December 17, 2016 by Chris Kite
Since the stunning defeat of Hillary Clinton, there has been much debate about what went wrong and how to move forward with victory in the future. There is little doubt in my mind that many things cost us this election. There were the gaffes, such as the “basketful of deplorables” comment. There was the Russian interference and release or internal e-mails to Wikileaks. There was FBI director James Comey’s announcement of the “reopened investigation” which was essentially a non-event, but sure appeared to be political theater. There were the strategic mistakes of not focusing enough on Wisconsin and Michigan. And of course the e-mails. And the e-mails. And the e-mails. And the tragic and shamefully politicized events in Benghazi. The narrow margin of victory in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania likely mean that the elimination of any one of these events would have brought a different outcome.
But the important thing now is to move on and make sure we minimize the destruction Trump and GOP are planning. And the best way to minimize the damage is to win the mid-terms. So how do we do that?
Some have theorized that the Democrats need to court the rural white voters that flocked to Trump. But I could not agree less with this idea. Some important statistics from this election are that Donald Trump got 90% of Republican votes. And he cleaned up with the white non-college educated voter. But these voters haven’t gone to Democrats in years.
When I think about this election, I laugh at the notion that Democrats could somehow win these voters. These are people that ignored open racism, corruption, sexual assault, lying, and total lack of qualification. These people aren’t reasonable, logical, or informed voters. They aren’t going to vote for someone based on their merits. They were watching a reality TV show and soaking up every blatant lie, vulgar attack, and racist or sexist remark. They still don’t care that Vladimir Putin and Russia interfered with the election and wanted Trump to win. They don’t care that Donald Trump is the choice of Russian Fascist Vladimir Putin. They hate Hillary Clinton more than an arrogant and power hunger tyrant that is the former head of the KGB, stifles the media in his country, jails political opponents, invades neighboring countries, and poses the biggest threat to the US since the cold war ended. Just a few years ago, these same people were screaming at the fact that we weren’t doing more to stop Putin from his invasion of Ukrainian territory. Suddenly Putin isn’t such a bad guy? These aren’t people that are crossing over the vote for a Democrat. At least not one that represents the typical party platform. They would rather hand their country over to a puppet of Vladimir Putin than a Democrat!
So what do we do? We need to win the appeal to young and minority voters. We need to excite them and give them a reason to get out and vote. We need to talk about the issues that impact them, propose real and likely solutions, and convince them that voting is important to their future.
It doesn’t seem like a stretch to think that Trump’s Presidency, combined with a radical right wing congress, will wreak havoc on low and middle income America. Their agenda is taking shape and it is not a pretty picture. Ending “Obamacare” and the ability of millions of Americans to get health insurance and health care in an open market at a reasonable price. Fundamentally changing the way Medicare works. Possibly trying to privatize Social Security. Making it easier for banks to prey on hard working Americans. Making it easier for banks to once again weaken our economy and create global chaos. Spying on Americans in the name of national security. Torture. Laws that are unfriendly toward minorities, Muslims, immigrants, and the LBGTQ community. It is likely to be an ugly time.
We need to fight these actions, propose realistic and doable alternatives, and make those the issues we run on in 2018, 2020, and beyond.