After Donald Trump’s victory, Democrats and progressives have traded accusations as to what was at fault, the Establishment’s insistence on Hillary Clinton or the insurgent challenges from Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein, reports Nat Parry.
By Nat Parry
As the reality of Donald J. Trump’s victory in the Nov. 8 presidential election sets in, Democrats and progressives have been trading accusations over who – or what – may have led to this historic electoral defeat.
For progressives who backed Vermont’s independent Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primaries, the culprit is clearly the Democratic Party establishment, led by the likes of former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz and current interim DNC chair Donna Brazile, who they blame for stacking the deck against their candidate and ensuring Hillary Clinton’s nomination – despite her considerable baggage heading into the election.
These progressives point to Clinton’s historically low favorability ratings in national polls, and the fact that in a hypothetical one-one-one match-up between Trump and Sanders, polling data showed early on that Sanders would have likely defeated Trump easily. Trump himself seemed to understand the advantage Sanders had over him in a possible general election contest, tweeting in May 2016 that he “would rather run against Crooked Hillary Clinton than Bernie Sanders and that will happen because the books are cooked against Bernie!”
Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, Sanders was clearly more liked, even as Clinton wrapped up the nomination last summer. Gallup polling found in June 2016 that Sanders held 70 percent favorable and 18 percent unfavorable ratings among Democratic voters, while Clinton was seen favorably by 67 percent and unfavorably by 28 percent. In the aftermath of Trump’s victory – assisted by the lowest voter turnout in 20 years – some have argued that enthusiasm for Sanders could have pushed the Democrats to victory in key swing states that ultimately went to Trump.
To back up these claims, the progressive website USUncut pointed out on Nov. 10 that in five states that Sanders won in the primaries – Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wisconsin – the exit polling data indicated that the demographic groups that helped Trump reach 270 electoral college votes were also Sanders’s key demographics.
“Assuming that Sanders won white, rural rust belt voters in the traditionally blue states that Hillary Clinton lost,” Sanders would have won the Electoral College with a 303-235 advantage, according to this analysis.
Yet, while progressives blame the Democratic establishment for pushing an unpopular nominee – who was saddled by a federal investigation into her use of a private email server while Secretary of State, questions related to the ethics of her collecting sizable speaking fees from Wall Street firms, and suspicions over the Clinton Foundation’s dealings with foreign governments – establishment Democrats have been largely placing the blame on progressives for failing to unite behind Clinton.
Some commentators have pointed fingers at voters who decided to buck the two-party system and cast a ballot for the Green Party’s Jill Stein or the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson while others have assigned blame to Sanders for daring to mount a primary challenge against Clinton in the first place.
This was the argument of Prof. Gil Troy, who wrote at Time Magazine on Nov. 14 that “Senator Bernie Sanders earned the 2016 ‘Ralph Nader Award’ for the Leftist Most Responsible for Helping Republicans Win the Presidency.”
While acknowledging that Trump “cleverly exploited voters’ frustrations” and that “Clinton’s campaign in 2016 was as rigid and empty as it was when she lost in 2008,” Troy nevertheless argues that Sanders’ insurgent primary campaign “pushed her too far left to prevent an effective re-centering in the fall.”
Troy offers few facts or polling data to back up these claims, instead making broad-based assertions such as “just as Ralph Nader siphoned tens of thousands of votes on Election Day 2000 in Florida from Al Gore, causing the deadlock and George W. Bush’s victory, Bernie Sanders’ similar vampire effect enfeebled Hillary Clinton.”
According to this view, even running a progressive primary election challenge – much less a third-party campaign – is dangerously unacceptable, creating a so-called “vampire effect” that “siphons votes” that rightfully belong to someone else.
The Spoiler Effect
While Sanders remains the target of some criticism for costing the Democrats the election, the real vitriol is leveled at third parties and their supporters.
Typical was the reaction of Newsweek senior writer Kurt Eichenwald, who published an account of an encounter he had with a fan in the Philadelphia International Airport following the election. The individual had approached Eichenwald to praise his work but nearly ended up the victim of a physical assault.
According to Eichenwald, the man, who had recognized the pundit from his television appearances, thanked him for his reporting on Trump and expressed disgust that Trump had won. Eichenwald then asked the fan who he had voted for. The man stated that he voted for Green Party nominee Jill Stein, to which Eichenwald replied: “You’re lucky it’s illegal for me to punch you in the face.” According to his account of the interaction, Eichenwald then told his fan to go “have sex with himself.”
As anyone who has ever voted for a party other than the Democrats or Republicans can attest, this is a pretty familiar reaction. In the United States’ winner-take-all electoral system, a vote for anyone outside of the two main parties is seen as a “wasted vote” that could “spoil” the election, and those who make this decision risk professional and social ostracism.
In this system, third-party voters are vilified to an extent not seen for any other voting demographic – including nonvoters who in fact account for a far greater share of the electorate, and therefore have a much bigger effect in swinging the election.
