Last night was a rejection of Hillary Clinton. She was not the best candidate to face Donald Trump, and she was certainly not the best candidate to face any of the other Republican candidates.
Now, I’m not saying that if Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic nominee everything would be perfect right now. Trump may have been more effective in criticizing Bernie in the debates (probably by just yelling “Socialist!”). But the Democratic Party clearly picked their candidate well before the electorate had a chance to speak, and the establishment did all they could to coronate Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders wasn’t given a fair shot, and not only did this isolate a huge portion of new voters, but it drove some to third party candidates or (ridiculously enough) Donald Trump.
Donald Trump shouldn’t have been a difficult challenger. He admitted to sexual assault, made his racist opinions clear, and displayed a clear lack of knowledge in the realms of foreign policy, trade, border control, economics, and truth more generally. His presidential victory has led to a worse downturn on Wall Street than the one experienced after the September 11th attacks, and the world surely waits in fear for the instability his presidency will bring diplomatically.
So who’s at fault for the current situation? It’s not the disenfranchised Trump voters, it’s not the third party candidates, and it’s not the unnecessary FBI-Comey email update. This election is the fault of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment, who struck out with the ball sitting on a tee.
Throughout the primary season, Clinton made no moves to seriously convince Sanders supporters that she would represent and work for them in Washington, and the DNC worked to ensure she didn’t have to. By virtue of her disproportionate establishment support and name recognition (at first), she was able to coast through the primaries. The Clinton-leaning DNC refused to add more debates, Clinton gave no press conferences for over a year, and she barely won her primary bid compared to expectations.
And instead of seriously campaigning and making an effort to account for her unfavorable ratings in the general election, perhaps by taking on more of Sanders’s agenda or picking a non-establishment running mate, Clinton continued to conduct the presidential election with the same misconception that the results were already determined, and that the public would be okay with more of the same.
The primary season should have been a clear warning to the Clinton campaign, and there should have been a greater effort made to bridge the gap between the Sanders camp. Clinton let Trump talk at the debates, which definitely worked to her benefit, but she forgot to speak to the people that were uncertain. She failed to win over the voters that felt they couldn’t trust her. The Clinton camp trusted too heavily in Trump’s incompetence, and assumed that hatred for what he stands for would automatically translate to Hillary votes.
Well they were wrong, and that failure belongs to Hillary and her campaign. And let me say, I am upset too. I voted for Clinton because I never wanted to witness a Trump presidency. But last night happened, and the warning I was giving to Clinton Democrats throughout the primary season came true. Party lines and non-establishment zeal triumphed over a candidate that wasn’t listening to the voices of an excited base. The downside is that reason and human dignity were on her side, and this is the United States now.
I am ashamed, but more than that, I am furious that anyone can claim that this came out of nowhere. Perhaps if the Sanders supporters weren’t ignored, shut out, and silenced by the Clinton camp, a lesson could’ve been learned and disaster could’ve been avoided last night. Perhaps the Democratic Party will learn a lesson and shift future strategy, but all I can say is that the American people have lost a fight of immense importance unnecessarily. Trump is president, the Congress stayed red, and the Supreme Court seat is still waiting to be filled. What is going to be done in the next 2 years?