9.11.2016: I'm in a glass case of emotion
I woke up to a text from Kerri, "I can't f* believe this s*." Nothing from 'familia toda' and my cell phone battery had died in the night. I got dressed in my 'Think Green, Live Green, Vote Green' tank top, washed my face, brushed my teeth, filled up my water glass, and took a deep breath. Just as I opened my computer to democracynow.org (which didn't have any winner's name splashed on the headline), Christian called and said, "Trump's gonna be President. My colleagues showed me the map and everything is red."
No way. Seriously? Surprise, but honestly not complete shock. Christian and I hung up so I could check the news and call him back afterwards. Sure enough, Google results show Trump with 276 Electoral College votes and Clinton with only 218. Each received 48% of the vote, Libertarian Gary Johnson 3% and Jill Stein with just 1%. I'm so disappointed the Green Party didn't get the 5% it needs for federal funding & ballot access. Stein was perceived as taking share from Clinton; likewise with Johnson & Trump so it's plain to see that third parties were meaningless in 2016.
I call Christian back and lamely say, "yeah it's true." Then I felt frustrated. Extremely frustrated. Before Sanders endorsed Clinton at the end of the primary (another heartbreaking moment, which marked the first time politics brought me to tears), I regularly checked the polls on realclearpolitics.com. When Sanders was still in the race, the majority of polls forecast him crushing Trump in a general election matchup. Despite the polls, depsite the tens of thousands of people showing up to Sanders' rallies, despite his millions of supporters that he woke up, despite the populist uproar against Establishment politics... despite all of this, the DNC nominated the weaker candidate. Clinton & the DNC cheated Sanders out of the nomination and, as a result, Americans have been cheated out of progressive change. Bernie Sanders was our best chance to beat Trump. Clinton is the epitome of corporate, elitest and corrupt politics. Picking Kaine as her running mate was a clear signal that she didn't give a sh*t about the progressive agenda. Establishment Democrats were disgustingly smug in refusing to acknowledge the will of the people that powered the Sanders movement.
And that's why Trump won. Trump himself is the populist figure of the right, Sanders the left. We want change. People want change. Obama didn't bring any significant change, particulary in terms of racial justice as I and millions of others hoped he would. He also didn't improve domestic, economic conditions enough and that led to the continued disappearance of the middle class. We know from history in Germany and elsewhere that extreme wealth inequality leads to an unstable society and some of those 'left behind' are highly vulnerable to scorn-filled scapegoating tactics. It is my utmost hope that Trump has only been exploiting this concept in word to win and it will not continue in rhetoric or policy.
I feel so sad that America missed out on this wonderful opportunity for progressive improvement led by Sanders. All we can do now is continue to stay involved in politics. I changed into my Bernie Sanders t-shirt. As he says, "change happens from the bottom up."