Yet, this has not stopped many pundits and social media users from piling blame onto supporters of Stein or Johnson, who are deemed reckless and irresponsible for so frivolously casting a ballot for candidates who had no chance of winning – or worse yet, as personally culpable for Trump’s victory and all the disastrous policies that might follow.
“If you vote for somebody who can’t win for president, it means that you don’t care who wins for president,” opined MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Election Night. She later elaborated on this wasted-vote theory, tweeting about a fanciful scenario in which every Stein vote and half of Johnson’s votes would have gone to Clinton, who might have then claimed enough states from Trump to eke out an Electoral College win, a story repeated by CNN.
In a similar vein, columnist Paul Krugman weighed in by tweeting in the early morning hours of Nov. 9 that “Jill Stein has managed to play Ralph Nader,” referring to the “spoiler effect” that the 2000 Green Party nominee allegedly had on the election 16 years ago. “Without her Florida might have been saved.”
Setting aside rehashed arguments from 2000, when it comes to Election 2016 independent evaluations of third-party voting have concluded that the effect of this voting bloc was statistically negligible, and cannot seriously be attributed to Clinton’s defeat.
A Wall Street Journal analysis, for example, found that Clinton would have needed to win 70 percent of the vote share that went to both the Libertarian and Green parties across eight swing states to claim victory – a highly unlikely scenario considering that the Libertarian Party champions a brand of fiscal conservatism and limited government that traditionally appeals to right-leaning, Republican voters. (Indeed, the 2016 Libertarian Party ticket was headed by two former Republican governors: Gary Johnson of New Mexico and Bill Weld of Massachusetts.)
In another analysis, the Washington Post concluded that in the five states Trump won by a margin smaller than the combined Johnson/Stein vote, some of them could have been flipped if the entire Stein vote was added to Clinton’s total. In this scenario, the Post notes, the outcome might have changed in Michigan and Wisconsin, still however leaving her short of an Electoral College victory.
The paper pointed out however that “this projection rests on the unrealistic assumption that all Stein voters would have voted for Clinton,” conceding that it is impossible to “know how Johnson and Stein backers would have voted if forced to choose between Clinton, Trump and staying home.” More realistically, many would have “skipped the presidential race or voted for another candidate.”
Besides the lack of hard statistical data to back up the wasted vote/spoiler effect claims, they also rest on a flawed assumption that anyone’s votes – whether Clinton’s, Trump’s, Johnson’s or Stein’s – actually belong to anyone else. In fact, many third-party voters are simply fed up with the system itself, and hope that by voting for other options, it might be possible to someday build up viable alternatives to the two-party system.
This was especially the case this year, in which the numbers of disaffected voters reached historic proportions. By the time the primaries had been decided last summer, in fact, the two front-runners were the most unpopular candidates seen in a generation, which should have been seen as a warning sign to Democrats who traditionally rely on high voter turnout for electoral success.
According to a Quinnipiac poll released in June, Clinton had a 57 percent unfavorability rating, while Trump received a 59 percent unfavorability rating. Moreover, according to a survey by Data Targeting, 55 percent of Americans favored having an independent or third-party presidential candidate to consider. Among millennials – a key demographic for Barack Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012 – 91 percent expressed support for additional choices this year.
Another poll, released in September just before the Trump-Clinton debates began, found that 76 percent of Americans favored Johnson and Stein sharing the stage with the two main party candidates in the debates. This, of course, did not happen, with the Commission on Presidential Debates sticking to its strict criteria that independents and third parties need to reach 15 percent in national polling before they are allowed into the debates.
This is perhaps one reason why Americans remained largely ignorant of Stein’s and Johnson’s campaigns, with Gallup finding that 63 percent were unfamiliar with Johnson heading into the general election, and 68 percent were unfamiliar with Stein.
Voter Boycotts and Voter Suppression
Regardless of the impacts of third-party alternatives – which only ended up receiving a total of 4 percent of the popular vote – the deep disaffection among American voters that was seen in earlier polling seemed to manifest itself in other voting trends on Election Day. This disaffection can be seen in the high number of down-ballot voters who opted not to cast a ballot for president this year.
One telling analysis found that in 14 states, down-ballot candidates received more votes than presidential candidates.
In North Carolina, for instance, about 30,000 more people cast ballots for incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory and Roy Cooper than for any of the presidential nominees. In Vermont, about 314,000 voters cast ballots in the governor’s race, and 313,000 for the Senate, while just 291,000 voted for president – a difference of almost 8 percent.
In Oregon, where Democrats Sen. Ron Wyden and Gov. Kate Brown easily won re-election, their races drew about 75,000 more votes than the presidential contest. Other states in which down-ballot voters essentially boycotted the presidential election included Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.
Besides nonvoters, another factor that should be receiving at least as much attention as third-party “spoilers” are the would-be voters who could not cast a ballot due to systematic disenfranchisement, possible voter suppression or other all-too-familiar problems at polling places. As the Brennan Center for Justice noted on Nov. 14, “too many voters had to contend with long lines, malfunctioning voting machines, confusion over voting restrictions, voter intimidation, [and] voter registration problems.”
