So, back in November, when we (the coalition of liberals and non-liberals horrified by Trump) were all reeling in the wake of the election, I wrote a blog post on how the Democratic party had failed the country. In case you don’t want to return to read it in its entirety (and honestly, who could blame you?) it essentially boiled down to the twin conclusions that: 1) the Dems failed to offer a clearly articulated plan that addressed the needs of a disheartened populace, and 2) the traditional party machinery had produced a candidate/campaign hamstrung by both outdated mechanics and thinking.
Since then, we’ve learned a lot more. To begin with, when the late votes were tallied, we discovered that the actual margins were:
[NOTE: I’ve added an updated blog post looking back on this same subject with the benefit of six months’ hindsight here.]
Friends, as I watch a lot of you process what happened in this past election, I see a lot of people talking about the rise of racism and misogyny and xenophobia, lamenting these awful specters as the primary cause of defeat. I also see many saying that Bernie could never have won because he’s a socialist jew, and the same forces would have aligned against him. Let’s be clear (and I say this not as an I-told-you-so, but in hopes we can all learn an important lesson for 2020): that’s all hogwash.
Did the bigots all turn out for Trump? Absolutely. And his victory has, in their minds, justified their outlook, which is terrifying and points to troubling times ahead.
But to believe that somehow, despite the demographic shifts, there are now MORE bigots in the country than there were just in the previous decade, is ridiculous. This is the same country that elected a black man, not for the first time, but for the second, IN A ROW, just four years ago.
So here’s the thing: for all the raging and sneering I see on both sides of the Democratic Party right now, I actually believe that we on the left have a GREAT opportunity ahead of us in the coming election.
So long as we don’t let our internal differences screw it all up.
The country has had it with the status quo, and for the most part, the underlying causes are rooted in elements that Republicans (at least as the party self-identifies today) would want to continue to prop up and Democrats would want to change. Bernie’s candidacy has energized a base that was disaffected (and in some cases didn’t yet know it even was part of a base), and has reminded us of the core principles of what it means to be liberal. Meanwhile, Trump’s candidacy has brought home to roost the anger, fear, and bigotry that the leadership on the right has cynically played upon for decades to advance an agenda that works against the best interests of its base. Things are moving on both sides. And if you dig under the piles of vile hate-mongering that the right is using to obfuscate matters on its side, you’ll see that the great tectonic plates of the electorate in BOTH parties want, in my opinion, to shift towards the progressive (though many don’t yet recognize it as such, obviously).
And while honestly, neither Bernie (I’m a supporter, but he is not nearly left enough on guns for me, and frankly, I think he’s overly, knee-jerk left on the seriously nuanced issues of trade agreements and the position of the U.S. in the world at large) nor Clinton (too hawkish, too pro-business, and has made disturbing choices in her past that call into question her judgment and/or seem to show a willingness to go with short term political expediency over commitment to liberal ideals) is perfect, they are both FAR better than anything we’ve EVER seen on the right – much less the current choice, who very well may be the worst of all time.
After some time away (hard at work on revisions, as well as a NEW project!), in light of the news this morning, I’m back with another post on the state of the 2016 elections, to remind those of you who empathize with my political leanings:
It is possible to be BOTH idealistic AND practical at the same time.
Hillary Clinton is by no means perfect (nor for that matter is Bernie Sanders – to wit, his stance on guns), but she is far, FAR better than Donald Trump. And though I continue to have misgivings about her as a person, the platform that her advisors and Bernie’s have hammered out together is the best of any candidate for President we have seen so far in my lifetime. I believe it continues the important progress begun under President Obama and sets the stage for further movement towards true progressivism in the future.
Thus, as of Bernie’s announcement this morning, I am giving Hillary my full support.
As I mentioned when first starting this blog, I intend to use this space primarily as a venue for the discussion of my work, the writing process, and the publishing industry at large – but I did also warn you that occasionally I would venture off course into topics like politics and world events. This is one such post. (Sorry!) In light of yesterday’s results in FL, NC, OH, IL, and MO, I find myself prompted to share some commentary on the presidential primaries here in the United States. I think it offers some important perspective for those of us who lean left – and as for everyone else… well, I’ll have more on high fantasy and how I pursue my writing shortly, I promise.
As any of you who follow me on Twitter know, my politics are fairly progressive, and consequently, as you might imagine, I am somewhat disappointed with the results last night (though I understand why Ohio Independents and Democrats who crossed over voted the way that they did). In my opinion a Clinton nomination is now a foregone conclusion. Even so, I believe the primary process continues to be vitally important this election cycle, and though I am discouraged that it appears my candidate will not win, I am determined to continue to remain engaged until the end. So, in keeping with this position – and in light of the newly clarified lay of the land – I offer a couple of thoughts on the journey that is to follow over the next eight months: