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A moderate speaks: An armchair analysis of the 2016 Presidential Election

It's been a rough week.  I'm not going to lie.  I think I knew why lay before me when I walked into the voting booth on Tuesday.  Since then, I have read, watched, cried, been dazed and worried.  I have heard horrific things said and done by folks on two sides of a divided line.  And, now, I pick up a sword, a pen and paper, okay, keyboard and screen and I write. 

What you need to know before you read this blog post:

1.  I voted for Hilary Rodham Clinton. 

2. I didn't want to.

3. I have NEVER voted Republican in a presidential election, though I vote all over the place in state and local elections, voting my conscious, which all should do. In the 7 presidential elections I have voted in, 5 votes were cast for Democrats, 2 Third-Party.

4. Racism and sexism are alive in America, but they are not the ENTIRE reason HRC lost. This blog post is an indictment of the party and an analysis of what went wrong.

5. The Democrat party is in sore need of navel-gazing and self-reflection.

6. I have never backed down from a fight. I will fight against injustice whether it is at the hands of liberals or conservatives and you should too.

7. After this post, I will be blogging regularly about the world, how we need to love one another AND fight for justice - you can do both. Live by example, not by hate.

Over the last few months, like you, I have had several conversations with folks about the election. Truthfully, most of my friends and many family were fervent Bernie Sanders supporters, though I have many who supported HRC and HWMNBN. (Donald Trump is forever known to me by these initials. If you do not know what this means, ask a Harry Potter fan.) I remember speaking to a family member in my kitchen and being asked who I would vote for. Hilary Clinton. She was a Sanders supporter and was in disbelief that I would choose her, for many reasons. My response was, "Sanders will never allowed to be the candidate.  It's not his turn. The DNC will do whatever it can to put HRC in that place." My words proved true. Below are highlighted and explained for those of you who do not understand or  for those who believe that HRC lost solely due to her gender, how this election was lost. (Watch for another post next week about the post-election conversation with the aid to my Congressman and prepared to be shocked about the apathy expressed to me.)

Here we go.  The Top 5 Reasons the Democrats lost the HOUSE, SENATE AND PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, outside of the obvious mobilization of angry white-men and women who voted due to racist rhetoric (which is the reason that regardless of how I felt about HRC, I HAD to vote for her).

1. Trade and the Union Vote. I come from an anti-union Southern manufacturing family. My father was in manufacturing.  My sisters, both at one time or another, their husbands, some of their children, my brother....many of my cousins.... If you ask anyone who has any association with manufacturing, you will know two things. Number one is Unions vote Democrat and number two is that over the last 20 years, the US has lost approximately 5 million manufacturing jobs. Truthfully, that is due to a myriad of reasons but, the number one reason is current trade laws and fewer incentives being offered  (you may not like incentives, but they keep jobs here) to factories who are moving factories over the border so they can pay $3.00 per hour vs. $20.00 per hour. For those men and women who went from a nice $55,000 per year job to minimum wage (and yes, I know some of those folks, remember, I come from a manufacturing family), the reasons are moot if they cannot live at the standard they were accustomed. 

The Democratic party has long secured the Union vote in this country. Unions, be it trade, education, postal, vote Democrat.  It's just a fact. Individuals may swing, but as a whole, they vote Democrat.  Not this time. You can say it is due to HRC's gender, but I cry foul on that.

HRC supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Yes, I know, she back-tracked, but only later. She initially said, "This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field...." Google her stance on this agreement and you will see that it was not until Bernie Sanders spoke against the issue and she saw the groundswell support of his policies within her own party that she changed her stance.

I promise you, no one cares about your gender if they went from a $25 hour paying manufacturing job to saying "May I take your order" at $8 an hour.  This is about basic needs and survival, not gender. If you are an intellectual in an affluent neighborhood, you can be angry or attempt to explain this away as an "ism".  I KNOW these people. They are my tribe and you are simply wrong.  If you want to read more on this, The Daily Beast and NYTimes  both wrote great articles on this issue. Finally, it is my belief that this demographic, among a couple of others, is where the DNC showed over-confidence and an assumption regarding the vote. This, my friends, is a theme through this election.

2. The Minority Vote. The fact:  HRC lost approximately 6% African American voters that Obama received in his last election while Trump gained 2%. The Latino vote looks similar. Were these losses and gains enough to make a difference?  Apparently. There are 225,000,000 people in the US eligible to vote. Approximately 131,000,000 cast their vote which made for a 20-YEAR LOW.  Are you kidding?  The most polarizing vote in American history and this is what we get?  And, if the US Elections Project website is correct, African-Americans and Latinos were among those who simply stayed home. Not only did they stay home, some voted for HWMNBN. Did that make your head spin? If you don't believe me, read this article from the Washington Post.  It's not the only one.  (Read more.)

This morning I came across a fantastic article from PBS on why many African-Americans did not vote for HRC, which leads me to state that the DNC is out of touch with its base - overconfidence plagues this party with not enough on the ground outreach and lots of lip-service as well as tremendous polarizing speech in their own right.

And, among my LGBT friends, I would say some of those trends hold. I spoke with a relative in a same-sex marriage who didn't vote as she didn't really feel it would affect her. Once I sent a few links on Mike Pence's stance on her marriage, she suddenly found herself in a situation of true regret for not casting her vote. 

So, to the DNC, I say again, a little more navel-gazing and a little less finger pointing would benefit you.

​3. The DNC, Debbie Wasserman Shultz and Donna Brazile. I could probably just leave this title right where it is, but I'll spell it out if you are unsure what I am talking about.

Let's talk about the emails. In APRIL OF 2016...APRIL....Wasserman was already staging the end of Sanders campaign. You can be angry about racism or say that Clinton lost due to sexism, but I know MANY Democrats who refused to vote for her and some even refused to vote. She may not have colluded with the Clinton campaign  There are many reports that the Clintons and President Obama wanted her out months before due to the damage they saw her causing the party. The fact remains that the Clinton campaign gave her an "honorary" position in exchange for her leaving peacefully which, quite frankly, was damaging as it was apparent that Wasserman was manipulating the primary in every way possible. Even the most liberal of news sources, the Huffington Post, didn't understand the lack of outrage over this series of events. 

Even her own kind are turning on her and she faces a dismal return to D.C.

Furthermore, Sanders supporters were ill-treated at the DNC, and then everyone just moved on, supporting HRC and the DNC like none of it happened.  What?

4.  The Clinton Foundation and foreign donations. This sort of thing is not just fodder for conservatives. When speaking to many Sanders supporters, this is one of the examples of why they refused to vote for HRC. And, the questions were presented by enough "liberal" media sources, that to ignore them is absurd. 

The charges:  The Clintons received foreign donations to their Foundation, circumventing a rule preventing  politicians from actually receiving this type of money, in exchange for access to the State department allowing foreign parties to influence US policies. As one conservative news source said, "Even the Salon said this is a problem."  Regardless of whether or not this happened (the donations did happen, btw), it is a PERCEIVED, if not actual, conflict of interest if one of the foundation members is the US Secretary of State which left a bad taste in people's mouths and in my opinion, caused voters to stay home.

5.  Benghazi and the Military. First of all, I believe most of the news about Benghazi to be inflammatory and a distorted view of the facts.  This link gives what I believe to be the most accurate and balanced view of what really happened.  Regardless, many view Clinton as a wildly ineffective SOS and her move from First Lady, to Senator, to SOS and then to potentially a President to be a highlight of the need for change in Washington. But, to be fair, I am so uneducated on this particular topic, that I cannot speak with any certainty on this issue. 

What I do know is this. Much to my surprise, many of of my friends in the military and military wives, who typically vote Republican, were Bernie Sanders supporters and either did not vote, voted third party or voted Trump in this election. The perception on Benghazi was instrumental in destroying HRC's election. 

For the record, HWMNBN, wants to do away with the GI Bill. If you are a military person or vet, get ready, he may not be in your corner.

So, with all of these things, I still ask the question, how did HWMNBN win this election? I'll be writing about this more, but I will say this.  I TRULY believe that most of his supporters voted due to economics and foreign policy.  Even one of my most LEFTIST leaning relatives keeps asking, "how do we take care of the world when our neighbors are suffering?" She is not alone in this question. In the future, I'll be writing about:

  • Where we are

  • Where we go from here

  • What you can do to on the ground

Final thoughts: I do NOT deny racism. I do not deny sexism. And, I am appalled at the people using the rhetoric of the campaign to do ill in this nation. But, I want each of you that is angry and in disbelief to know that if you believe that this election was lost SOLELY based on racism or sexism, that you are part of the problem. Hold the DNC as well as the GOP accountable. And, hold yourself accountable. If you do not and simply protest, destroy property, wring your hands, then your time is wasted.

If this post removes me from the Pantsuit Nation, so be it. But, it is time to take a hard look at who we are, what we stand for and how we can truly effect change beyond checking the box simply because it has the a certain letter next to it.


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