The 2016 Presidential Election was an unpleasantly shocking experience. For those of us on the left, this has been a stark reminder of the George W Bush days when we marked a reputation for ourselves that has left an everlasting stain on the world’s conscience, and now we seem to have re-initiated such a dark path.
Although I’m not a staunch liberal nor would I call myself a leftist, I do lean to the left of the political spectrum that defines a US liberal and conservative society. For us, there is a great sense of betrayal—from the mainstream media, from polling data, from the FBI, and most egregiously from Wikileaks. I have been a long time advocate of theirs ever since tracking their secret launch in my early college days. They were my own little secret until a lot more attention rolled in. My political awareness was really blossoming in that time. Comparing the very different sources of information I received from college course lectures, from the actual texts teachers assigned, from books I found in their libraries, to everything I was discovering online—it is fascinating how all of these are distinctly different voices with varying agreement.
Wikileaks was in a different category of information and provided a subtext of more authentic discourse. Back in the day, they accepted a wide variety of material with an emphasis on exposing human rights abuses. They had never engaged in directly influencing elections, but they would try to expose and shame entities that they felt were engaging in widespread corruption that the operators of Wikileaks believed would otherwise be difficult to combat individually. In their inception, they were an honest beacon of truth, even if some might have seen their collection as just a pile of dirty laundry. Some of it seemed silly to me, like secret Mason society material and fraternity documents. Some of it was rather intriguing like dumps of archival news footage, Special Forces field manuals, documents on career advice for aspiring intelligence officers, and highly-detailed suppressed reports on human rights abuses.
I talked extensively about the Iraq War video Bradley Manning leaked, which was a marked beginning of Wikileaks controversies with the western world, other than their tussles with European banks. I never imagined them trying to shame the liberal US presidential candidate about issues that Republicans could not care less about and was only meant to cause divides among Democrats. It is unclear how Wikileaks will regain their reputation, especially after Assange tarnished it with his face and (allegedly) his penis. I don’t plan to visit their site again. US conservatives have never had any interest in Wikileaks other than to smear Hillary Clinton and bipartisanly smear Bradley Manning.
How did this happen?
…you ask? The BBC provides an excellent analysis of which states and counties turned Republican this year. Some of the most interesting maps are that of Florida and Pennsylvania’s counties. In Florida, both Obama and Trump’s victories were by very slim margins. Just a handful of stronger Republican turnout in some countries and three turned counties resulted in a red state. Had Clinton received the votes for the aloof Gary Johnson in Florida, she would have won that state. Pennsylvania was a similar story, despite one county voting Democrat this time.
By and large, according to the article, the demographic of white voters helped to carry the winning majority for Trump, especially older white non-college-educated men. There was much talk on NBC by Chuck Todd at the time Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan were uncertain where he underlined rural voters of that group, what he called “that white vote”. At the same time, minorities simply did not vote as strongly for Clinton as they did for Obama. I figured the BLM activists would have made voter registration a priority.
The Eerie Parallels to Brexit
The moment I heard about Brexit, it took just a few minutes to see the parallel to Trump’s campaign, how the UK wanted their own Trump election of sorts. The UK very well may hit a hard place in their wacky road before we do, and then I hope they stop imitating our failures. It has been reported that there were many similarities to the demographic of our Trump supporters across the pond. One interesting fact is that exit polls showed an even split between men and women for Brexit but more men voting for Trump. Brexit is especially sad because the EU is the result of actual cooperation among European nations after centuries of disagreements, quarrels, violence, and all out war. It is unfortunate to see such undoing. Maybe they were actually trying to warn us?
Where do we go from here?
The words are coming out all weird. Where are you now? When I need you… In all seriousness, what’s a left-leaning independent who wanted Hillary to experience the presidency while she’s still on the planet to do? It is not farfetched in the slightest, as you can imagine Clinton has done, to place blame if not squarely, at least roundly or somewhat obliquely on the shoulders of FBI Director James Comey. What he did wasn’t just unprecedented, it was shamefully tasteless. He makes not one but two letters clearing her of criminal wrongdoing in the run up to the election. The last was apparently two days before election day, the news for which I must have been confusing with the first. It was quite smooth sailing before Emailgate re-reared its ugly head. And indeed, in retrospect, one must at least civilly interrogate Clinton to learn why she used that darn private email system in the first place, as it would appear to have had no advantage whatsoever. Alas, we need a candidate for which email, as much as regular mail, could not possibly be a point of contention.
And so, as much as I would really like Hillary Rodham “Clinton” to be president one day in the near future, it very well may be clear now that a new leader of the Democratic party is needed. These days, it’s looking like a toss up, or perhaps some kind of inevitable partnership, between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. I agree with the endless stream of talking heads and echoing voices that the Democrats may want to establish their anti-establishment base, or if they can otherwise always keep this movement on the brink of foundation.
In the meantime, the coming years may strongly resemble the period during which Keith Olbermann made many a Special Comment, Glenn Beck was a raving lunatic, and Jon Stewart was coming into his own. Now, a more silver and perhaps sleeker Olbermann has recently started re-commenting in his signature way, Glenn Beck is indescribably tan and and has unbelievable moments of sobriety and coherence, and Jon Stewart is a well-established comedic titan who deserves retirement, although I hear rumors of a possible return…