Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Day After

Appropriately, I woke up with a vicious migraine, so I did as little as possible for most of the morning in an ultimately successful attempt to make it go away- or at least beat it back enough to do things like eat food and take medicine.

This all seems like some sort of crazy fever dream. I keep looking at numbers and being flabbergasted at what I'm finding...  this was a huge (or dare I say it: 'yuuuuuuge') miss for pundits, pollsters- pretty much everyone. The Markets, thankfully seem to have recovered some ground, but they had a bad reaction to all of this because the Lumpen Commentariat, as it were, was banking on a Clinton Victory. It was pretty much in the bag- it was going to be close, but her ground game was better than his and though it was going to be a long night, Clinton would grind out a victory. Hell, even Trump people were saying early on that they thought it would take a miracle for him to win, well, guess what? They were wrong. Every one was wrong. The only question I'm sort of struggling with at this point is to why everyone was so wrong.

Something went very wrong last night, and as tempting as it might be to rail against Jill Stein (and her whopping 1.1% of the vote) or Gary Johnson (and his 3.3% of the vote) the exit poll data tells a different- and if you're a Democrat- deeply disturbing story of where it might have gone off track. Reaching across the Pond, the Telegraph includes handy arrows in their breakdown comparing 2012 to 2016. (CNN has the full rundown here.)

The rural vote and the Hispanic vote blow my mind a little bit. Rural America broke big for Trump- who took a 50% number in 2012 and turned it into 62%. The Hispanic Vote was even more dispiriting- Clinton lost ground there, dropping from 71% to 65%, while Trump actually improved on Mittens' performance going from 27% to 29%. Chew on that last sentence and tell me if it makes a lick of sense to you. Donald J. Trump did better than Mitt Romney with Hispanics? What in the ever-loving hell is going on here? The big number that blew my mind is white women: 53% of white women backed Trump.

I think the Coalition the Democrats thought they had didn't show up last night. I'm sure statisticians and political scientists are going to be pouring over the data to figure out why for years. But what I keep going back too is something I thought in the early summer- namely that it really wouldn't take much for Trump to win. All he had to do was win every state Romney won in 2012. Mission accomplished (they're still figuring out Arizona I guess, but hell, throw it in there.) Once you do that, what do you need to get to 270? You need to flip three, maybe four states. 2 out of 3 of the Rust Belt plus Florida will get you pretty close to the mark. Trump flipped all three of the Rust Belt and Florida. (I thought he'd get Ohio for sure, but Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were shockers. All had voted Democratic for about 30 years. MI and PA lasted voted Republican in 1988. WI was even longer: 1984.) I thought that it might be just that easy... sit in the Rust Belt and talk about NAFTA, trade, where all the jobs had gone. But then he started in on shitting on Gold Star families, and a dozen other trainwrecks in August and was awful in the debates and I thought there was no way, no way people would go for that. Again, I was wrong.

So now what?

I want President-Elect Trump and the Republican Party to prove me wrong. (I don't think they're going too, but hey, what can you do?) I want the frothy bouquet of racism, hatred and misogyny that featured too prominently for my liking to be repudiated and consigned to the dustbin of history where it belongs. I want a President who's going to work hard to be a leader for all Americans and focus on economic growth, prosperity and jobs and stay the hell out of my marriage and my bedroom- and everyone else's marriage and bedroom as well. (I really, really, really would like to be proven wrong.)

I'd like the Democrats to take a deep breath, recognize the scope of the problem (Glenn Greenwald has an excellent piece worth reading) and maybe do something about it (I find myself agreeing with Michael Moore for the first time in a decade or so.)

There are some flickers of hope to cling too: marijuana won big last night with California, Massachusetts and Nevada legalizing for recreational use and a few more states approving medical marijuana. Sensible drug policy and (I hope) and end to the War on Drugs is creeping closer.

Not many people were paying attention to it, but Maine passed ranked-choice voting for their state last night. Every one should go and learn and then we should all do it. (Or at the very least, live up to the idea that states should be laboratories of democracy. The better way we all hope for is out there. We just need to go get it.)

Women of color had an excellent night- Minnesota elected the first Somali-American state legislator in the country.

I didn't watch Hillary Clinton's concession speech, but I've read enough of it to get a sense of what a gracious, dignified and yes, I'll say it, Presidential speech it was. It is a damn shame she lost last night- as much as we have no idea what we're getting in Donald J. Trump for President, I think it was impossible for anyone to know who the real Hillary Clinton actually was. There's been a wall of white noise and bullshit built up around her for decades now- some of it might be true, none of it might be true- I don't think anyone can say for sure either way. Having her as President might have let her shatter that last glass ceiling and knock down that wall of white noise and bullshit that she's handled with class and grace and dignity for decades now. That's a loss for the whole country.

I don't have daughters- yet, but I have nieces and I hope they can realize that this is possible for them now. It looks like Hillary Clinton is going to win the popular vote. (Seriously: can we please abolish the Electoral College now? Can we all agree that it's moronic?) It can be done. This will happen. That ceiling will come down. It's just a question of when.

It was mid-afternoon, before I was a fully functional human again, thanks to my migraine. Little Man dragged me outside to play soccer and I was kicking the ball around, watching the sun sink on the horizon and for a moment I could almost feel the Earth move beneath me. Eppur si muove...  and yet it moves. The Earth still turns. The sun still rises. We're all still here. We can make this better- and oddly enough, I think we'll be okay, even if it doesn't feel like it right now. I remember back in the early 2000s, when Bush The Younger was in charge, Mississippi had a referendum on one of those horrible fetal personhood laws, that would criminalize miscarriages or some other god-awful thing. I remember thinking shit, man, that's gonna pass there- because Mississippi. But it didn't. The voters of this country might occasionally and inexplicable do batshit insane things, but they have limits. They can only go so far. I have a feeling our limits might be tested these next four years.

But I believe in America. We'll pass the test.

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