On the 2016 Election
I was talking to my friend the other day and he asked me to reassure him about the recent election. He's not the type to get hysterical or irrational about things either. His reason for concern was understandable, a hiring freeze on government jobs and a lot of changes around the EPA made him wonder about his future job prospects since it directly affected him. We talked for an hour about a lot of things, but I wanted to write down some of the things I thought were valuable points about the outcome of this election cycle.
There's been a little bit of research done on partisanship, and it would suggest that political leanings are more divisive than things like race. I remember reading a piece in the WSJ a few months ago that touched on the subject as well, and in my own anecdotal experience I've felt that as well. If I watched an election debate with my friends who are conservative, I felt like any liberal-leaning opinions I had weren't ones that should be voiced. Watching with liberals? Definitely don't mention the conservative perspective. This could be because I'm not the type of person who seeks conflict, but it's also something which affects my choice in partners as well. I can respect differences, but some issues can be game-changers depending on the person.
Watching any news show, or any social commentary, the partisanship is palpable. If you watch John Oliver, you can see his smugness and liberal superiortiy practically dripping from his wide open mouth as he scoffs at the antics of those he disagrees with. If you watch Milo Yiannapolis, you can view his smugness and conservative superiority drip from his perfectly combed hair. From CNN to MSNBC, you'll find anchors and hosts who deride the sides opposing their views.
This type of nastiness towards the "other side" only serves to further entrench Americans into the two party system we currently have. It provides an easy scapegoat for problems, for example, Obamacare? It doesn't work for everyone, and there are problems with it. But the argument I hear most about why that is, is that it's just been blocked and hampered by the republican party. Reality check: If that was the case, than that must mean that Aetna pulling out from 11 state exchanges was just politics, and had nothing to do with running a business without massive losses. But it's easier to blame "the other" than it is to admit that not everything in the 11,000 pages of regulations was perfect the first time around.
I think that this "my side is better than yours" attitude has a lot to do with why some people voted for Trump, and why some voted for Hillary. Liberal vs conservative was a big one here, but there were moral sides as well. For some voters, Hillary's dishonesty and criminal actions were the reason not to vote for her, for Trump, his lifestyle and arrogance rubbed people the wrong way or worse. No matter what side you took, or what choice you made I'd guess that many people took their sides based on old habits, on their own social bias, and for some, because of something they saw on T.V. or YouTube somewhere. This leads me to my next point
Did you watch the debates? Did you read the new's coverage from major networks, smaller networks, foreign papers? Did all the things you learned about each candidate come from something fed to you from an anchor, journalist, or blogger? I don't know if you noticed, but the establistment that is the media complex did favors on both sides. For example, Trump had nearly constant media attention this entire election cycle, and barely spent a dime on it. Hillary had basically all the major networks rooting for her campaign. Hell, they even predirected her winning with a 91 percent chance or in the case of the New York times, an 85 percent chance.
They both had their share of negatives from the media. Trump's statements were called into question nearly every day, he was called racist, sexist, and every other -ism under the PC block. Hillary's deletion of 30k emails and lying to the FBI while under investigation came up numerous times in papers, news briefs, and debates. The only thing that differed between conservative and liberal articles was the subject of their vitriol.
If you rooted for a candidate, all you had to do was open up an article to find out why you were a horrible person. On either side. The partisanship trench mixed with the authoratative tones from the media did nothing to help people join hands in understanding, and only helped to drive people apart. The thing that was most lacking from people in specific camps, and from the media which howled night and day was something very simple, and yet I think it was the driving force behind the results of this election.
I have two single words for why Trump won. And this is the first one. Respect. Perhaps this isn't a word you associate with him unless he happens to be saying whom he has "tremendous respect for", but this is what people seem to lack on both sides.
For the Hillary supporter, their respect for a Trump supporter is nearly always nonexistent. I've seen enough interviews, videos of campus encounters, and protests to see the fact that those who supported Hillary, for the most part, do not respect Trump. And I think the riots going on in New York, sorry, "protests", are a clear indicator of that (among other things).
For the Trump supporter, their respect for someone who can support what they call a crook is also non-existent in a great many number of cases. "She should be in jail" is a common phrase, and when was the last time you saw someone respecting someone who went to jail?
It's not just the supporters though, it's also the media. Their lack of respect for the people of America who voted for Trump only serves to anger them. It feeds into the rhetoric that the media is against them. Honestly, when you have a bunch of new's anchors smugly patting each other on the back for furthering an echo chamber, while ignoring the feelings of people in "flyover country", what do you think is going to happen? Do you think that calling people uneducated day in and day out isn't going to grind on someone who's struggling with their vote? Trumps rhetoric on the establishment being against him, and the establishment's clear disrespect for him and contempt only served to push people who were tired of a system that wasn't working for them closer to the one who they saw as being in the same boat. With every tweet, every article, every headline that pushed Trump away from the establistment, they pushed more and more voters into seeing him as something that would truly bring change to Washington.
