This is it. This is the last time I’m writing about the 2016 presidential elections. It’s the last time I’m thinking about it, it’s the last time I’m talking about it. After this, if the new administration makes a decision that I feel conflicts or contradicts with America’s ideals, I might write about that then. But I’m done talking about the elections themselves. They’ve far outlived the conversation.
First of all (and I think this is a fair question to ask), what the hell happened? When I wrote my last post about the elections last year, I predicted that Hillary would be the next president of the United States. She had everything working in her favor. A well-spoken demeanor and good articulation of her argument. A political career that spanned more than 20 years. The support of an entire political party, multiple celebrities, and more than half of the country’s millennial population.
And of course, Donald Trump was her opponent.
I didn’t want Hillary to win. I didn’t want either of them to win. Both of them had demonstrated qualities that did not represent the office or America’s best interests, from the email scandal to the “Grab em’ by the p*ssy” video. But seeing her career pitted up against a candidate who had offended women, minorities, immigrants (both legal and illegal), the LGBT community, and war heroes, I didn’t see any chance of Trump winning. Perhaps underestimating him was my mistake.
By the end of it all, Hillary won the popular vote, by a small margin. 65 million votes against Trump’s 62 million. That’s 48 percent against his 46 percent, nearly split even.
But, as we all know, popular vote doesn’t count: electoral vote does. And since Trump’s biggest wins came from swing states (Ohio, Florida, etc.), he won the projected electoral vote and the presidency.
I’m not surprised that the American people voted the way they did. Since Clinton was announced as the democratic nominee in July, the elections have been split sideways in every which way and direction. Yes, the Democrats had all of the ammo at their disposal that Trump tweeted about, but the Republicans had an equal amount of dirt on Hillary due to the WikiLeaks hacks. Russian interference or not, that information revealed some very important things about the Clintons to the American public.
That Hillary wasn’t as much for climate change and gay rights as she claimed she was.
That she told her Wall Street donors in a paid speech that they need “both a public and a private position.”
That she was leaked questions in advance of the first televised debate.
That she hired Debbie Wasserman-Schultz on her campaign after she deliberately shut out Bernie Sanders from the democratic primaries.
That media directly collaborated with the Clinton campaign for coverage, including The New York Times, MSNBC, and The Hill, among many others.
What your opinion is of the information provided is up to you. The fact remains that this information was out there and it stirred up a paranoia of political distrust in the American people. That political distrust went head-to-head against Trump’s uncouthness, and eventually, political distrust won. Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States.
Honestly, what I’m most surprised about is not that Donald Trump won, but that the electors voted the way that the American public did. In 15 out of the 30 states that Trump won, the electors could have voted for anyone that they wanted to. They were not technically held by the votes of the public, although voting against them would technically be considered unconstitutional. They still had the ability to vote for Clinton against Trump if they wanted to. A few might have been hit with some legal fees or charges, but the vast majority was unhindered by these. Election or not, they had the real choice in their hands. They chose Trump.
What this tells me, then, is that the political paranoia is not just coming from the American people. It’s also coming from the governors, mayors, senators, and former politicians of this country. They could have voted to keep the political wheel spinning. They chose to stop it.
In a way, I’m glad that Trump won. It shows how broken the two-party system really is in our country, and his victory reflects the failures of both of those respective parties. Trump is everyone’s fault. Not just one party or the other’s. Everyone, mine included.
Trump is the Republican’s fault for allowing him to even run in the first place despite his inexperience. Trump is the Democrat’s fault for rigging their primaries and for trying to take advantage of Trump’s nomination. Trump is the Libertarians and the Green Parties fault for splitting the vote and the election. Trump is my fault for writing in a candidate instead of voting against him. But I wasn’t going to vote against my conscience, just as no other voter was going to do anything otherwise.
It doesn’t matter now. Trump won, and earlier today, he has finally been sworn into office. As I see these events unraveling, I keep thinking about what the next step should be for our country. It seems to be unanimous for everyone. “Unite”, is what I hear everyone saying. The Democrats want to “unite” against Trump. The Republicans want to “unite” under the new administration.
I’m offering a different definition. How about “Unite”, because it’s “The United States of America.”
I do not like Donald Trump. I fervently do not like Donald Trump. Anyone who follows my news feeds know this. But as much as I do not like Donald Trump, I like America even more. If it means a chance at sewing the divided seeds of our country, I am willing to put aside some of my contempt to call him “Mr. President” and to understand why half of our country voted for him. I know the thought of supporting President Trump is reviling to some liberals, but I don’t see it as supporting Trump. I see it as supporting our country. I feel we need that healing more than we need that harsh political discourse.
This does NOT mean normalizing Trump, however, or the values his administration holds, or the hate crimes and xenophobia his platform has helped inspired. No, this means not avoiding the opposite side, but confronting it head-first to understand why events unfolded the way they did. Democrats can’t understand why Republicans would vote for a loudmouth and a Twitter bully. Republicans can’t understand why Democrats would vote for a criminal and a political mastermind. Since the presidential elections, I have renounced identifying with one party or the other in order to understand both sides. What I find is a recurring trend of everyone not understanding a perspective that the other has. The GOP does not see the hate crimes committed in Trump’s name, and the DNC does not see the political distrust brewing under Clinton’s. These may not be equal issues, but they are real issues nonetheless.
Because of this, I offer– no, I assert that we need to come together. Talk to people you disagree with. See why they think the way that they do. Debate on serious issues back-and-forth until you find one thing that you can both agree on. Demonstrate that you’re more American than you are liberal or conservative.
Do this, because if we don’t and we continue this nasty political discourse, we’re creating the social hemisphere that people like Trump can thrive in. I don’t want Donald Trump happening again. I want America happening again.
– David Dunn