This election was not what we were expecting. What we must do is to keep perspective! I know on election night, and on the days since, emotions have been running high. But they should be! Politics should not be just voting once every 4 years; it is about being involved all the time. This was one of the most consequential votes of our time, but not for the reasons many may think. The fact that Donald Trump was elected should not be the focus, but instead what this election truly shows.
This was not a vote for Trump, in fact Hillary won the popular vote, but instead it was a vote against the system. The corrupt politicians, and corrupt business people who have bought the system. It was a vote against the political elite, and against the status quo politicians. It was a vote for protectionism, isolationism, and a restoration of a myth that is the American dream. People did not vote for a racist, misogynistic, bigot to become the president, instead they voted for the one man who promised to take on the system that they see as the root of the problem. The system was represented in the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, she is every thing that appears to be at fault for Americas problem. The corrupt, politically connected, elite were all supporting the Clinton candidacy, so for many people there was absolutely no other option.
The middle class has had their jobs, livelihood, economy, and in some places, entire cities, pulled right from under them. Their jobs ‘stolen’ by the third world countries. It used to be simple, if you worked hard, played by the rules, you could be successful, but that’s hard when the entire system is against you. When the corporate and political elite are designing free trade deals that will result in the movement of jobs overseas, why would you put your own life at risk by voting for more of that? It just doesn’t make sense. So, when Trump says he’ll bring back the Jobs, by reversing the one thing that directly resulted in the transfer of jobs away from America, these people now have hope. Hope that they could return to an economically safe position. That is the scariest part of all of it.
The Republican party won the working middle class vote, because their candidate talked directly to the issues. These were the ‘forgotten people’ that Trump referred to throughout the campaign. People who have felt left behind in this new era, who just want their job security back. I can’t blame them for voting for the Candidate who was willing to speak up for the them, to actually talk about the issues facing the middle class. I supported a candidate that was anti-system as well, and he was Bernie Sanders. The Democratic party chose a nominee that was seen as too corrupt, and too politically connected to be able to relate to the struggles of the middle class. For years, the Democratic party relied on these votes, took these people for granted, because they would never go for the other side. Or so they thought! No one could have predicted the rise of the anti-system candidate from within the Republican Party, unless you’ve seen the rise of the Tea Party movement within the GOP, and how it has almost taken over the entire establishment of the party. As one of my friends has said, Donald Trump is the mold that grew off the dirty gym socks that is the Republican Party. It was only a matter of time until someone came along and ran on everything that they have been calling for over the years. That person is Donald J. Trump, and he will be the President of the United States of America for the next four years.
It is now up to the left, and to the progressives, and in fact up to every single American to rise up and say enough is enough! Say no the racism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism that grew out of a lost of hope across the country. To stand up, to talk, and stay politically engaged, not just for the next 1500 days or so until the next president, but instead every single day and on every single issue that strikes an emotion in us. We need to fight for policies that benefit the entire middle class, that keeps all Americans safe from both domestic violence and international acts of terrorism, and to start questioning the archaic political system that results in a person losing the popular vote but winning the election. This is not easy, and definitely not easy for a country that has over two centuries of history. But its time to write the next chapter of the American story, and I wish them the best of luck. I am confident that things will get better, that long-term, America will be the country of love, of hope, of freedom, of prosperity, and the country where every child can reach their fullest potential. While the path will be rough, and will take some zigs and zags, positive progress always in the end takes over. I believe it will in America as well.
Updated On July 26th to reflect nomination
Following a week of a Republican celebration, and partial unification, the Democrats now get their shot at making headlines. After a rather uneventful week, the Democrats have a real chance at coming out united, and as a unified party ready to tackle the Trump campaign. However that might not be enough. Clinton is vastly unpopular, with her numbers becoming worse. Nothing is being done to truly help this.
Hillary has chosen Tim Kaine as her running mate. Governor of Virginia for 2006-2011, Kaine also served as mayor of Richmond previously, and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012. There is no doubt that he has the political experience necessary to fill this role. Furthermore he fits very well in the Clinton campaign. Which means this was not the choice that would have grown the popularity of the ticket. He is a centrist, and will not appeal to the new powerful, populist, more progressive, side of the party. Now, I know the goal might be to attract the white, male, middle-class vote, however that is very much polling in Trumps favor. However he was in support of TPP, but as any good politician did a 180 to get ahead, and that will hurt with those people. Bad trade deals have hurt the white middle class the most, and those people very firmly stood in the Trump or Sanders campaigns. So this will not, in my opinion, work to that advantage. He may be able to win over some Hispanics, but even that is a stretch. To me, the only logical reason to pick Tim Kaine, is to have a completely boring next Vice President, because both of the candidates (from both the democrats and republicans) are honestly boring and just not going to help their main candidate. However, Clinton is probably gambling that it will not be a loss, and as a bonus she didn't need to make concessions to the progressive side.
Bernie Sanders has endorsed Hillary Clinton, and while there has been a little speculation raised that he was forced to do so, as per DNC rules, and that the campaign lives on, the mass media will not allow that. We have known since the beginning that the establishment does not support Bernie, and will do almost anything to stop this political movement. A movement of the people to take back their country. A movement of positive, progressive ideas, that restored the power to the people. Where does that movement go from here?
Does the movement continue with Hillary Clinton?
Like many Sanders supporters, I was a little disappointed when he formally endorsed Hilary Clinton. They couldn't be more different, and that is why many people are looking for an alternative. Bernie was the candidate for so many, due to his ideas. Bernie started building a political revolution, to take on the millionaire class, and give the country back to its people. Bernie's campaign was one of economic, political, environmental, and social justice. Taking on Wall Street, and a corrupt political finance system. Saying no to TPP, and yes to good American jobs. Tackling climate change, and providing tuition-free higher education. While in theory, Hilary has now supported many of the progressive ideas, and the Democratic party has the most progressive platform in its history, she is still part of the corporate establishment that the Sanders revolution was so against. Hilary was under FBI investigation, and every fact that she claimed has came back to be a lie. In a typical election season she would not be electable, however this is not a normal election season. Many people will hold their nose, and vote for the establishment, vote for nothing to change, they will vote for Hilary Clinton. However, many will not vote for her, many will never vote for someone who is in support of everything they are against. It is time for an alternative, and we may be seeing that.
Jill Stein and the Green Party