Post-Election Blues

What can you say? So many of us are stunned in disbelief. We actually should have seen this coming. All the tell-tale signs were there, unless you were, like me, naively just looking at all those stupid polls that showed Hillary ahead. Actually the national polls were right and she was more popular but not by much and not in some key areas. Also, there was this naïve belief that someone like Trump, someone “this bad,” could not possibly be elected. I had my fears; I did not like Hillary at all; I thought she was really bad, but simply the “lesser bad” of the two choices by a large margin. When I saw the results and went to bed election night, I felt fear, nausea, depression. The next day it was disgust and a real anger that I would have to say “President Trump” for the next four years at least. Deep angry thoughts roamed my mind: Make Earth great again; abolish the human race! After that, simple worry and anxiety that the Republicans control all of Congress and have free rein to do all kinds of bad things. Makes you want to pack for Canada. But sobriety sets in sooner or later, and you realize that this is just one more lousy election among so many others. I agree with those voices that say give Trump a chance to show what he will REALLY do, not just the bluster and rhetoric of the campaign. The first 100 days of his presidency will be very interesting and a sure sign of where he will go. As some have pointed out, the weight of the actual responsibility of being President might sober him up and who knows he might actually do SOME good. Like he’s said, he is not beholden to all the money interest on Wall Street and in Washington, and he is more free to act than the traditional politicians, Democrat or Republican. On the other hand, he has some really nasty people in his camp and it may be just as Chris Hedges says that this is the birth or emergence of American Fascism. We shall see.

Let me throw out a few random reflections:

*Trump did not so much win the election as Hillary actually lost it. She truly waged a very bad campaign with lots of mistakes.

*It looks at this point that Hillary actually won the popular vote by hundreds of thousands or more(votes still being counted). In fact, before it’s all over-they are now counting all the absentee ballots in California, Washington and New York, all states that gave Hillary a large majority but it doesn’t affect the key swing states–her majority may well be several million. Astounding! This is the 6th time in American history that a candidate won the popular vote but lost the election. Some, like Michael Moore, are saying that delegitimizes Trump’s Presidency. Not really. The game is what the game is. You can’t change the rules after the game simply because you lost. Some are calling for an end to the electoral college system (by the way, Trump just said that he favors a change from the electoral college to a popular vote system. He said that he always thought that, and just because he benefitted from the electoral vote system, he won’t change his mind but support the pop vote system.)  Whatever be the merits of that it would require a constitutional amendment, and that ain’t gonna happen. Besides, the popular vote approach has its own “dark side.” Another thing, the people gave control of both the Senate and the House to Republicans, lots of state governorships, and a whole bunch of state legislatures are controlled by Republicans. It’s very obvious that the country is divided in a very dysfunctional kind of way and that tinkering with the electoral system won’t solve anything.

*Beware of simple explanations for Hillary’s loss. Don’t buy this thing you’ll hear from Dems that racists and anti-woman people got Trump elected. Yeah, there certainly were those types supporting Trump (the KKK endorsed him and yes his rhetoric has opened the door to a lot of racists acting out their sickness), but guess what, a lot of basic, decent people voted for Trump also and mostly AGAINST Hillary. I am not going to call them names, but I am angry, very angry at their stupidity, blindness, narrowness of mind, etc. Consider the woman thing: amazingly enough over 40% of college-educated women voted for Trump, and among non-college educated women, over 60% voted for Trump. So what happened with all these women? The Clinton campaign was counting on a huge woman support that really didn’t materialize. A lot of women found Hillary disagreeable, untrustworthy and simply the “same old stuff” (my feelings exactly), but it amazed me that they did not see the real danger in Trump.

*Speaking of bad numbers, consider this: about 29% of Hispanics voted for Trump. Now that includes Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans and a few others, so there’s quite a mixture there; but it’s amazing that almost a third of these folks voted for Trump considering how he talked about Latin Americans. Some Latino leaders are contesting these numbers, but we shall see later. One problem was that the Latino turnout, while larger than in past years, was still not really all that large. But the numbers here are all in dispute.