The nonpartisan law and policy institute, which has been documenting flaws in U.S. election administration for years, notes that “2016 was not the first election in which these problems have occurred – and that itself is a problem.”
Describing numerous instances of voting problems across the country, the group concluded that “the ways in which elections are administered, including how well they are resourced, can have a negative impact on citizens’ ability to cast a ballot and the confidence the public has in the system.”
Investigative reporter Greg Palast went further than that, contending that “before a single vote was cast, the election was fixed by GOP and Trump operatives.”
He noted in a Nov. 11 blog post that in 2013, just as the Supreme Court overturned key sections of the Voting Rights Act, Republican operatives created a system called Crosscheck to purge 1.1 million Americans from the voter rolls of Republican-controlled states.
According to his count, in Michigan, the Crosscheck purge list eliminated 449,922 voters from the rolls, while Trump claimed victory in that state by just 13,107 votes. In Arizona, the Trump victory margin was 85,257 votes, while a total of 270,824 voters were eliminated by Crosscheck. The Trump victory margin in North Carolina was 177,008, while the Crosscheck purge list accounted for 589,393 voters knocked off the rolls.
Palast notes that “the electoral putsch was aided by nine other methods of attacking the right to vote of Black, Latino and Asian-American voters … including ‘caging,’ ‘purging,’ blocking legitimate registrations, and wrongly shunting millions to ‘provisional’ ballots that will never be counted.”
He also points to the discrepancies between the exit polling data and the final results in several battleground states, noting that exit polling is historically “deadly accurate.” Despite this, Palast notes that in 2016, the exit polling was off the mark in at least four key swing states.
According to the exit polls, Clinton should have won Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but at the end of the day all of these states went to Trump. Accounting for a total of 74 Electoral College votes, these four states would have been more than enough for Clinton to have flipped the election.
And of course, this all assumes that the Electoral College is legitimate in the first place. The fact remains that Hillary Clinton received more than one million more votes nationwide than Donald Trump, and the only reason he is assuming the White House is due to the arcane and controversial system of allocating votes through the Electoral College.
This has led to increasing calls to abolish the Electoral College altogether based on the idea that elections should be determined on the principle of one person, one vote.
Needless to say, to many around the world – not to mention many within the United States – these elections are looking less like free expressions of the people’s will than they do down-and-dirty slug fests in which either side is willing to claim a victory at any cost.
This election was observed by two international organizations in fact, and while their final reports vary to considerable degrees, both the Organization of American States and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe both criticized the tone of the election and highlighted numerous structural deficiencies in the way the United States chooses its leaders.
The OAS final report identified the following issues as representing key areas for improvement in the U.S. electoral system: taking measures to avoid long lines at polling places, broadening cooperation between states to compare information and avoid possible duplications in voter registries, expanding the practice of redistricting through nonpartisan commissions, addressing the impacts of the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, establishing better campaign finance rules, and jettisoning the divisive campaign rhetoric that has turned off so many voters from the process.
The OAS also noted the unusual practice in the United States of simultaneously mandating voter identification while not providing this required identification to eligible voters.
“Practically all countries in the region provide at least one free form of national identification to their citizens, which is used for electoral purposes,” said the OAS. “In the U.S., 32 states currently have laws in force that require voters to show some form of prescribed identification to verify their identity before casting a vote.” However, these states do not make this identification readily available to citizens, contrary to good electoral practice.
This is also a weakness that the OSCE pointed out in its report, noting: “Voter identification rules are politically divisive and vary across the states, with 32 states requiring photo identification. A high volume of litigation regarding voter identification continued up to Election Day, generating confusion among voters and election officials regarding the application of rules. Efforts to ensure the integrity of the vote are important, but should not lead to the disenfranchisement of eligible voters.”
The 57-country organization also noted the undue obstacles faced by minor parties and independents trying to compete in U.S. elections.
“The number of signatures required and the signature submission deadlines vary from state to state, which made it cumbersome for third party or independent candidates to register across all states for presidential elections,” the OSCE pointed out. “Both the Green Party and Libertarian Party challenged ballot access requirements in several states, with success in a few instances.”
The organization, which has been monitoring elections in the United States since 2004, regretted that since previous election observation missions, a number of its “priority recommendations remain unaddressed.” It pointed out that “deficiencies in the legal framework persist, such as the disenfranchisement of citizens living in various territories, restrictions on the voting rights of convicted criminals and infringements on secrecy of the ballot.”
Rather than focusing on who is to blame for Trump’s victory in Election 2016, Democrats, Republicans, progressives, independent conservatives, third-party supporters, minorities, and good-government groups might be better served coming together and finally taking seriously the task of electoral reform, beginning with addressing some of the key recommendations of impartial international observers.
Perhaps then, this perennial debate and the endless exchange of recriminations might finally come to an end.
Nat Parry is the co-author of Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush. [This story originally appeared at Essential Opinion, https://essentialopinion.wordpress.com/2016/11/17/election-2016s-blame-game/
fROM NAOMI KLEIN:
“They will blame James Comey and the FBI. They will blame voter suppression and racism. They will blame Bernie or bust and misogyny. They will blame third parties and independent candidates. They will blame the corporate media for giving him the platform, social media for being a bullhorn, and WikiLeaks for airing the laundry.
