By Robert A. Vella
In April, this blog explained why Hillary Clinton was the wrong candidate at the worst possible time. We were correct. In June, this blog predicted that the presidential electoral map – which has been relatively constant since 1992 – would change in 2016 and that voter turnout would continue to decline (see: Finding the Shiniest Turd: Why the U.S. Electoral Map will change in 2016). We were definitely correct on the map, and initial analysis indicates we were also correct on the turnout. The strategic and tactical blunders committed by the Democratic Party establishment – which enabled a megalomaniac like Donald Trump to win the presidency – are not only inexcusable, but are an affront to the very principles upon which their party was built. In becoming the political party of corporatism, globalism, and technocracy, initiated by Bill Clinton, Democrats inevitably placed themselves in opposition to growing populist discontent and to the American concept of representative democracy. In other words, they shunned the will of the people and it came back to bite them hard in the ass.
Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect put it succinctly in Catastrophe – The revolt of the Rust Belt:
It wasn’t James Comey who did her in. It sure wasn’t Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. It was her husband.
No, not because of Bill Clinton’s personal financial dealings or sexual behavior. Because of his economic policy, which was the establishment economic policy.
NAFTA. Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China. Signing financial legislation that crucially omitted any regulation of derivatives.
Last night, the Rust Belt—whose rust buildup Bill Clinton signally contributed to by signing deals that offshored millions of decent-paying jobs—revolted. Last night, from Pennsylvania in the east to Iowa in the West, one formerly-solid Democratic state after another saw their white working class, their small town and rural voters, get vengeance against an establishment that had left much of their economy in ruins. In many of those small towns, left all their economy in ruins. (That President Obama persisted in his campaign for the Trans-Pacific Partnership—a move that may end up nullifying much of his legacy—surely didn’t help Hillary Clinton, either.)
Last night’s was the vote of people who felt left behind and displaced.
From The Guardian via MSN – Why Hillary Clinton lost the election: the economy, trust and a weak message:
How Hillary Clinton managed to lose an election to a candidate as divisive and unpopular as Donald Trump will baffle observers and agonise Democrats for years to come. Once the shockwave passes, some glimpses of rational explanation may become visible.
Incumbent parties rarely hold on to power after eight years in office. George HW Bush, following Reagan, was an exception, but politics has become steadily more polarised since and pendulums have a habit of swinging.
Trump’s defiance of expectations has itself also become somewhat of a golden rule in American politics in 2016. Written off repeatedly during the Republican primary, and only rarely taken seriously during the general election, he nonetheless epitomises the same anti-establishment mood that led Britain to vote to leave the European Union and Democrats in 22 US states to nominate Bernie Sanders. Fairly or not, it is an establishment with which Clinton could not have been more closely aligned in the minds of many voters if she tried.
And, it was not only Democrats who planted their heads deeply into the putrid backside of The Establishment; pollsters and the political punditry did too (see: Pollsters suffer huge embarrassment).
The U.S. Elections Project has put its initial voter turnout figure for this election at 55.6%, a full 3 point drop from 2012 and a nearly 7 point drop from 2008. This trending civic disengagement is disproportionally impacting key Democratic Party base groups, particularly Millennials and progressives; although, it appears that Black voter participation fell off in this election as well. Despite demographic shifts in the nation which should benefit Democrats in theory, the opposite is occurring (see: The Democrats’ Bad Map).
With Republicans in control of the White House and both houses of Congress, here’s what we can expect going forward. From The New Republic – Republicans Have Pulled the Country and the World Into the Abyss:
At a minimum, Republicans are going to do incredible violence to President Barack Obama’s accomplishments. The bookend to his remarkable political story will be that he is replaced in the White House by a man who tried to delegitimize him as leader of the birther movement. Trump will almost certainly abrogate Obama’s international climate agreement and the global powers agreement preventing Iran from creating their own nuclear arsenal. Republicans will send Trump legislation undermining Obama’s legacy everywhere they can find congressional majorities to do so, and Trump will sign those bills. Republicans don’t know how to repeal Obamacare, let alone replace it. But they will try.
The Supreme Court will return to conservative control, and over the next four years, it may very well become far more conservative. Voting rights will be further weakened; the constitutional right to abortion is vulnerable to abolition.
But things could get much, much worse.
With this electoral disaster coming on the heels of the 2014 midterm debacle, it is time now for the Democratic Party to either rebuilt itself on fundamental principles reflective of the American populace or to splinter off into separate political parties. After such a dismal failure, it simply cannot continue the status quo.
On a lighter note, my state of Washington voted to get the corrupting influence of money out of politics by calling for the overturn of Citizens United (see: Washington approves measure declaring support for overturning ‘Citizens United’ ruling).