By Jill Chapin
November 11, 2016
For most voters, it wasn’t supposed to end this way. There’s no consolation prize for winning the popular vote, as Clinton did, because we are a nation of laws and abide by having the Electoral College determine the winner. Trump won it fair and square.
But what happened? There will be those who think our election was tampered with by Putin, by Wikileaks, by voter suppression, but they would be wrong. It was tampered with, but my armchair quarterbacking targets the real culprit.
Just as a broken clock is right twice a day, there are some pronouncements made by Trump that are just plain true. The election was indeed rigged, but it was from within our own electoral process and not from outside forces. The leaders of the Democratic Party predetermined before a vote was cast that their anointed one would be Hillary Clinton. Yet the Democrats were oblivious to their party faithful being fed up with business as usual. This led to the coronation of Hillary with all of her self-inflicted errors of judgment, beginning with Whitewater and ending with emails. Throw in a brilliant but terribly flawed husband, and you have the perfect brew for her opponents to keep stirring up past and current transgressions from now until forever.
But still the party leaders planned their work and then worked their plan to muffle the message of other party hopefuls who also wanted a shot at the nomination; namely Bernie Sanders. Party Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz did everything she could to propel Hillary towards the White House. She actually admitted this on TV, but she did more: She set half of the Democratic primary debates for weekends to prevent Sanders’ message from getting out to a larger audience that would be more likely to tune in during weekday prime time.
No one in either party fully empathized with the general electorate about their profound frustration regarding the entrenched political collusions of decision-making in Washington. More voters wanted a big change from business as usual, real change, and it was Trump who heard their pleas. Sanders heard them too and could have been a genuine counterpoint to all that Trump stood for, minus the appalling rhetoric. Without any baggage from his personal life other than being a self-avowed Socialist, he would have eaten into Trump’s supporters by genuinely agreeing with them that the system is not serving most Americans well. He is the most authentic politician out there, and the millennials were smitten with him and his message. Sadly, they didn’t warm up to Hillary in numbers large enough for her to win.
Okay, but then what happened? What happened was the most brilliant display of democracy in action that we may never witness again. Simply put, people voted for what they wanted and not what leaders of either party were force-feeding them. Although I am beyond distraught at the outcome, I know that half the country is as elated as I am despondent. But realizing that our positions have changed places when half the country had to absorb an Obama administration winning not once, but twice, it is plain to see that our country goes on, our government plods along, sluggish, often incompetently or scandalously, but we endure.
Finally, here’s what happened from the viewpoint of Garry Kasparov, a former world chess champion and a Russian political activist. I hope his words give everyone solace and hope and pride and a reminder that we still have our constitution and we are still a nation of laws, no matter who we elect. There will be no apocalypse despite our fears; our future will await us when we awaken each morning.
He said, “That nervous feeling you have about tomorrow, Americans? That’s democracy working. Unpredictable elections, what a luxury!”