*Voter turnout: miserable. Not many people realize this but we had a 20 year low on total voter turnout. Neither candidate really excited people. Consider this: over 126 million people voted. Sounds good, but that’s only 55% of eligible voters. (In some states the turnout was robust, but not across the country.) So Hillary and Trump each got only a bit more than 27% of eligible voters. So this is who elected Trump, only a bit over 27%. Even with the extra popular vote that is now coming in for Hillary in those 3 states, it still amounts to a miserable turnout considering the crucial nature of this election. A “small” group of people might send us to hell. Is this any way of deciding who runs the country?

*Bernie. Ah, Bernie….. There’s actually a poll out now that demonstrates that Bernie would have handily beaten Trump. Frankly I doubt that; especially after all those polls that showed Hillary leading!! Screw the polls!   But it still makes you wonder….. Certainly the Sanders people are going to have to be a key element in any recovery of the Dem Party. It didn’t help Hillary at all when it came out that some key Dem supporters and bigwigs were conniving to derail Bernie during the primaries.

*Trump breaks big precedent in not revealing his tax returns. Really bad and suspicious.   But Hillary never revealed what she said in those speeches to the Wall Street crowd for those fat paychecks. What was there to hide? This lack of transparency kind of defanged her attacks on Trump.

*We are not alone. When you look around the world, rightwing movements are emerging in a lot of places: Europe, Latin America, and Asia. I mean look at India, the guy these people elected may be just as bad as Trump, with the addition that he supports fanatical radical Hindus.

*Ah, my dear, blind conservative Catholics who voted for Trump in big numbers. What can you say? For the sake of one major issue, abortion, they were willing to really hurt the country and millions of people. But the kicker is that I bet they will not even get much on the abortion issue. These folks have been voting for an end to abortion since Reagan, and what they get is deregulation of banks and Wall Street. This electoral group can be described as: Dumb and Dumber…

*This election was in many ways a repudiation of the Obama era. Obama’s approval rating was reported as being high, but considering the inaccuracy of the polls you really wonder about that. In any case, Hillary tied herself to the Obama legacy, like Obamacare with premiums spiking in October, and almost half the electorate said “No.” Also, if you look at the voting with a microscope you see this fact: in key counties in Wisconsin and Michigan, which Obama had carried, now turned to Trump.

*In a political campaign there are two key elements: the “ground game,” and the message. The ground game consists of having organized troops getting the vote out, having a structured way of getting in touch with the voters. Hillary had a much better ground game than Trump; she had a very experienced organization of electioneering people almost everywhere. However, she really lost it on the message part, which kind of poured sand into the machinery of her organization. And the message part was bad on several counts. For example, Obama had won for promising “change.” I remember this was really big back in 2008 and I believed him. He was implying he was not talking just about some tinkering change but something radical. He was going to Washington to bring “hope” and “change.” Remember that it was the time of economic crisis brought about by the big banks and financial entities, the Dems controlled both houses of Congress, and yet once he was President, Obama did nothing to nail the banksters who had caused this. And this is just one example. Well, Hillary tied herself to this legacy. And she almost made it an election pledge that she was only going to “adjust” certain things, like Obamacare, like bank regulations, etc. Trump sounded like he wanted to throw a brick thru the Washington establishment window, and this resonated with a lot of people.

*Listen to this quote from a Muslim woman, Asra Q Nomani, who voted for Trump–this appeared as an op-ed in the Washington Post:

“This is is my confession — and explanation: I — a 51-year-old, a Muslim, an immigrant woman “of color” — am one of those silent voters for Donald Trump. And I’m not a “bigot,” “racist,” “chauvinist” or “white supremacist,” as Trump voters are being called, nor part of some “whitelash.”

