In the grand scheme of things, my little blog amounts to a couple of grains of sand in a vast desert. No matter how much importance I and the few brave souls who bother to read its words attach to it, the fact is it's one of millions of other blogs out there. Thanks to the internet and social media, there is no limit to the number of people whose opinions are now available to the viewing public.
But that hasn't stopped me from passionately presenting my views; nor has it shielded me from those whose views I might but heads with. When it comes to politics, I'm often reminded of what a bartender once told me years ago. The reason, he said, that I don't talk about religion and politics is that the moment I open my mouth I lose half the bar.
A salient point, if ever there was one. And one which I have adopted in my sales career. No sense needlessly pissing off a potential customer over which candidate they like or may have voted for; not when there's a mortgage to pay and food to buy.
But this isn't sales, nor am I a bartender. And, as anyone who knows me all too well will tell you, I am not shy in the last bit about sharing my thoughts with any and all who have the misfortune of getting within earshot. And when push comes to shove, I throw down with the best of them. I seriously believe I could make the Pope curse if I put the effort in.
There are two kinds of stupid people when it comes to politics. Those who naively fall for the bullshit of evil politicians who promise them the world; and those who arrogantly believe they are somehow better or superior to those people. The former earns my pity; the latter my contempt.
Ever since November 8, I have tried to wrap my head around what happened and why. For the most part, all I've gotten is a headache. But there have been moments of clarity when things started to fall into place. There are things I know now that I didn't then, and I have done my best to write about them with as much zeal as I can muster.
The most frustrating thing about the last seven months has been the reluctance of certain people I know to accept some very painful facts that I feel are self evident. I am no stranger to words like denial; I have spent the better part of my adult life, along with a considerable amount of my money, breaking through various stages of it. But when it comes to the fate of this nation and the planet, I confess I have no more patience to spend on people who are not only in denial but have decided to drown themselves in a pool of self pity.
Of course by now, if you've been paying attention to my blog postings, you know full well where I'm going with this. And let me prepare you in advance: this isn't going to be pretty. In fact, I'm willing to bet that after reading this some of you might very well unfriend me. Unfriend away. I have, at last count, about 250 friends on Facebook. I assure you the sun will still rise in the east and set in the west if that number goes down, say, 200. Or lower!
I have heard about enough from Hillary supporters who simply won't bring themselves to accept that, though qualified in every way for the office of president, she did everything humanly possible not to win it. She was a lousy candidate with no message worth a damn, who arrogantly presumed she could spend the entire campaign talking about what a repugnant pig Trump was (no shit, Sherlock), and that somehow the electorate would reward her with a victory. I have been following politics since I was a teenager. To the best of my knowledge not one successful candidate has ever employed that strategy.
From Nixon, to Carter, to Reagan, to Bush 41, to Bill Clinton, to Bush 43, to Obama, you can go up and down the list and everyone of them ran a campaign that stood for something. The losers, by comparison, didn't. In my 21 years in sales, I know of no instance in which a successful company ever increased its market share by simply bashing its competition. In sales, as in politics, the way to succeed is by satisfying a need, be it a flat-panel TV or hope for a better tomorrow.
Not only didn't Hillary Clinton inspire hope, when she did get the opportunity to "satisfy a need" she would often direct people to her website to check out her policy proposals. Are you fucking kidding me? You get the chance to make your case to the American people and you punt like that? In a debate, no less? She might as well have gift-wrapped the presidency for Trump. To quote Andrew Sullivan: "I find myself wondering at odd times of the day and night: Why is Trump in the White House? And then I remember. Hillary Clinton put him there."
Oh, yes, I know I'm being so cruel to her. I outta be ashamed of myself. After all, she did get three million more votes than Trump. Doesn't that count for something? Yeah, it counts about as much as a losing hockey team whining that they outshot their opponent, therefore they should've won. Hey, snapper heads, it's the final score that counts! I'm so done with this popular vote bullshit. Get over it. We have an electoral college system in this country. Yes, it sucks; yes, it's embarrassing; yes, the rest of the fee world - and a good chuck of the unfree world - is laughing at us. Guess what? It ain't going anywhere. Al Gore won the popular vote. So did Hillary. They both lost. Deal with it.
But James Comey and Vladimir Putin. Let me ask you a few questions. Did the whole country get a chance to listen in on Jimbo's October surprise? Do they have access to cable news channels in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Virginia? I'm guessing they do. I'm also guessing that when the Russians did their hacking job they pretty much went after everyone who owned a computer, which would include people in the above-mentioned states. So, how is it that Hillary won those states, yet managed to lose Ohio by almost half a million votes and Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin by a mere 82 thousand votes?
As Judge Smails would say, "Well? We're waiting!"
Oh yeah, those 82 thousand votes. That sticks in one's craw don't it? Hillary supporters can't let that one go, either. As I was rudely reminded by yet another of her apologists, Trump won by only one percent in those three states. Another went even further by pointing out the election came down to three counties in those states with known voter suppression. Of course, the monkey wrench in both these arguments is that Obama, four years earlier, had not only won all three states, but did so impressively, along with Ohio, Iowa and Florida. Was there no voter suppression in 2012? Or in '08?
To another apologist who thought it necessary to point out the distinction between blue-collar workers and white blue-collar workers, I would remind him Obama won both demographics convincingly in both of his elections. And while I'm sure racism played a role in the 2016 election, the sad fact is that we've had racism in this country since its inception. There's been no solid evidence that it was the decisive factor in this or any other presidential election. Sorry people, these excuses are the very definition of lame if ever there was one. And I, for one, will not dignify them any further. The truth is that Clinton received 1 million fewer votes than Obama in the all-important swing states. To reiterate what I commented on earlier in that Facebook post, SHE GOT HER CLOCK CLEANED BY TRUMP. PERIOD!
