So I am a pretty far left-wing person, and I’m here to digress about my perspective of this election. It’s currently 10:56 PM in California on Tuesday of the election, and I’ve seen a lot of things happen today. I got a text of disbelief from my family when Trump was leading early on in the election process today. Then I saw all my friend and family joking about how he could never win. I, myself, could hardly believe it, but in the pit of my stomach I could feel that something was wrong. Then the day went on, and I, along with many others, turned in my ballot to vote. Now, I’m in California, so it really doesn’t matter that I voted, mathematically, because California is a strong blue state. Yet I voted none-the-less, because it it my belief that all people should take advantage of the choices they are given. As the night wore on, it became clearer and clearer that Trump was winning this election.
The first major tip off for me was that he was ahead in all the swing states. He won Ohio, which is a corner stone state for elections. And things were still not really setting in for people on my Facebook feed. Then Florida came down to the wire and Trump won. Everyone of my generation has feelings about votes in Florida that come down to the wire, because when Bush won Florida by a supreme court ruling, it was talked about by everyone’s mom and dad pretty much until Obama was elected. This seemed to be when everyone woke up to reality. And suddenly all my friends, all these well intentioned Democrats, started to panic. How could Trump be winning? How? He called Mexican immigrants rapists! He was backed by the KKK! He bragged about sexually assaulting women! He said we should persecute Muslims!
So then how did he win? It seems so obvious to me that he is not an acceptable candidate for our country, but 49+ million people voted for him. That’s a literal fuck ton of people. It’s not just racism. It’s not just anti-Hilary. People believe this guy will actually change the way America works. At its core, they believe what he has said to be true. In at least some of their eyes, all these things he said is true. Now, I dislike Trump, but he is a powerful speaker. He uses concise, simple language that is direct and to the point. You know that idea that some guy is a ladies man because he is self-confident? That’s what Trump expresses to people. He also uses my favorite rhetorical device, hyperbole. “Make America Great Again,” is a slogan that feels hyperbolic. But hyperbole incites people. It hits people in their emotional areas. It’s an appeal to pathos, but it appears as a logos argument, which makes it really hard to argue with.
Which is what the election became about. It became about who had the more important issue. And the reality is that Trump crafted more important issues. They might not be really important in the scope of the world, but he made them seem more important—and at what point does “seems” and “reality” not simply become the same thing? I’ve talked about this before. If you say something is true for long enough, it becomes true, because truth is relative to what humans perceive. Hillary became the enemy to Red America. Less people trusted her than Trump, despite numerous studies showing that he lied on a more consistent basis than any other candidate in the entire election cycle. And the problem is that the DNC let it happen. They did not handle Bernie Sanders well, which divided the party and made “party unification” something that felt begrudging. “Fine, I’m with her, I guess” was a real bumper sticker, to further illustrate my point.
Trump thrives on hyperbole. He made a TV show emphasizing the phrase “You’re Fired.” If you have ever played a game competitively, you know that once you begin playing your opponents game, you have already lost. If you are an aggressive team, you have to stay aggressive, or you will lose because you are in an uncharted territory. You may think Trump is an idiot, but he’s clearly grabbed American democracy by the…throat. Now, I’m all for country unity, but country unity requires the unity of all people. Which I’m not sure a Trump candidacy can ever do.
Some of my close friends are terrified. The LGBTQA friends I know are horrified by Mike Pence, and rightfully so. The guy OK’d electroshock therapy to “cure gays.” My immigrant friends are afraid—even the ones that are here legally, because they know that a mob mentality can sweep away people who have done nothing wrong. It only takes a spark to catch fire, but that spark can burn for hours on end. Don’t believe me? Move to California for a summer and see how fires start. Or look at how some people are speaking to and about minorities now, and see that in many peoples eyes, People of Color are still lesser beings.
“Who could have seen this coming?” Well, I did. It was pretty clear from the primaries that he was going to win. He knocked his opponent’s off balance. He sowed the seeds in rural voters minds that politics were failing and that they had been rigged, then used his ethos as a “successful” businessman to get them fired up enough to come out and vote. Rural voters were up from 19% in 2012 to 26(ish)% this election. This is something that the Hilary campaign did not do. I’m not saying Hilary didn’t run a good campaign—by normal standards, she ran a very good campaign. She was composed, she was rhetorical, she was educated, she was far more prepared than any candidate we’ve seen in recent debates aside from perhaps her primary opponent, and she was extremely experienced. The problem was, that wasn’t what this campaign was about.