In the winter of 2008, as a lifelong liberal and proud daughter of West Virginia, a state born on the correct side of history on slavery, I moved to historically conservative Virginia only because the state had helped elect Barack Obama as the first African American president of the United States.

But, then, for much of this past year, I have kept my electoral preference secret: I was leaning toward Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Tuesday evening, just minutes before the polls closed at Forestville Elementary School in mostly Democratic Fairfax County, I slipped between the cardboard partitions in the polling booth, a pen balanced carefully between my fingers, to mark my ballot for president, coloring in the circle beside the names of Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence.

Supporters of President-elect Donald Trump rejoiced across the nation on Election Night as their candidate defied the polls. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

After Hillary Clinton called Trump to concede, making him America’s president-elect, a friend on Twitter wrote a message of apology to the world, saying there are millions of Americans who don’t share Trump’s “hatred/division/ignorance.” She ended: “Ashamed of millions that do.”

That would presumably include me — but it doesn’t, and that is where the dismissal of voter concerns about Clinton led to her defeat. I most certainly reject the trifecta of “hatred/division/ignorance.” I support the Democratic Party’s position on abortion, same-sex marriage and climate change.

But I am a single mother who can’t afford health insurance under Obamacare. The president’s mortgage-loan modification program, “HOPE NOW,” didn’t help me. Tuesday, I drove into Virginia from my hometown of Morgantown, W.Va., where I see rural America and ordinary Americans, like me, still struggling to make ends meet, after eight years of the Obama administration.

Finally, as a liberal Muslim who has experienced, first-hand, Islamic extremism in this world, I have been opposed to the decision by President Obama and the Democratic Party to tap dance around the “Islam” in Islamic State. Of course, Trump’s rhetoric has been far more than indelicate and folks can have policy differences with his recommendations, but, to me, it has been exaggerated and demonized by the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, their media channels, such as Al Jazeera, and their proxies in the West, in a convenient distraction from the issue that most worries me as a human being on this earth: extremist Islam of the kind that has spilled blood from the hallways of the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai to the dance floor of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

In mid-June, after the tragic shooting at Pulse, Trump tweeted out a message, delivered in his typical subtle style: “Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn’t he should immediately resign in disgrace!”

Around then, on CNN’s “New Day,” Democratic candidate Clinton seemed to do the Obama dance, saying, “From my perspective, it matters what we do more than what we say. And it mattered we got bin Laden, not what name we called him. I have clearly said we — whether you call it radical jihadism or radical Islamism, I’m happy to say either. I think they mean the same thing.”

By mid-October, it was one Aug. 17, 2014, email from the WikiLeaks treasure trove of Clinton emails that poisoned the well for me. In it, Clinton told aide John Podesta: “We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL,” the politically correct name for the Islamic State, “and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”

The revelations of multimillion-dollar donations to the Clinton Foundation from Qatar and Saudi Arabia killed my support for Clinton. Yes, I want equal pay. No, I reject Trump’s “locker room” banter, the idea of a “wall” between the United States and Mexico and a plan to “ban” Muslims. But I trust the United States and don’t buy the political hyperbole — agenda-driven identity politics of its own — that demonized Trump and his supporters.

I gently tried to express my thoughts on Twitter but the “Pantsuit revolution” was like a steamroller to any nuanced discourse. If you supported Trump, you had to be a redneck.

Days before the election, a journalist from India emailed me, asking: What are your thoughts being a Muslim in “Trump’s America”?

I wrote that as a child of India, arriving in the United States at the age of 4 in the summer of 1969, I have absolutely no fears about being a Muslim in a “Trump America.” The checks and balances in America and our rich history of social justice and civil rights will never allow the fear-mongering that has been attached to candidate Trump’s rhetoric to come to fruition.

What worried me the most were my concerns about the influence of theocratic Muslim dictatorships, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia, in a Hillary Clinton America. These dictatorships are no shining examples of progressive society with their failure to offer fundamental human rights and pathways to citizenship to immigrants from India, refugees from Syria and the entire class of de facto slaves that live in those dictatorships.”

