Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Since everyone is...

...voicing his or her opinion on why Hillary Clinton (sort of) lost the 2016 election (including Hillary herself) -- an election she was supposed to win and to an opponent who was clearly unqualified and unfit for the office -- I'll add my (overdue) two cents' worth.

Was it James Comey and the FBI that cost Mrs. Clinton the election? Was it Russia and WikiLeaks? Or was Hillary just a particularly weak candidate following a two-term Democratic president? Was it as simple as Republicans "coming home"? Was it Catholics and evangelicals voting for the candidate who could appoint a Supreme Court justice who would help overturn Roe v. Wade? Was Donald Trump just a symptom of the global nationalist/populist trend? Was it all of the above, some of the above, or was it something else entirely?

I would say that, yes, Hillary was a particularly bad candidate who should have won in a walk over an unqualified jackass following the successful two-term presidency of Barack Obama. So, while some or all of the above factors may have contributed to her defeat, it should have never been close in the first place. It's kind of like Bush v. Gore: it should have been a landslide for the Democratic candidate, so you might as well give a tie to the challenger since he "beat the point spread" so decisively. Does that make sense?

So while Hillary should have won easily, all of those factors above would have only reduced her margin of victory.

I have an alternative explanation for Trump's victory. First of all, the Donald should have never won the Republican nomination. And then he should have never won the general election. But he did, and I think I know why: for the first time since, I don't know when -- Reagan? -- a candidate for president spoke to the white working class. Now, as one of my readers correctly pointed out, he did so in a disingenuous way. Fair enough. But I think that even if some of Trump's supporters knew he was full of baloney they voted for him anyway. Why? Because I think they were sending the message -- whether they knew it or not -- that we want to be heard, we want to be paid attention to, we want our problems addressed. And if Trump can't do it -- so what? We won't be taken for granted any longer.

I know what many of you might be thinking: But Hillary was a particularly flawed candidate! And you'd be right. But does that mean that another woman, like Amy Klobuchar or Kirsten Gillibrand, would have run better? Or how about a guy, like Joe Biden? I know a lot of people won't agree with me here, but I think Trump would have beaten any or all of them too. Remember, a total novice defeated 16 seemingly qualified Reagan clones for the GOP nomination. How? Partly by belittling them: Lyin' Ted, Low-energy Jeb, Little Marco. (Even a woman, Carly Fiorina, wasn't immune.) I think Trump was just "lightning in a bottle" in 2016 and would have beaten anyone. And it was all about the white working class.

P. S. If Trump hadn't run at all might Bernie Sanders be president today? Maybe.

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