Final 2016 Election Analysis: 5 steps forward, 10 steps back

Political observer after political observer assured with near certainty that, after November 8th, the national two-year long nightmare of the 2016 presidential election would at long last be over. Those who know their history always knew that this was little more than a pipe-dream and that regardless of the outcome the president-elect would have to face a nation more divided against itself than at any time in recent memory. Almost no one, however, truly believed that at the end of this hard-fought campaign the nation would be facing the nightmare of a Donald J. Trump presidency. A Hillary Clinton presidency was once considered a sure thing. How could the pundits get it so wrong? And more importantly, what does this all portend for the nation’s future?

Democratic nominee
Hillary Rodham Clinton, the woman who was almost President

To put it bluntly, this was first and foremost a win for white supremacy (and not just because white supremacists – who saw in Trump a viable vehicle to carry out their radical anti-black, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-woman, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBT agenda – overwhelmingly fueled the Trump campaign). Political observers underestimated the ways in which Donald Trump was able to tap into white resentment of a Black president in a way that eluded Mitt Romney four years earlier. Trump began his foray into politics by seizing on the insane birther conspiracy theory so popular with a sizable swath of GOP voters that suggested President Barack Obama was in fact a secret African Muslim, and he elevated it to the mainstream. This issue more than any other made him suddenly a popular name in Republican politics. From there he moved on to scapegoating Mexican immigrants and Muslim Americans for all the country’s woes. There’s a reason he was the first major party candidate to be endorsed by the official newspaper of the Ku Klux Klan since Barry Goldwater in 1964. The conventional wisdom that a demographically diverse, multi-cultural electorate was emerging that would forever change the electoral map appears to have been proven wrong, as Donald Trump has risen to be president-elect virtually on the strength of white votes alone, the not-so-silent almost majority if you will. (After all, Hillary Clinton did win the most votes. She lost the presidency, however, due to the Electoral College. This would seem to suggest that Trump was right all along. The electoral system is rigged!) As evidenced by the behavior of many Trump supporters over the past year and a half, enraged whites fully intend to use the presidency of Donald Trump to exact their revenge on minorities for having the gall to elect a Black President for eight years.

The best television commentary on the results of the election came from Van Jones on CNN, who accurately described Trump’s electoral edge as a ‘whitelash’. And Canadian CBC News Network’s Danielle Moodie-Mills brilliantly diagnosed the election as “white supremacy’s last stand.”

clintonsupportersglassceilingnotshattered
Devastated Clinton supporters as they realized the glass ceiling was not to be broken.

Regardless of what one’s personal opinion is of Hillary Clinton, a corporate Democrat whose ties to the wealthiest 1% haunted her throughout the primaries, the scene of her supporters gathered beneath a glass ceiling on the night when they fully expected to shatter the unwritten rule of male exclusivity to the presidency once and for all, only to see their dreams go up in smoke was truly heartbreaking. To see the very first female nominee of a major party go down to defeat to not just any man, but a man who has absolutely zero respect for women and is more than likely a serial abuser of women, was for many people who thought their country was moving in the right direction an absolutely devastating result. Clinton would almost certainly have been an imperial war-monger as President, just like all the men who’ve held office before her, but it cannot be overstated how powerful a symbol it would’ve been for little girls to grow up seeing a woman ascend to and hold the highest office in the land. Instead, they just witnessed the woman who was almost President defeated by a man who brags about being able to grab women “by the pussy” whenever he wants. While Clinton lost the white women vote to Donald Trump 43% to a surprising 53%, the outcome can primarily be laid at the feet of white men, who voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by a margin of 63% to 31%. In other words the myth of white male chivalry has been shattered once and for all. For when it was all said and done, white men were more than willing to elect a known sexual predator of white women as President of the United States.

sexism
This is an actual screenshot of a status update from the Facebook page of a former ‘friend’ the night of the election. Such sexism and misogyny was commonly on display this cycle.

With that, I leave you with the following reading material and commentary that I think is essential to understanding the historic 2016 presidential election and its aftermath.

The Guardian:

This is a terrifying moment for America. Hold your loved ones close

“Hold tight. This is the beginning of a sad chapter for our nation, and for the world. The system, and our government and parties, have failed. This will become a frightening, vengeful, unjust land. And an angry white electorate, now using the levers of government, is not going to be kind to any of us not deemed integral to making America ‘great’ again.”

How we got here: a complete timeline of 2016’s historic US election 
Two years and 20 candidates later: how the 2016 campaign tore up the rule book

Mother Jones:

Hate Trumps History: A Reality TV Star Wins the White House in a Broken America

The Huffington Post:

America Elected A Man Who Said ‘Grab Them By The P***y’ Over The First Female President
This Election Has Completely Debunked the Myth Of A ‘Post-Racial’ America

Slate:

A Lament for Hillary Clinton, the Woman
The Democratic Party Establishment is finished
White Women Sold Out the Sisterhood and the World by Voting for Trump

“What leads a woman to vote for a man who has made it very clear that he believes she is subhuman? Self-loathing. Hypocrisy. And, of course, a racist view of the world that privileges white supremacy over every other issue.”

Vox:

America is not, it turns out, better than this

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