But lest you think I'm giving Bernie a free pass, I'm not. I was tough on him during the campaign and with good reason. I felt and still feel that he had no tangible plan for how to implement his agenda once in office. And his supporters often acted like spoiled brats who didn't get everything they wanted under the Christmas tree. Their insistence that the DNC somehow stole the nomination from him and gave it to Hillary ranks up there with the 9/11 Truthers for most outlandish conspiracy theory ever. And while it's impossible to know whether he would've beaten Trump in the general, my gut tells me that his past would've come back to haunt him. I think Kurt Eichenwald is right: "the Republicans would've torn him apart."
But this much I will give him and his supporters. In hindsight, they were right and the rest of us were wrong. Long before that toxic waste dump of a human being we now call president ever threw his hat into the ring, Sanders was on to something. He knew there was trouble brewing in the Rust-Belt states and he tried to warn us. He accurately predicted that Democrats would pay a price for ignoring the concerns and frustrations of working-class people in this region. The loss of manufacturing jobs and the decline in middle-income wages would force these people to do the unthinkable: vote for a charlatan. And they did just that last November.
Give Trump credit. He saw an opening and he took it. I don't believe for a moment that he never wanted to win. There's a difference between not thinking you're going to win and not playing to win. Trump and his team may not have thought they were going to win the election, but they most assuredly acted as if they wanted to. Do you honestly believe that someone as tight as Trump is with money would spend even a nickel of it if he didn't want the presidency? Of course not. He knew - as did everyone else - that Clinton was going to be the Democratic nominee and, like Bernie, he knew she was vulnerable. The difference between Sanders and Trump - apart from the xenophobia, sexism, racism, etc - is that Trump went after her jugular, whereas Bernie refused to. For all the talk about how personal and bitter the Democratic primaries were, they were nothing compared to the Republican primaries.
But I would be remiss if I didn't go after the one group of people who are truly beneath contempt: the "Both candidates are equally bad" contingent of morons and buffoons who barely have the capacity to walk and chew gum at the same time, yet somehow managed to fuck up the layup election of their lifetimes. All throughout the campaign they shot their mouths off as though they were the political guardians of moral turpitude. I can still hear them in my mind's ear: "Hillary's just as corrupt as Trump, therefore I'm not voting for either of them." Here, I'll defer to Eichenwald:
A certain kind of liberal makes me sick. These people traffic in false equivalencies, always pretending that both nominees are the same, justifying their apathy and not voting or preening about their narcissistic purity as they cast their ballot for a person they know cannot win. I have no problem with anyone who voted for Trump, because they wanted a Trump presidency. I have an enormous problem with anyone who voted for Trump or Stein or Johnson—or who didn’t vote at all—and who now expresses horror about the outcome of this election. If you don’t like the consequences of your own actions, shut the hell up.Later on in the piece, Eichenwald invites these people to "go have sex with themselves." He is a gentleman; I am not. So let me put it in much blunter terms: Go fuck yourselves! And not just you but the boat you sailed in on. Thanks to your gross negligence and ignorance you have saddled this nation with the most incompetent, dangerous president it has ever had. Next to him, Clinton would've been a combination of FDR, Lincoln and Truman.
I'm not joking around here. There's a vast difference between someone who is flawed and arrogant and someone who is unhinged. What we have witnessed over these last six months has no parallel in American history. If you still believe that a Clinton presidency would've been no different than the current one, you are smoking some strange shit that I'm certain is illegal even in Colorado.
As for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, don't make me laugh. Johnson didn't know what or where Aleppo was and Stein doesn't even know what planet she's on. Put the two of them together and you still don't have enough gray matter to form a sentient being. If you are one of those people who actually thought that either of these two asshats was a legitimate alternative to Clinton, I pray that you never reproduce. The thought of your offspring populating this planet makes me ill.
And last, but not least, the Democratic Party. It goes without saying that this is a party in disarray. Sadly, it also goes without saying that its leadership, or lack thereof, still hasn't come to grips about what happened last November, anymore than Hillary's supporters or Clinton herself. It's as though they're all locked in a time warp and they can't get out.
I suspect that deep down they probably know they fucked up; they just can't or won't admit it to themselves. After all, they put all their eggs in the basket of identity politics and it boomeranged on them. And by doing so, they wrote off two thirds of the country. So instead of correcting course, they are doubling down. All they need, they maintain, is greater turnout in the cities to offset their losses in the suburbs and the sticks. As if a few more black and Hispanic votes would've changed the outcome of the election.
It's a double edged sword that they can't extricate themselves from. On the one hand, their base is in the cities, so they don't want to alienate any of them. On the other hand, the votes they need to avoid a repeat performance in 2020 are outside of those cities. The trick is to not lose the former while pursuing the latter. And right now, that is a task that appears to be well beyond their reach.
So, to sum up:
Hillary supporters: The election is over. Grow up and change your diapers. You're stinking up the joint.
Bernie supporters: You were right, we were wrong. Now quit the "I told you so" platitudes. Nobody likes a spoiled sport.
False equivalency nutjobs: Feel free to depart the planet on the next mother ship.
Democratic Party: Find a message that resonates with a majority of voters; then find a messenger worthy of carrying it.
You can now start unfriending me if you like, but know this: If things don't start fundamentally changing soon, I've got some bad news.
We are all fucked. Each and everyone of us.