Related to respect, there was one line that Trump used that really, truly, spoke to the people who I've mentioned:
Every day I wake up determined to deliver a better life for the people all across this nation, that have been ignored, neglected and abandoned. I have visited the laid off factory workers and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals. These are the forgotten men and women of our country; and they are forgotten, but they're not going to be forgotten long. These are people who work hard, who no longer have a voice. I am your voice.
I am your voice. That's what the people needed to hear. That someone was listening to them. I want you to think about the ideals of politics, and the reality. In an ideal world, politicians are representative of the people. They reflect what those who've elected them want. They lend their ear in public hearings, assemblies, and through mail to hear grievances and strive for a better tomorrow. In reality, you have lobbyists. You have career politicans who will say and do whatever they must to get elected. You have massive corporations donating massive amounts of money to a candidate who will create opportunity for them, or who will ensure less red tape, or more red tape for their competitors.
When Hillary Clinton receives money from Lockheed Martin, and then continues expressing her war-triggering desires to have a no-fly-zone over Syria. I see an ear lent towards a defense company looking for profit. When she receives money from banks and high-profile billionaires, and continues to ignore loop-holes in tax codes that allow them (and Trump) to pay little in personal taxes, I see an ear lent towards the needs of businesses. When she receives money from fracking companies and refuses to take a hard stance or give a non-evasive answer on how she'll regulate the industry, I see an ear turned towards energy profits. And I ask myself: when did she turn her ear to the people who are starving, who are out of work? Sure, you can find her appearing at events for LGBQ groups, but dare you look into her previous disaproval of gay marriage? Most arguments against such a thing are religious based, so what happened, did she just give up her God? Or is she just pandering for now? When she turns her ear towards minority groups? Is it just pandering? Or will she do something for them besides take their vote and turn tail?
None of that is to say that Donald Trump doesn't take money from similar people. He does. I believe he took money from coal companies, and unsurprisingly, I see some pro-coal policies planned for the coming years. But when Trump visits North Carolina he doesn't fake an accent. When he visits Michigan he doesn't visit a "nice" section of town, he visits factory workers, or auto industry workers. The difference between Clinton and Trump is that Clinton visited middle America as flyover country while Trump visited it as America. He talked to people. He didn't retreat, stumbling, to a car to be taken to the next private speech. Hillary Clinton hardly had any press conferences during her entire campaign, at one point going 116 days in a row without one. Trump on the other hand? Phone in hand and media exposure where he could get it, whenever he could get it.
During the Brussels attacks, the Today Show contacted Trump and Clinton for their comments. Reportedly, Trump had 0 hesitation to give them his comments over the phone, right away. Clinton declined. You can say that this is a point for Clinton, not capitalizing on tragedy for political gain. But you can also argue that to someone hearing about this, that she didn't have any comment at all showed a lack of caring. And when so many Americans are feeling disenfranchised, do you honestly think they would elect someone who not only doesn't seem to listen or want to talk to them, but who also is silent in the face of terrorism? Whether or not this is a fair characterization of what happened or not, it's still a perspective that I think is understandable. And if you continue this train of thought, we get to the next point.
Political Correct Culture
Despite what the American far left (or regressive left as David Rubin would say) think, not everyone buys into the idea of being politically correct. The notion of a micro-agression, or that everything is based around identity politics is ridiculous to a great many number of people. There are people who believe that racism is over, and there are people who don't believe that racism exists living in this country. And, despite what you may believe, they have every right to their opinions just as you do yours. Same goes with sexism, there are people who buy into the propaganda that is 77 cents, and there are those who buy the research from pew that hits it at 93 cents with the remaining 7 percent explained by factors such as negotiation and self-advocacy.
But most of all, I believe that the biggest factor in the election of Trump that one can attribute to political correctness is this: the demonization of the white male; and of whites in general. The axe to grind on the far left seems to be patriarchy, and specifically white privilege and guilt. I find this to be obvious, but what do you think happens when you accuse a group of people of being guilty of things which they have never personally done? What do you think happens when you continue accusing them, they ask what they can do, and you say that they can't understand the problem because they are the problem? What do you think happens if you state all the wrongs they've done in the past, and then decide that the metric by which you judge them is one which you cannot be judged by yourself? Pretty obvious if you ask me. They'll get angry. Accuse someone of being racist or sexist, then create spaces where someone who's white cannot come in? Hypocritical actions like this, where the redefining of words and definitions in some kind of Orwellian nightmare can only breed one thing: resentment.