“But this leaves out the force most responsible for creating the nightmare in which we now find ourselves wide awake: neoliberalism. That worldview – fully embodied by Hillary Clinton and her machine – is no match for Trump-style extremism. The decision to run one against the other is what sealed our fate. If we learn nothing else, can we please learn from that mistake?”
Thanks, Nat Parry, for highlighting Greg Palast’s reporting on the 2016 presidential election.
Hillary was none to keen to point out the shenanigans of Trump and the GOP, since it was shenanigans that delivered her the California primary over Bernie Sanders.
Notwithstanding their valiant efforts, so-called “big media” did not “do in” Sanders.
Vote theft, and Sanders’ conspicuous silence on the matter from the very beginning, “did in” the Sanders campaign.
Hillary’s silence after November 8th is no less conspicuous.
Here’s Palast’s California primary post-mortem on “The Best Democracy Can Buy” with KPFA Radio “Flashpoints” host Dennis J. Bernstein:
LISTEN to minutes 17:30-36:50
We need honest elections, but 2016 was an example of everything except honesty.
Hillary cheated to beat Sanders.
Then the Republicans cheated to beat Hillary. None of this is right, but the fact remains that neither party has the slightest interest in stopping the dishonesty and fraud. The only time either one of them gets upset is when the cheating goes against them.
We’d be anticipating and possibly dreading the inauguration of President Bernard Sanders if the US had an honest election system. Which of course it doesn’t.
My main point here is that Hillary is the very last person who ought to be grousing about electoral fraud.
“In this sense, Trump’s election was enabled by the neoliberal policies of the Clintons and Obama that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens.” – http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/11/18/goodbye-american-neoliberalism-new-era-here
This article, and all the ensuing commentary, misses one very important actor in this tawdry saga:
– also this video which is Bernie’s response to Trump’s win of the presidential election.
Bernie said he has a list of the promises that Trump made during the election to working people and said – we will hold Mr. Trump accountable for each of those promises and work with him to achieve those promises.
BUT he continues – there is one thing that we will not work with him on and will fight him on:
– namely Trump’s comments on homophobia, sexism, racism, etc
This was the argument of Prof. Gil Troy, who wrote at Time Magazine on Nov. 14 that “Senator Bernie Sanders earned the 2016 ‘Ralph Nader Award’ for the Leftist Most Responsible for Helping Republicans Win the Presidency.”
Democratic Party Myth That Nader Gave Us Iraq War Haunts 2016 Election by Kevin Gosztola – https://shadowproof.com/2016/04/05/democratic-party-myth-nader-gave-us-iraq-war-haunts-2016-election/
I think that one reason the Democratic establishment looks for excuses and comes up with erroneous conclusions is they’ve been like frogs in a slowly warming pot. Corrupt campaign finance helped neoliberal politicians sell out the soul of the Party.
They can’t face that they’ve been weaned off the New Deal policies that made this economy sustainable.
And they ignore the chaos from the endless wars for profit.
I think Robert Parry said in a recent article that the Dems “lost” Florida because they were snookered – they had a legal right to the over votes (hole punch plus write in of same candidate) which the lawyers for the Republicans Party were apparently allowed to steal from the Democrats.
So it wasn’t Ralph Nader….if I remember Parry’s point correctly.
Yes, excellent piece, Mr. Parry. Especially for debunking the wrongheaded thrust of Troy’s article in Time magazine and pointing to the real reasons Clinton lost.
Further proof, I think was in Bernie’s terrific new speech at Johns Hopkins University yesterday.
Obama in 2008 earned about 7 million more votes than Clinton did this election. He won 69+ million votes in 2008 to Clinton’s 62+ million in this year’s presidential election.
In 2012 Obama won just under 66 million votes.
Voters are seeking candidates worth supporting because those candidates understand why government has failed ordinary people and what to do about it.
What an absolutely super article! So full of useful information on virtually every aspect of this election.
Thank you Nat; I’ll be forwarding this to everyone.
Politicians and Pundits and Partisans — all still whining.
None of them GET IT.
We are tired of All of You.
Given the “cabinet” Trump is getting advised to set up with (all unqualified) the next two years are going to be a hoot. Unfortunately, the “Dim” are STILL trying to maintain their status quo leadership. They STILL do not get the message from their election failures. Whether they will be able to capitalize on the mistakes that the Republicans and Trump are already making remains to be seen.
(Don’t be surprised, though, such is her ego, that Hillary might try for a congressional seat in two years). Or as I saw posted somewhere, Chelsea might run for office.
We are in for a rough ride!
Uh yeah, the “National Gong Show.”
Most amusing and enlightening was the comment of one Democratic Party insider who said he was actually sort of relieved that Hillary had lost, so that they wouldn’t immeidately have to gear up in the party for a Chelsea campaign.
Doesn’t this family understand that America has had enough of them, and they should get out of our faces? They have plenty of tosh, so get lost and enjoy the rest of your lives having dinner with George Soros.
