If there's one thing we might end up commending Drumpf for, it's that he may have exposed the entire rotten political campaign industry as the bunch of grifting, chicken-entrail-reading weasels we always thought they were. I have no idea how he knew their polling models were bullshit, since he doesn't seem to know much of anything at all, but his instincts were correct on that count.
Even the RNC's own internal polling on the morning of election day had him losing. Something's going on here, what it is ain't exactly clear. Maybe instead of more useless chucklers about the city mice venturing into the hinterlands to plumb the psyches of the country mice, someone might take a look at all that. Because it's fucking janky as all hell.
Anyhoo, while we're all talking each other off the ledge, and wading through countless eulogies for the Democratic Party as a going concern, let's take a second and remember a few salient facts:
- Between PA, MI, and WI, a grand total of 107,000 votes made the difference. They regularly get more people into the college football stadium in Ann Arbor. The spread in Michigan was less than 12k, and barely more than 27k in Wisconsin. This is important going forward -- it was not a full-throated repudiation of Hillary Clinton, Obamacare, or anything else. It is not a mandate for or against anything. It was fucking close. It didn't help that, despite the record level of acrimony, turnout was surprisingly depressed on both sides. If fewer than 400k people in WI, MI, PA, NC, and FL could have been sufficiently motivated to get off their asses and vote, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
- On the other hand, Clinton campaigned heavily in Florida and North Carolina in the final days, taking President Obama with her to passionately advocate on her behalf, as well as on behalf of his own legacy. In those two states, it wasn't even close, she got thumped by well over 100k in each state. And Ohio was a blowout. That needs to be figured out as well.
- Clinton played a prevent defense, while Drumpf went out and engaged with his crowd and with the media. It was all bullshit, of course, but he went out and did it, stumping constantly, while she chose to carefully craft and calibrate her responses and venues. Drumpf understood that his crowd would back him no matter what he said or did, while Clinton was stuck trying (with varying levels of success) just not to fuck up too egregiously. But that "strategy" makes you utterly dependent on contingencies and surprises, whether from Anthony Weiner or James Comey.
- Even if Clinton had won, the Democrats face grievous structural disadvantages at all levels. The 2018 Senate races have 33 seats up for grabs. Eight of those seats are occupied by Republicans, and they are all in safe states such as Utah and Tennessee. Eight (maybe as many as twelve) of the remaining 25 Democratic seats should be considered highly vulnerable. I hope Heidi Heitkamp has a plan for keeping her seat in North Dakota. But that's just the beginning. Republicans have a commanding majority of governorships, state legislatures, right down to the local levels and school boards. They own most of the cake; they would have been fine if the Democrats had gotten the cherry on top. The Democrats need to start contesting the cake as well.
- Remember all the pre-mortems for the GOP through September and October, how the imminent Clinton victory spelled certain doom for the Republicans, how there would be a reckoning and some time in the wilderness? Yeah, no, that was never going to happen. She could have won by 100 EV, 10% PV, and 10 Senate seats and it wouldn't have happened. Only an ironclad supermajority in the Senate, plus the House, plus an electoral blowout would have made that even possible, and even then unlikely. These people have chosen to characterize themselves by their opposition and obstructionism. They literally have nothing else to offer -- no ideas, no policies, no solutions.
- There are several important lessons in the above point. One is that events can change forecasts very quickly. The Democrats are down but can recover by the next election cycle, and certainly by 2020. They must recover by 2020, in time for the next census, so that they can have a role in redrawing districts in a manner that gives them a fighting chance in the House, and in state races.
- Another lesson is that the Democrats' main strength is that they understand how to govern, where Republicans clearly do not. Already, Preznit-Erect Clownstick is finding out that "fixing" health care is actually more complicated than zipping around the country and talking shit about something you don't understand to a receptive audience. The Democrats should simply sit back and watch him flail, resist where necessary, but this fucking guy and the hacks he's surrounded himself don't know jack shit about how anything actually works. They are going to fuck this up, people will lose coverage and die, others will have worse coverage for the same or more money, and their obsolete jobs will still not be coming back. These angry white assholes are about to get one broken off in their asses, good and hard, and there will be no one left to blame but themselves, and the Republican majority government they have chosen.
- If such a scenario came true, if I saw reliable metrics and statistics in 2020 showing how life has gotten worse for working-class Rust Belt whites as a result of the inevitable corruption and hackery of the Clownstick regime, there is a very good chance that I would vote for him in 2020. Because fuck those people. When their Medicare and Social Security are privatized by these vultures, and they're living on cat food and faded memories, they will get the Nelson Muntz response from me. They're going to hoover it all up before I get a chance to get what I've paid into anyway, no matter who got elected. This is what you wanted, this is what you get. They can fucking choke on it, and I would much rather sit and watch them turn blue and croak than Heimlich them. You like apples, motherfuckers? You like voting out of pure spite? