Monday, November 21, 2016

Perfect Storm 2016

Like many I was shocked at the outcome of the recent presidential election. Though I was nervous I had expect Hillary Clinton to pull off an election night victory. Close perhaps but still I was fairly confident of a victory for our first woman President. Like many others who saw the battle ground states that were suppose to turn blue turned red instead that expectation came to a halt. By the wee hours of the morning it became evident that the unthinkable had happened....Donald Trump would be the next President. The most despicable and unqualified candidate in our history had defied the odds and won.

Somehow the polls who had Hillary with a narrow 3-4% lead,depending on which one, were off just enough to throw almost everyone off, even the "The Donald". A lot of humble pie has been eaten since that including myself. How could this have happened? I don't think it was any one event but a perfect storm of circumstances gave Hillary a surprising defeat.  Here are some of the things which I feel contributed to our election of an unqualified President:

  • False Equivalency - The treatment by the media that some how Donald Trump was a"normal presidential candidate". In 1988 Senator Gary Hart's Presidential aspirations were derailed by a single story of sexual indiscretion yet Donald Trump endures not one but twelve alleged instances of sexual harassment(if not assault) and just seems to just brush them off without apology. Grant you Hillary's husband Bill had his issues with women but he was not the one running for President.
  • Empty Podium - This was where television news coverage failed. Too much coverage of Trump just for the sake of ratings. I have to guiltily admit that Donald has his entertainment value. He's the three car pile up you slow down for on the highway. You just can't help it. One such glaring moment was during "Super Tuesday" in March 2016 the news networks stayed glued to an empty podium waiting for Donald to shaow up(which he never did). Yet at the same time Senator Bernie Sanders was giving a speech about his evening(which didn't go that well but still news worthy) went uncovered by the news networks. 
  • Email - She must wake up at night crying "Damn emails!". Although none contained any smoking gun like evidence of criminal wrong doing, just the mere mention of the word "email" and 'Hillary" in the same sentence was enough to send the press, mainstream or right-wing, into a frenzy. Although FBI director James Comey isn't fully to blame for Hillary's defeat, in sending a letter to Congress, about just the possibility of more Hillary emails, was enough to remind Republican voters of Hillary's faults. Given the closeness of the election this may have played a part.
  • Clinton Fatigue - Although I supported her I can't help feeling perhaps she had passed her time. It wasn't entirely her fault. She's smart, hard working and ambitious. Unfortunately she also carried her husband's baggage, former President Bill Clinton, who had his own issues. Although never convicted or proven guilty in anything they had been accused of so much that it was implicated that they must be guilty of something. Her moment may have passed in 2008. Benghazi and the email server stories may have been one or two scandals too many. 
  • Rural verses Urban - You look at any post election map and you'll see that Hillary won the urban areas and Donald won the rural areas. Rural won(at least Electorally). This demographic shift isn't entirely surprising even though Obama was able to win some of these voters over in 2008 and 2012  but Hillary was not. I think it was a combination of sexism and perhaps the lack of Obama's white blue collar appeal. 
  • Change - Donald was the the "change" candidate. Almost every eight years or so since President Truman voters have opted for the opposite party every eight years. President Jimmy Carter(77-81) and George H.W. Bush(89-93) being the exceptions. Despite President Obama doing a decent job Hillary just represented more of the same. She was in a no win battle. If she separated much from Obama she could lose support and if she differentiated from him the same could happen. 
It's like I said before, it was a perfect storm of event's that landed Trump in the White House. It's not what I wished or hoped for but it's what we've got. I don't wish him failure but I don't have much confidence in his success. God help us.

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