Most amusing and enlightening was the comment of one Democratic Party insider who said he was actually sort of relieved that Hillary had lost, so that they wouldn’t immediately have to gear up in the party for a Chelsea campaign.
Doesn’t this family understand that America has had enough of them, and they should get out of our faces? They have plenty of tosh, so get lost and enjoy the rest of your lives having drinks with George Soros.
After his capitulation Sanders commitment to progressive causes deeply wounded and suspect. Jill Stine however conducted herself with integrity.
If progressives hope to make gains for the interests of the poor and working poor who voted for insurgency she must do the courageous thing and call Trump and ask for a job or find ways of supporting the continued opposition to trade deals, congratulate Trump for his part is killing TPP and TTIP (cause for celebration by progressives) and his rapprochement with Russia and offer guidance and encouragement in the dismantling of the Neoliberal power structure.
There is going to be lost of disarray and chaos – things are not going to be easy – but the left/progressives have the best opportunity to get good programs and policies than they have had over the past 40 years of Neoliberal oppression.
Alienating the tens of millions who voted for Trump by screaming “death to the pu**y grabber” will consign the left to irrelevance and annihilation.
There is no more Dem/Repub, left/right there is only the insurgency or the Neoliberal establishment – take your pick.
Very good idea!
I hope Stein considers it.
I’ll be sure to send $20 instead of $10 to the Green Party U.S. in my Dec. 9th “dues” envelope. Wasted vote indeed. Both the Republican and Democratic parties are a lethal threat to the Nation. They are nothing more than Fronts for the Deep State, the MIC, the Nat’l (In)Security Establishment, and the Imperial Wall Streeters. The sooner they are DESTROYED and scattered to the four winds, the better it will be for our Nation AND the whole World. The REAL fools’ errand is believing these two despicable criminal organizations can be “reformed” (meaning: “find the right P.R. messaging ploy to fool the people just one more time”).
We are very lucky that the Dem warmongers are down and the progressives angry at Trump, who must now deliver or set the stage for a progressive cleanup 2018-20. Where progressives regroup is the issue, but they must completely reject the MIC/WallSt/zionist bribes, candidates, and parties or they will fail forever against money in mass media and politics.
The Dems are a subsidiary of the Repubs to field fake identity candidates in case the Repubs lose. Their money comes from MIC/WallSt/zionist bribes and they no longer care at all for the people. Choosing Hillary was a betrayal, and Sanders would only have proven a closet MIC/zionist operative. If the media tolerate them at all, they are traitors.
Spot on Brad.
Michigan 300,000 votes less than Obama in 2012 (75,00 Black voters accepted the boycott challenge); North Carolina 2 million black votes decided to stay home; Wisconsin 230,000 fewer; and Pennsylvania 130,000 blacks said no this year to the Democratic Party. This is how black America (Todd Elliott Koger) helped make Donald Trump our 45th President.
The Democrats had always thrown shade in our direction. Black Lives Matter’s founders put in writing their “rejection” of us because their stated agenda was “LGBTQ” issues. In June 2016, Donald Trump was the only one willing to listen to us. We explained to Mr. Trump that we had been voting almost 50 years “straight” Democrat and our situation remained the same or worst.
First, Mr. Trump issued an online video that addressed our plight. Next he went to Michigan and then took the message to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Thereafter, we packaged the visual optics and shared his fight against the “status quo” with black America. And, in late August 2016, we outlined the grassroots plan that defined demographics, targeted groups, and the available tools to grow an arsenal of black Trump supporters. We had to work night and day to control the message and Mr. Trump’s “Plan for Black America” as a campaign strategy to change the conversation when Mr. Trump slumped in the polls.
When “sh*t hit the fan” in October 2016 and everyone started to run from Mr. Trump we suggested a “writing,” a “NEW DEAL” proposal for black America to put things back on track. Donald Trump owes his victory to “predominately black Democratic strongholds of Pennsylvania” who were convinced to give Mr. Trump 31 percent more votes than the previous Republican Party presidential candidate. African Americans like Todd Elliott Koger convinced hundreds of thousands blacks in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan, and various other states to boycott the traditional “straight” Democratic Party vote in 2016.
Mr. Trump’s “margin of victory” is realized when you combine this with an increase of “Obama white voters” in Wisconsin and Michigan voting Trump in 2016. Trump won Pennsylvania by 1.1 percentage points (68,236 votes), Wisconsin by 0.9 points (27,257 votes), and Michigan by 0.2 points (11,837 votes). If Clinton had won all three states, she would have won the Electoral College 278 to 260. She fell short in all three.
“Mr. Trump?s ?margin of victory? is realized when you combine this with an increase of ?Obama white voters? in Wisconsin and Michigan voting Trump in 2016. Trump won Pennsylvania by 1.1 percentage points (68,236 votes), Wisconsin by 0.9 points (27,257 votes), and Michigan by 0.2 points (11,837 votes). If Clinton had won all three states, she would have won the Electoral College 278 to 260. She fell short in all three.”