End of piece. Ok, she sounds like a decent person, a nice person, a good person, and I think she is right about so many things, and all this shows just a bit how Hillary failed to reach people like her. But I am afraid being “good” and “nice” and even “right” just won’t cut it; you need to see things clearly, and people like her do not see the danger in Trump, the really serious danger. And the same goes for all those Catholics and Christians who voted for Trump. By the way, I am amazed how much damage is done by “good” people all around, from good popes, good presidents, good common people, etc. It simply is not enough to be “good.”

Now for a quote from one of my favorites, Michael Moore. Amazingly enough he wrote this about 2 months before the election. Boy, does he nail it! Perfect bullseye!

Moore: “Friends:

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I gave it to you straight last summer when I told you that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for president. And now I have even more awful, depressing news for you: Donald J. Trump is going to win in November. This wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full time sociopath is going to be our next president. President Trump. Go ahead and say the words, ‘cause you’ll be saying them for the next four years: “PRESIDENT TRUMP.”

Never in my life have I wanted to be proven wrong more than I do right now.

I can see what you’re doing right now. You’re shaking your head wildly – “No, Mike, this won’t happen!” Unfortunately, you are living in a bubble that comes with an adjoining echo chamber where you and your friends are convinced the American people are not going to elect an idiot for president. You alternate between being appalled at him and laughing at him because of his latest crazy comment or his embarrassingly narcissistic stance on everything because everything is about him. And then you listen to Hillary and you behold our very first female president, someone the world respects, someone who is whip-smart and cares about kids, who will continue the Obama legacy because that is what the American people clearly want! Yes! Four more years of this!

You need to exit that bubble right now. You need to stop living in denial and face the truth which you know deep down is very, very real. Trying to soothe yourself with the facts – “77% of the electorate are women, people of color, young adults under 35 and Trump cant win a majority of any of them!” – or logic – “people aren’t going to vote for a buffoon or against their own best interests!” – is your brain’s way of trying to protect you from trauma. Like when you hear a loud noise on the street and you think, “oh, a tire just blew out,” or, “wow, who’s playing with firecrackers?” because you don’t want to think you just heard someone being shot with a gun. It’s the same reason why all the initial news and eyewitness reports on 9/11 said “a small plane accidentally flew into the World Trade Center.” We want to – we need to – hope for the best because, frankly, life is already a shit show and it’s hard enough struggling to get by from paycheck to paycheck. We can’t handle much more bad news. So our mental state goes to default when something scary is actually, truly happening. The first people plowed down by the truck in Nice spent their final moments on earth waving at the driver whom they thought had simply lost control of his truck, trying to tell him that he jumped the curb: “Watch out!,” they shouted. “There are people on the sidewalk!”

Well, folks, this isn’t an accident. It is happening. And if you believe Hillary Clinton is going to beat Trump with facts and smarts and logic, then you obviously missed the past year of 56 primaries and caucuses where 16 Republican candidates tried that and every kitchen sink they could throw at Trump and nothing could stop his juggernaut. As of today, as things stand now, I believe this is going to happen – and in order to deal with it, I need you first to acknowledge it, and then maybe, just maybe, we can find a way out of the mess we’re in.

Don’t get me wrong. I have great hope for the country I live in. Things are better. The left has won the cultural wars. Gays and lesbians can get married. A majority of Americans now take the liberal position on just about every polling question posed to them: Equal pay for women – check. Abortion should be legal – check. Stronger environmental laws – check. More gun control – check. Legalize marijuana – check. A huge shift has taken place – just ask the socialist who won 22 states this year. And there is no doubt in my mind that if people could vote from their couch at home on their X-box or PlayStation, Hillary would win in a landslide.

