Politics & Media
Nov 10, 2016, 09:27AM

Democrats Should Look in the Mirror

Playing the blame game is dishonest and counterproductive. 

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On Wednesday morning, in the wake Donald Trump’s presidential victory, this tweet from activist/filmmaker/musician Bree Newsome (132,000 Twitter followers) appeared on my timeline: “If you think folks who elected Trump would've been more amenable to Bernie being first Jewish US president, you missed what happened tonight.”

Yes, people like Newsome. There are many who want to frame the election strictly in terms of identity, as if the Democratic primary was simply a choice between a Jew and a woman. Barack Obama, an African-American, just served two terms in the White House. Being Jewish is not a disqualifier, nor is being a woman. Now excuses are flowing from traditional Democrats who chose to fall in line behind the anointed candidate, Hillary Clinton, who’d paid her dues and “deserved” the nomination. She was, as President Obama put it, the most qualified person, man or woman, ever to run for the presidency. Since that's the conventional wisdom among Democrats, then there must be some reason she didn't win. Jill Stein or James Comey is the real culprit, or was it the white supremacists and sexists who prevailed?

The fact that Sanders, a rumpled old self-avowed socialist gave Hillary a good scare might’ve told the Democratic Party establishment that their chosen candidate wasn't connecting with voters. Instead, with Debbie Wasserman Schultz installed as the overseer of the coronation, they soldiered on with blind loyalty. Sanders never stood a chance at the DNC.

Obama, whose true feelings about Hillary are tepid, was wrong about her qualifications, and now his legacy is tarnished. His language was tone-deaf. Years of experience in government doesn't mean that much to many voters, but in lieu of any real passion for her as a candidate that was the best he could muster. He even told his fellow African-Americans that it was their duty to vote for Hillary. Obama claimed he's heartened by Trump's post-election call for unity, but he knows how much responsibility he’ll have when the President-elect’s empty words are exposed. Until relatively late in this election cycle, I’d vowed not to vote for Hillary Clinton, even though I've never before voted for anybody but Democrats up and down the ballot. I got scared into voting for her because I felt Trump is temperamentally unfit to be president. I don't regret the vote, given the circumstances, but I’m resentful that the Democratic Party put me in that position.

If shocked Democrats think of this election as a “win for white supremacy,” as I've heard, they learned nothing from this bitter experience. They rely too much on name-calling, a bad, lazy trait that made Trump seem even more attractive to all the blue-collar people who used to be solid Democrats. The very voters who propelled Trump to a victory, and they may be lost permanently now to a party that has forgotten them, choosing instead to embrace elite constituencies such as Silicon Valley and Wall Street.

Sanders is an old man, but he energized people with his fresh vision and refusal to kowtow to elites. Trump voters think the same about their candidate, believing he’ll return them to their former standard of living. Clinton, in contrast, offered a piecemeal approach, making promises to various interest groups while riding Obama’s coattails. She conducted her campaign as if she was entitled to win the election, but she couldn't even beat Trump, an astonishingly flawed candidate.

If any election was “rigged” this year, it was the Democratic primary. Party insiders saw to that, aided by the media. All the disproportionate uproar over “Bernie bros” was an indication of the resentment over the interloper infringing on Clinton's territorial rights.

I could’ve lived with Mitt Romney as president, but Trump is a different story. He's a mean and petty guy with authoritarian tendencies. Soon his cabinet picks will start coming in and the pain will get worse. I went along with the program but now feel badly burned. Traditional Democrats lobbied hard for an uninspiring candidate with way too much baggage. That the email issue would be a constant, damaging issue during Clinton's campaign was entirely obvious. Who knows how much insiders covered up about her health? They want to blame third-party candidates or white nationalism now, but they clanged a lay-up off the rim and just don't want to own up to it. Nobody has an obligation to vote for the Democratic candidate, and not all Trump voters are racists. Having risked the nation's future to satisfy their own needs, the old guard Hillary contingent should step aside and let a new group take the lead.


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