I live in Wisconsin. HRC didn’t deem it necessary to visit our state even once during the general election. Not once. un*be*lieve*able. That sent a message to the voters about the lack of importance our citizens’ concerns held for her, whether or not her campaign intended it that way. I’m no Trump supporter but hey- when you ignore/ take for granted a group of voters, thinking they’re in your pocket, you get what you get. The northern and northeastern counties of this state were swathed in Trump/Pence signs. I know because I traveled during September October and was blown away by the sheer numbers of those signs. Very few shout-outs for HRC. This state used to be progressive and now is solidly red.
Hubris. Plain hubris on the part of her campaign and the DNC: echo-chambers to nowhere.
Don’t know where all those? came from!
If there really were true progressives with inside the Democratic Party, they would have camped out in Wisconsin for sure. Beginning with the laid off state employees protesting against Governor Scott Walker, to helping Russ Feingold win his election bid would have kept a true leftist business for years. The current Democratic Party isn’t your grand dads party of yesteryear. In fact Wisconsin would be great ground zero for starting a new truly progressive movement, because there is so much there to work with. Hillary by her not really be Left at all, ignored Wisconsin because as she might put it, ‘what difference does it make anyway’.
All in all, a pretty good dissection of a tedious topic. What the Democratic Party lacks the courage to address is that, had Stein or Johnson not been segregated from the national discussion, Clinton’s defeat might have been significantly worse. “Hippy Grandma”, as one commentator labeled Stein, at least had policy platforms, tenable approaches and offered solutions based on empirical evidence. Whether you agree with the evidence or not, there was at least something beyond mere emotional manipulation of the issues. She also had the personal courage to endanger her personal freedom by throwing her own body into “the gears of the machine” at the pipeline protests.
Johnson may or may not be a screwball – the Aleppo gaff certainly mitigates in favor of such a diagnosis – but the “libertarian” mindset against foreign intervention, fiscal irresponsibility and constraints on personal freedom would also have likely drained votes from Clinton, an entirely “status quo” tool of the power elite. If anything, Johnson hurt Trump more than Clinton. She could have easily won the black vote. She could have gone to Michigan and stood against the political imprisonment of Reverend Pinkney. She could have earned respect from the LGBT community with a token statement against the mistreatment of Bradley/Chelsea Manning. She could have dispelled fear of nuclear annihilation by ratcheting back the entirely manufactured Putin hysteria. I could think of dozens of other strategies. Instead, she resorted to racist motivated stunts exemplified by the cheap pandering to black communities with rallies featuring Beyonce and JayZ.
The “vote fraud” controversy could be easily eliminated – with the simple implementation of a “National ID Card”. The right has fought this for decades by invoking a “papers please” fear of totalitarian abuse. The REAL motive is to protect the cheap immigrant labor market which the power elite continues to exploit. Denying felons the right to vote essentially denies them citizenship, the same as minorities are denied by caging and purging strategies. Malcom X may not be a favorite among mainstream thinkers, but he outlined this reality for minorities in terms that are impossible to deny. They are not really citizens, just as Palestinians are not citizens of Israel and Donbass residents are not citizens of Ukraine. They react with the lack of enthusiasm to be expected from the disenfranchised.
I note that Cenk Uygar, in a recent interview with Larry King, stole the analysis I posited about a year ago right here on this site. Trump is a “ratings driven” media personality. He will likely lead based on his ratings. Sure, I could be wrong. And, there’s no way to know for sure. But I suspect that he will be a much better president than Hillary Clinton could have been.
But what should Trump do to save the economy? I think a 1939 Plymouth is the answer. The drawings and dimensions are readily available. A low-tech flathead engine with modern materials and redesigned valve apertures would get better mileage with less pollution than anything on the road today, especially with throttle-body fuel injection. The energy savings in the manufacturing process would more than offset any potential loss of economy. If the “power elite” could spend five billion to overthrow the government of Ukraine, they could easily reopen the old Packard factory in Michigan. Convertible, coupe or sedan, the world would flock to buy one. Bogie drove the ’39 coupe in two of his movies. Bogie was never wrong. Think about it.
As you suggest, regression to a 1939 Plymouth might not restore the luxuries of the US lucky post-WWII economic position, but reinvestment and rejection of warmongering will end the debt slavery of the US to wars for Israel/MIC. We will have far better security in minding our own business. Whatever Trump does, we must restore democracy by eliminating the influence of money in mass media and elections.
It’s like DC politicos meet reality tv. Trump proved that the WWE fan does vote. Nothing wrong with that, since we are all Americans. Plus, a year ago I heard Trump say, how he had a Rust Belt strategy, and darn if he didn’t apply it and win the Electoral College. In fact efficiency would deem gaining the Electoral votes first, before going on to get the popular vote, and if not getting the popular vote well at least you have that stupid Electoral thing in the bag…see you in the Oval Office!
On the subject of cars getting lots of mileage I have often wondered what’s taking so long for car manufacturers to come up with cars that get lots of miles. I just googled ‘test Opel gets 120 mpg’ and this link is one of many that came up. A few years ago I saw on the Science channel how a Opel was converted to get 120 mpg, well as you will read they have come a long way with they’re experiment with these cars. How about 376 mpg?