But that is not how it works in America. People have to leave the house and get in line to vote. And if they live in poor, Black or Hispanic neighborhoods, they not only have a longer line to wait in, everything is being done to literally stop them from casting a ballot. So in most elections it’s hard to get even 50% to turn out to vote. And therein lies the problem for November – who is going to have the most motivated, most inspired voters show up to vote? You know the answer to this question. Who’s the candidate with the most rabid supporters? Whose crazed fans are going to be up at 5 AM on Election Day, kicking ass all day long, all the way until the last polling place has closed, making sure every Tom, Dick and Harry (and Bob and Joe and Billy Bob and Billy Joe and Billy Bob Joe) has cast his ballot?  That’s right. That’s the high level of danger we’re in. And don’t fool yourself — no amount of compelling Hillary TV ads, or outfacting him in the debates or Libertarians siphoning votes away from Trump is going to stop his mojo.

Here are the 5 reasons Trump is going to win:

  1. Midwest Math, or Welcome to Our Rust Belt Brexit.  I believe Trump is going to focus much of his attention on the four blue states in the rustbelt of the upper Great Lakes – Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Four traditionally Democratic states – but each of them have elected a Republican governor since 2010 (only Pennsylvania has now finally elected a Democrat). In the Michigan primary in March, more Michiganders came out to vote for the Republicans (1.32 million) that the Democrats (1.19 million). Trump is ahead of Hillary in the latest polls in Pennsylvania and tied with her in Ohio. Tied? How can the race be this close after everything Trump has said and done? Well maybe it’s because he’s said (correctly) that the Clintons’ support of NAFTA helped to destroy the industrial states of the Upper Midwest. Trump is going to hammer Clinton on this and her support of TPP and other trade policies that have royally screwed the people of these four states. When Trump stood in the shadow of a Ford Motor factory during the Michigan primary, he threatened the corporation that if they did indeed go ahead with their planned closure of that factory and move it to Mexico, he would slap a 35% tariff on any Mexican-built cars shipped back to the United States. It was sweet, sweet music to the ears of the working class of Michigan, and when he tossed in his threat to Apple that he would force them to stop making their iPhones in China and build them here in America, well, hearts swooned and Trump walked away with a big victory that should have gone to the governor next-door, John Kasich.

From Green Bay to Pittsburgh, this, my friends, is the middle of England – broken, depressed, struggling, the smokestacks strewn across the countryside with the carcass of what we use to call the Middle Class. Angry, embittered working (and nonworking) people who were lied to by the trickle-down of Reagan and abandoned by Democrats who still try to talk a good line but are really just looking forward to rub one out with a lobbyist from Goldman Sachs who’ll write them nice big check before leaving the room. What happened in the UK with Brexit is going to happen here. Elmer Gantry shows up looking like Boris Johnson and just says whatever shit he can make up to convince the masses that this is their chance! To stick to ALL of them, all who wrecked their American Dream! And now The Outsider, Donald Trump, has arrived to clean house! You don’t have to agree with him! You don’t even have to like him! He is your personal Molotov cocktail to throw right into the center of the bastards who did this to you! SEND A MESSAGE! TRUMP IS YOUR MESSENGER!

And this is where the math comes in. In 2012, Mitt Romney lost by 64 electoral votes. Add up the electoral votes cast by Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. It’s 64. All Trump needs to do to win is to carry, as he’s expected to do, the swath of traditional red states from Idaho to Georgia (states that’ll never vote for Hillary Clinton), and then he just needs these four rust belt states. He doesn’t need Florida. He doesn’t need Colorado or Virginia. Just Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And that will put him over the top. This is how it will happen in November.

  1. The Last Stand of the Angry White Man. Our male-dominated, 240-year run of the USA is coming to an end. A woman is about to take over! How did this happen?! On our watch! There were warning signs, but we ignored them. Nixon, the gender traitor, imposing Title IX on us, the rule that said girls in school should get an equal chance at playing sports. Then they let them fly commercial jets. Before we knew it, Beyoncé stormed on the field at this year’s Super Bowl (our game!) with an army of Black Women, fists raised, declaring that our domination was hereby terminated! Oh, the humanity!