I brought up hyperbole, and negativity was another key aspect of this campaign. This should have been obvious, given how vile the 2012 campaign got due to Citizens United. What, did we think things were suddenly going to be nice? No. Trump is a direct result of Citizens United. He embodies negativity, and even embraces it. He took a video tape of him bragging about sexually assaulting a woman, embraced that he did it, and moved passed it. WE ARE STILL TALKING ABOUT HILARY’S DAMN EMAILS. Trump didn’t let something phase him, or act as a thorn in his side—even if it meant saying something more obscene the next week to get away from it. Hilary…kinda did. And maybe it was out of her control. People kept bringing it up, and maybe this wouldn’t have happened to a man and our country is still sexist. Excuses. True maybe. But they are excuses.
The fact of the matter is that those issues needed to be put to rest. Instead of “I accept responsibility for X and in the future” it should have been “Yeah, I made a mistake, but you know what? Everyone makes this mistake. It’s so common.” And then listed all the other embassy attacks that were mishandled and private email servers that had been used. Maybe even, I don’t know, bring up her opponents use of hidden information? If the election is about hyperbole, negativity, and strength, then don’t let it be Trump’s court. Make it your court.
I digress. I am worried for my friends. Tensions are high. That happens when things are taken out of proportion, which happens a lot around election year. The stock market was up earlier today, and now it is falling. Women feel threatened. Non-white Americans feel threatened. Non-Christians feel threatened. Democrats feel threatened. Journalists feel threatened. Our allies feel threatened. Countries that are not are allies feel happy because America is in turmoil, but they know they are threatened in the back of their heads too.
Now, I’m sure I could be called a “Libitard,” for buying into the facts that have been presented to me, but I don’t think that’s true. I’ve long come to terms with “Liberal Hypocrisy” as a mainstay of thought. The idea that a liberal has all answers to problems so that they can get a long. A so-called “higher path” to the bigoted, narrow minded Republicans. But, in the words of Lewis Black, “if liberals are so good at winning, why do they lose?” I’ll tell you why. Because from up on that seat, that high horse, it becomes harder to get down and vote. “We’ve got this in the bag.” “There’s no way we can lose.” “They’re handing us this election by putting Trump against Clinton.” Really? 2/3rds of America doesn’t vote. What if half of one of that third comes out and votes? That’s what happened for Republicans. But it’s more than that. It’s taking our politics seriously. It’s standing up and saying “I’m going to watch the news even though I hate the news because my life will be changed by this election.” And change it shall. Many people are talking about moving out of the country. Canada’s citizenship website crashed. Maybe the reality is that we’ve been spread too thin. There’s no way the needs of Iowa match the needs of California, Texas, New York, and Utah.
And I get it, State’s have rights to. I live in California. I know that my life is probably going to be the least impacted out of the whole country by this election—save nuclear war. But as a citizen of this country I am distraught. Because Donald Trump has been divisive in his rhetoric. Sure, he united a party that was on the verge of falling apart, but uniting half the country and alienating the other half is worse than alienating a quarter of the country. Think about how much you hate your opposing party’s candidate. Think how much you hate that one aunt that is voting in opposition with you. Think about how much you were surprised your friend was voting for the enemy team, and how much you loathe them now. It’s almost brother versus brother. It makes my stomach hurt because all these things we stand for—and I don’t even know which “we” I am referring to—but the things that we stand for have been compromised. I was taught that bullying was a weak man’s trade. I was taught that being braggadocios is proof of an excess of pride. I am not Christian, but I was taught that humility should supersede the rest of life. I was taught that all men are created equal. I was taught that if you worked hard, things would get better. Tonight, I have been taught that you can short cut your way to success by taking advantage of people. And I’m not sure what that means for the rest of the world. But it’s 12:08 AM now, and here we are.
I wish I could end on a positive note. That the sun will rise in the morning. But if the sun rises red with anger, and hate, is that really a sun we can all live happily under?
Here’s a post-post election thought that I figured I should add in. I sat down to add this at 12:03 PM on the day after the election. Ironically, “Good Morning” by Kanye West was the first song on by Pandora. As shaken as I still am by the decision America made last night, life does go on. Hate will get us one of two places. One, further divided. Riots are starting, which I am not surprised about. I am worried they will escalate to Civil War. We haven’t experienced a Civil War with nuclear weapons, and I doubt we want to. The other option I see hate bringing us is the same cyclical nonsense that occurred when Obama was first put in office. Remember that? Remember the Tea Party people? And while the phrase “not my president” has continued to this day, I would hope that we could be the better people, and put that aside. There is only so much space in prisons. Do not sit down if hatred sets in, but do no be the person to insight violence. Protect each other. Do not let this so-called “white lash” become the split in our country that causes us to sink under.