A 1939 Plymouth sounds really cool, and I think I would prefer that over the Opel. The knowledge and technology to convert existing engines over to gain more mpg does exist, so why not do this now. Isn’t there an energy crisis?
Wow! You’ve made a lot of good points here. The first one I hadn’t seen before, but in retrospect it’s perfectly obvious.
The both of them were nearly invisible in the Corporate Media, and that was a terrific help to Hillary.
Why not call it the National Voter Card? It would have a little embedded chip with your two thumbprints. Anywhere you happened to be on election day, you go in, provide your prints which are compared with the chip image, and that had damned well better be the only time you voted that day. These National Voter Cards would be available only to US citizens – by birth or by national adoption.
Naturally there would be a federal database of thumbprints, but so what? That’s nothing compared with what the US Police State has on us now. And they’d be useful for keeping US jobs strictly for US citizens. When you apply for a job, you’d supply two prints which would go to the national registry. Not a citizen? No job. An employer who hires a non-citizen would face a horrendous fine, plus the cost of a first-class airline ticket for the illegal guy to go back wherever his home happens to be. The chances of the Power Elites permitting any version of this are right at zero.
I’ve had some ideas about US cars myself. My version would be a hybrid – a tiny 15 horse engine running at a constant speed powering the transmission and a generator as needed. Most of the “oomph” would come from the batteries, a reverse of the situation with the Honda Civic Hybrid. The fuel would be manufactured from captured carbon using electricity from “green” sources. Except for the energy input, it would replicate the German fuel making during WW2.
Regarding that engine, a new design is extremely small and incredibly clever.
Zachary, I’m not sure if it is a hoax, but Tata Motors is said to have a vehicle which runs on air compression. You have heard the saying, if you want it bad enough you will get it, well why not let the mechanics and science engineers get to work on it, if we want energy independence so bad? The answer to that question isn’t very pretty, and for this reason that is why we need a revolution. Not a violent revolution, but a revolution where mankind does the correct and right things so as to go forward. Now we are only making the wealthy wealthier, and going nowhere.
I’ve been following the compressed air car story for quite a while, and have concluded it’s almost certainly nothing more than a way of extracting money from gullible investors. The energy density just isn’t up to snuff, not even with super-expensive air tanks.
Recent news stories tell of a low-tech scheme to make batteries out of steel and brass. Too early to tell how much of it is real and how much is wishful-thinking hype.
Off the subject, but note that the power usage of cars is about equally air resistance and tire rolling resistance at 35mph, above which air resistance increases rapidly while rolling resistance rises linearly. Much of the energy is also accel energy which is largely wasted in decel, and is related to vehicle mass/weight. So the trick for low power vehicles is to keep the speed below 35mph and use a lightweight vehicle.
This is feasible without time losses in commuting because the average speed is under 35mph even where highspeed roads are used part of the way, because of start/stop time at intersections. With small light vehicles it is practical to set up some fraction of major urban routes as limited-access highways with overpasses to avoid stopping. It takes planning to avoid impacting large vehicles during the phase-in period. But the US doesn’t plan such things because the only way to prove manhood is to gun the engine and beat the next guy to the red light.
But then we don’t plan for regional energy efficiency of buildings either. Some regions use less building energy because winter is not so cold nor summer so hot. But no one speaks of incentives to move people and industry to those areas. Nor do we plan cities to reduce commuting time. Or anything else. Why would an oligarchy bother with planning: it will have what it needs when the people are screaming for the basics.
A few years ago I ran into an article which specified the horsepower required to maintain a speed of 55mph on a level road in still air. THAT I can’t find, but I just located another article from 1941 (!) saying that one of those old machines required 23 horses of engine power to maintain level motion at 55mph. With better mechanical systems, better streamlining, and better tires, I’d imagine the number in 2016 is considerably lower than that.
But this thread is about Trump’s victory, and that may impact how we drive. IMO the Power Elites have been itching to privatize the Interstate highways for quite some time, and they may see their chance to do it now. The wretched Paul Ryan will be pitching all sorts of schemes like this.
The reason I’m actively supporting small electric cars is that in a situation where the US returns to rail systems, all we’ll need the cars for is the relatively short range driving we’ll be doing. A backup fuel-powered internal combustion engine would be nothing more than a range-extender most of the time.
Idle thought – and I’m getting way off topic here – is how to power the big farm machines like I’ve had roaring around recently. This might be done with a system where a huge battery is swapped out for recharging while one of a number of backups is put into place. They could do this while unloading the grain when harvesting. If this scheme isn’t practical we’ll just have to make synthetic fuels (with electricity) to power the equipment we use now.
I lived in Sweden for 7 years. Everyone has a personal number.
I remember mine: -010842 and 4 digits. It is supposedly confidential
which means that not everyone can get it. However every
job application, every formal exchange must be signed with
your “personnummer”. It does not change if you marry,
divorce, move etc. My four digits begin with a “9” indicating
that I was not born in Sweden. Of course, I don’t know
if the system has changed over these years etc.