That’s a small peek into the mind of the Endangered White Male. There is a sense that the power has slipped out of their hands, that their way of doing things is no longer how things are done. This monster, the “Feminazi,”the thing that as Trump says, “bleeds through her eyes or wherever she bleeds,” has conquered us — and now, after having had to endure eight years of a black man telling us what to do, we’re supposed to just sit back and take eight years of a woman bossing us around? After that it’ll be eight years of the gays in the White House! Then the transgenders! You can see where this is going. By then animals will have been granted human rights and a fuckin’ hamster is going to be running the country. This has to stop!

  1. The Hillary Problem. Can we speak honestly, just among ourselves? And before we do, let me state, I actually like Hillary – a lot – and I think she has been given a bad rap she doesn’t deserve. But her vote for the Iraq War made me promise her that I would never vote for her again. To date, I haven’t broken that promise. For the sake of preventing a proto-fascist from becoming our commander-in-chief, I’m breaking that promise. I sadly believe Clinton will find a way to get us in some kind of military action. She’s a hawk, to the right of Obama. But Trump’s psycho finger will be on The Button, and that is that. Done and done.

Let’s face it: Our biggest problem here isn’t Trump – it’s Hillary. She is hugely unpopular — nearly 70% of all voters think she is untrustworthy and dishonest. She represents the old way of politics, not really believing in anything other than what can get you elected. That’s why she fights against gays getting married one moment, and the next she’s officiating a gay marriage. Young women are among her biggest detractors, which has to hurt considering it’s the sacrifices and the battles that Hillary and other women of her generation endured so that this younger generation would never have to be told by the Barbara Bushes of the world that they should just shut up and go bake some cookies. But the kids don’t like her, and not a day goes by that a millennial doesn’t tell me they aren’t voting for her. No Democrat, and certainly no independent, is waking up on November 8th excited to run out and vote for Hillary the way they did the day Obama became president or when Bernie was on the primary ballot. The enthusiasm just isn’t there. And because this election is going to come down to just one thing — who drags the most people out of the house and gets them to the polls — Trump right now is in the catbird seat.

  1. The Depressed Sanders Vote. Stop fretting about Bernie’s supporters not voting for Clinton – we’re voting for Clinton! The polls already show that more Sanders voters will vote for Hillary this year than the number of Hillary primary voters in ’08 who then voted for Obama. This is not the problem. The fire alarm that should be going off is that while the average Bernie backer will drag him/herself to the polls that day to somewhat reluctantly vote for Hillary, it will be what’s called a “depressed vote” – meaning the voter doesn’t bring five people to vote with her. He doesn’t volunteer 10 hours in the month leading up to the election. She never talks in an excited voice when asked why she’s voting for Hillary. A depressed voter. Because, when you’re young, you have zero tolerance for phonies and BS. Returning to the Clinton/Bush era for them is like suddenly having to pay for music, or using MySpace or carrying around one of those big-ass portable phones. They’re not going to vote for Trump; some will vote third party, but many will just stay home. Hillary Clinton is going to have to do something to give them a reason to support her  — and picking a moderate, bland-o, middle of the road old white guy as her running mate is not the kind of edgy move that tells millenials that their vote is important to Hillary. Having two women on the ticket – that was an exciting idea. But then Hillary got scared and has decided to play it safe. This is just one example of how she is killing the youth vote.
  2. The Jesse Ventura Effect. Finally, do not discount the electorate’s ability to be mischievous or underestimate how any millions fancy themselves as closet anarchists once they draw the curtain and are all alone in the voting booth. It’s one of the few places left in society where there are no security cameras, no listening devices, no spouses, no kids, no boss, no cops, there’s not even a friggin’ time limit. You can take as long as you need in there and no one can make you do anything. You can push the button and vote a straight party line, or you can write in Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. There are no rules. And because of that, and the anger that so many have toward a broken political system, millions are going to vote for Trump not because they agree with him, not because they like his bigotry or ego, but just because they can. Just because it will upset the apple cart and make mommy and daddy mad. And in the same way like when you’re standing on the edge of Niagara Falls and your mind wonders for a moment what would that feel like to go over that thing, a lot of people are going to love being in the position of puppetmaster and plunking down for Trump just to see what that might look like. Remember back in the ‘90s when the people of Minnesota elected a professional wrestler as their governor? They didn’t do this because they’re stupid or thought that Jesse Ventura was some sort of statesman or political intellectual. They did so just because they could. Minnesota is one of the smartest states in the country. It is also filled with people who have a dark sense of humor — and voting for Ventura was their version of a good practical joke on a sick political system. This is going to happen again with Trump.