So what do you think happens when someone comes along who represents a lot of the things that these people are demonizing? You'd think they'd be beaten down, put back in line with this new cultural norm that seems to be being imposed on campus's everywhere. What do you think happens when they're not? When no matter what's thrown at them they look at the people whining and shrug it off. And they shrug it off over and over again, until the words "racist", "sexist", "bigot", "xenophobe" become all but meaningless. What do you think someone who's afraid to speak up from fear of violating the political correct social norm is going to feel when they see someone come along who does take those hits, who does raise an eyebrow and call it out as too much? That's right. You're going to see someone who will feel empathy. Who will sympathyze and listen. What do you think will happen when that person, now seen as a champion, says to the world I am your voice?
Just because I used the example of the blame for everything under the sun being thrown at whites as an example doesn't mean that that's the only case where those words became powerful. You can easily apply that to gender and class as well. We've all seen the figure's already, things like 65% of non-college females and 40% of white females supported Trump. I could see an argument here that the inflamatory rhetoric of the third wave feminist alienates not just men, but also other females who do not conform to what's expected of the "sisterhood".
Whether you agree with political correctness or not. Whether you take accusations of -ism's seriously or not. Whether you blame a patriarchy for your problems or a system of oppression. There are people in this nation who are sick of it, who don't want to hear it, and who, given the chance, have voted for someone who shares that feeling. But perhaps even stronger than this is the divide between the insiders and the outsiders.
The Class Divide
As I said before when talking about listening, each candidate has their ears towards different groups. Who do you think visited more poverty stricken areas? Who do you think has had more interactions with "common" people? While both Trump and Hillary are upper class citizens, who do you think more reflects the average middle and lower class person? The billionaire who swears, talks loudly and a bit too quickly? Or the politician with canned speeches, careful vague answers, and condescending replys to issues that an average voter cares for?
Class isn't often discussed in American society, perhaps something leftover from the anti-communist feelings from previous decades, but it underpins more issues than any other issue I believe. After all, you have successful people of every color if they're started off in a wealthy family, a poor family with little opportunity, regardless of race, will most likely create more poverty stricken families.
This class divide breeds the idea of insider and outsider very easily. And related to this is the notion of being part of or being outside of the "establishment". When people feel that a government policies aren't working to solve the problems set out to be done, they lean more towards candidates who are outside of the system with the hope that they'll "shake things up". It's not hard to see that Clinton was the establishment vote and Trump was not. Can you blame voter's for wanting change? I mean, Obama certainly campaigned on it when he ran for office. The same sentiment that led to Obama's victory also fed into creating the opportunity and conditions for Trump to win.
Not everyone who supported GamerGate voted for Trump, and I don't mean to imply that. But because of GamerGate a large number of people who previously wanted nothing more than to sit around and play video games became disenfranchised with the media. They saw the lies and narratives that could be crafted, and they did something about it. They managed to take down Gawker (with the help of Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel) and tell an industry that they weren't going to allow a bunch of pseudo-intellectual bloggers to try to pass themselves off as journalists.
It's easy to see how someone who has been demonized by the media might sympathize with someone who's being demonized by the media. The other thing of course is that if you actually look at Trump's website, you'd find his policy ideas and a good number of them really aren't bad. And when you see the media only starting to report on said policy's after he's won, and only going after the sound bites that sell papers during the campaign? It's very easy, as someone who supported GamerGate, to see how the media dismissed evidence that was contrary to their narrative in both situations.
Gamergate shares with Trump supporters a few sentiments: Backlash against the media, backlash against establishment-like voices trying to speak with authority while ignoring those they represent, and backlash against against political correctness. And GamerGate supporters were went from the quiet people happy to play their games in peace, to being the loudest microphones they could be, and their motivation is nothing to shake a stick at.
Besides the disrespect, and lack of listening to sides of arguments. Perhaps the easiest to understand difference was one of establishment credentials. Sure, Trump is a billionaire and successful man, but the establishment he's a part of is not the same as the one that career politicians are. The two realms of business and politicals, unfortunately, does intersect, but figures from either aren't going to automatically become a figure in the other overnight.
So when you look at Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump, you see the establisment candidate vs the outsider. And when you were watching the primaries you saw 14 establishment characters and 3 outsides: Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and Donald Trump. The favorites of the primaries were establishment figures like Jeb Bush & Ted Cruz. It's unsurprising to see people like that fail to listen to anyone other than those in their political circle. And when people are fed up with the way the system is working currently, why would they vote back in the people who have worked so hard to make it the way it is?
