheists (skepticink.com)
- The God Question: Sanders vs. Clinton (skepticink.com)
- Defending Bernie Sanders Against Critics (skepticink.com)
- DNC Plotted Atheist Attack Against Sanders (skepticink.com)