Coming back to the hotel after appearing on Bill Maher’s Republican Convention special this week on HBO, a man stopped me. “Mike,” he said, “we have to vote for Trump. We HAVE to shake things up.” That was it. That was enough for him. To “shake things up.” President Trump would indeed do just that, and a good chunk of the electorate would like to sit in the bleachers and watch that reality show.”

And now we get this excerpt from Glen Greenwald:

“… Democrats have already begun flailing around trying to blame anyone and everyone they can find — everyone except themselves — for last night’s crushing defeat of their party.

You know the drearily predictable list of their scapegoats: Russia, WikiLeaks, James Comey, Jill Stein, Bernie Bros, The Media, news outlets (including, perhaps especially, The Intercept) that sinned by reporting negatively on Hillary Clinton. Anyone who thinks that what happened last night in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Michigan can be blamed on any of that is drowning in self-protective ignorance so deep that it’s impossible to express in words.

When a political party is demolished, the principal responsibility belongs to one entity: the party that got crushed. It’s the job of the party and the candidate, and nobody else, to persuade the citizenry to support them and find ways to do that. Last night, the Democrats failed, resoundingly, to do that, and any autopsy or liberal think piece or pro-Clinton pundit commentary that does not start and finish with their own behavior is one that is inherently worthless.

Put simply, Democrats knowingly chose to nominate a deeply unpopular, extremely vulnerable, scandal-plagued candidate, who — for very good reason — was widely perceived to be a protector and beneficiary of all the worst components of status quo elite corruption. It’s astonishing that those of us who tried frantically to warn Democrats that nominating Hillary Clinton was a huge and scary gamble — that all empirical evidence showed that she could lose to anyone and Bernie Sanders would be a much stronger candidate, especially in this climate — are now the ones being blamed: by the very same people who insisted on ignoring all that data and nominating her anyway.

But that’s just basic blame shifting and self-preservation. Far more significant is what this shows about the mentality of the Democratic Party. Just think about who they nominated: someone who — when she wasn’t dining with Saudi monarchs and being feted in Davos by tyrants who gave million-dollar checks — spent the last several years piggishly running around to Wall Street banks and major corporations cashing in with $250,000 fees for 45-minute secret speeches even though she had already become unimaginably rich with book advances while her husband already made tens of millions playing these same games. She did all that without the slightest apparent concern for how that would feed into all the perceptions and resentments of her and the Democratic Party as corrupt, status quo-protecting, aristocratic tools of the rich and powerful: exactly the worst possible behavior for this post-2008-economic-crisis era of globalism and destroyed industries.”


Well, enough for all that. For those of us on some sort of monastic path, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, it is important on the one hand not be blind to what is really going on in our world, but also we need to see things in a bigger picture. A lot of our monastic ancestors, whether it be Chinese hermits, Christian desert monks, etc, etc., lived in and thru some incredibly bad times and under some incredibly bad regimes. Nothing new here. We have to keep our heads low, keep up our life in whatever measure and intensity we can, and carry the pain of the world in our hearts. If we can lend a hand to someone who is fighting the good fight, so be it. The key thing is to not be overwhelmed by the darkness, nor to place our whole hope in some political process or position. I will comment on this at some future point.



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