Not to mention that Bernie Sanders arguably should have been the DNC candidate, but the establishment decided that elections were more about someone's turn at the helm than what the people actually wanted. So, when you have all the news coming out about the rigging of the DNC candidate, it's understandable that people on the fence who had already disapproved of Clinton would switch sides to vote for the person who at least had gone through the political process according to the rules. After all, it's hard to believe that someone who doesn't think the rules apply to her would be able to enact binding regulations as promised on the same companies who backed her.
Trump is now president elect. And I'm content with that. I know a lot of people are angry, there are people protesting and holding up "Rape Melania" signs outside Trump's tower in New York. There's whining all across the internet about how electing Trump is the worst thing ever, a major set back for the nation, and a bunch of other things. I only have one thing to say to those people who are spewing that.
I mean it. Whether you like the man or not, he is going to be your president. And even if you don't respect him as a person, you should respect the office of the president itself. Obama met with him the other day, and rather than 10 minutes, they talked for over an hour. They came out of that meeting and were friendly to each other. Trump explicitly said he'll seek Obama's counsel on certain things. The man knows that there are things he's going to need others for, and he's going to get that help as he needs.
The media has built up a giant boogeyman with Trump. And now that he's elected, people are overreacting because they fear what they were told and not what the man actually is. I said this during the primary season to my friend and I still stand by it:
I think if Trump wins, that he'll do his best at the job. He talks himself up, and he talks about his accomplishments, and he wants to win and keep winning at everything he does. Because of that he's going to try to be the very best president he possibly can. And I think that's the right attitude.
Trump has won. And if he wants to keep winning, he'll have to use all the people and counsel he can. Working together with people he might not neccesarily like, and working towards making America put itself first again. You could easily apply Hillary Clinton's slogan Stronger Together to Trump's victory speech. Which, by the way, if you haven't watched it you really should.
Trump is not the devil incarnate. He's not some evil bigot who wants to kill all the gays or ban every muslim from coming to America. He's a man who has said that he will protect LGBT citizens from hateful idealogy that comes from ISIS and other places where gays are stoned to death or thrown off buildings. He's been very plain spoken that if a country lacks the infrastructure to accurately tell our nation about threats a possible immigrant might pose, than we should air on the side of caution during these troubled times and not allow them into the country. He never said all Mexicans were rapists or anything even close. If you stop grabbing the sound bites, and start listening to what the man is saying and not just how he comes off the cuff sometimes, you'll find yourself looking at a very different man than what the media has portrayed.
I for one, am looking forward to "making America great again", and hey, if you look at the list of things Trump says he'll do in the first 100 days, some of it is pretty damn good sounding:
- propose an amendment to impose term limits on all members of congress
That means no more career politicans. Which, is a double edged sword as there are some really good politicans out there who have the interests of the people at heart.
- a hiring freeze on all federal employees exempting military, public safety, and public health
This was one of his campaign promises, to cut down on the size of the government and to create efficiencies. Back in 2014, Gallup reported that Americans think the government wastes 51 cents of every dollar. And if that's even half true, than cutting back would be a good thing for the national debt. It, like others, is a double edged sword though, since there are plenty of government offices that need more people and help (such as the single visa center that process all visa's for the entire country).
- a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated
I don't know about you, but whenever I try to read a tax code, or a government code on any subject. It's a pain in the ass, and you nearly always miss loopholes and other subtleties that you would need a team of lawyers to understand. So I think that this is a pretty welcome idea, to slowly cut down on the size of regulations, God knows Obamacare could use some trimming.
- a 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service;
This is just beautiful.
- a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government;
This is great.
- a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.
- announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership
I don't know about you. But this is good. The TPP had more problems than I could list here and I won't try to.
- suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting.
This was his biggest campaign promise to the fearful American people. And I think it's a perfectly logical and cautious step to take. I've seen the rise of attacks in the EU as they've taken in more and more people from terrot-prone regions, and I don't want that here in America. A governments duty is to protect its people, and whether the denial of a refugee makes you cry or not, this is for the good of all citizens of America and I hope you can understand that.
There are other things he plans on doing which I'm not a big fan of, such as his desire to lift restrictions that were put into place to deal with climate change. But hey, you don't always get what you want, and luckily we have a government where you can email your senators or representatives and express your opinion. If enough people come together to fight for climate change, than something will happen. And quite frankly, I personally believe that if the evidence is provided, and the reasoning sound, that President Trump will listen to the American people, just as he did during his campaign, unlike Clinton.comments powered by Disqus