I thought it was an excellent solution.
—-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA
Thank you for noting the physical, actual reason that Mr. Trump “triumphed”, that being, the vote was suppressed, stolen, whatever you want to call it, in key swing states. Greg Palast has reported the process, and he says it’s not all there is, there’s more work to do in reporting on it.
Ms. Clinton was not as popular as Mr. Obama, and the Republicans got close enough to steal the election. That’s the long and the short of it.
In other words, just a lot of whinging that every loser can make and always does after an election. Of course, the federal government could get serious and at long last pass some laws to minimize cheating and voter suppression, but it cannot legislate against the bad judgement of the political parties in selecting their candidates. Unfortunately, the Democrats will always have the right to nominate the likes of a Hillary.
A significant portion of the “voter suppression” was due to Clinton’s candidacy … too much of the enthusiasm she generated was with those voters turning out to vote against her.
Good piece, Nat!
When the losing candidate gets down to the point of blaming the third party voter for they’re loss, then it’s time for that loser seeker for public office to move on, and for them to quit blaming the victim voter. A voter can only vote what they’re conscience tells them to vote for. Why should it be any other way. This entire election season, unlike any other election season, was an election season predicated on the lessor of the two evils. In other words Hillary made a lousy presidential pick, and the Democrate’s paid the price by nominating her for that role. Funny that if the Republicans did fix the results, that it happened to the queen of cheaters herself, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Exactly. Why should it be any other way? And I like your framing of a suitable irony for the cheat Clinton.
Hahaha! Live by the sword die by the sword! In the end there was no lesser evil…both were equally evil and should’ve been running mates. So I voted for Stein, hoping that if Trump won it might galvanize the left and wake up the DNC to the voters they have taken for granted and put forward a reasonable choice for 2020. These people who blame the victim voter, have lost all perspective of who is supposed to serve who. It should be party serving the people not the other way around.
Amen Brother! The extra benefit to those who opted for neither of the criminal class is a clear conscience.
When the losing candidate gets down to the point of blaming the third party voter for they’re loss
The problem was not that so many people voted for Jill Stein (or Gary Johnson) instead of Hillary Clinton. The problem was that so many people voted for Hillary Clinton (and Donald Trump) instead of Jill Stein.
123-plus Americans by their votes said that either of the two worst candidates for president in the last 100 years was acceptable to them. It appears that those of us not at the trough of our corrupt system of government will pay for this further decline into moral decadence.
Jill Stein and the Green Party didn’t even get to the “party” and never will … she was inconsequential at best. DWS and the DNC screwed the pooch with a horrible establishment candidate with more baggage (rightfully or not) than a small airline.
TO KENT BOLT…
There are some parties one prefers NOT to be invited to.
And who will Israel run in 2020??
—-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA
The media took care of Jill Stein by making her look unhinged with vaccination dribble and some strange stuff about Jill’s love of gorillas. I found this media tactic similar to how they framed Dennis Kucinich when he admitted to how one night he and Shirley MacLaine watched UFO’s fly over his home. This is more proof of how corrupt our news media really is.
You are right Bill, a lot of wasted votes at a time when America seems hardly able to afford it.
Another Amen! What do people expect when they vote for the bottom of the barrel?
THE PARTY OF AIPAC/ISRAEL
As long as the Democratic Party remains the Party of AIPAC and
the Party Of Israel, the party against BDS, the party against BLM,
the party of coups in Ukraine, the party of demonIiZing Russia,
etc. etc. they will not have my support.
It may be a relief to point to Trump and friends for their
racism, misogony, sexism etc. No one notices Hillary’s
acceptance of the cruelty of the Israeli occupation,
of the deaths, of the murders, of the home dispossessions.
And the US hand in these is obvious. As has been its
lack of cooperation with Russia and Syria in the self-defense
And I doubt that Minority Leader-to-be C. Schumer will work hard to disassociate
the Democratic Party from Israel. Israel is his bread and butter. Literally.
Nor will Senator Sanders criticize the military and work for its destruction
in its present form.
Trump is the legacy of the Democratic Party.Of its lack
—Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, US
Watching both political parties, and in particular the Republican party during this transition, the leadership of both parties still do not get the message from the American voter – FED UP WITH POLITICS AS USUAL.
For that matter, neither does the Mainstream Media – reporting on crap here and crap there and expecting the American people are swallowing it as “news.”
The Republican party did not win the election, neither in the White House, the Senate, the House; Donald Trump did. He’s surrounded by cruddy and crooked ‘politicians’ each of whom have their own agenda, but he doesn’t know that – yet. The first two years of his administration are going to be chaos – for him, and for the voter.
Alas, it is an ignorant voter who thinks that the government can be run without paying for it, and downsizing is the answer to all government problems. I suspect we are going to see some very disappointed Trump voters as we all suffer the Republican party in the next four years.
(And poor Hillary who has never accepted responsibility for anything that went wrong in her life, is still blaming everybody else for her loss).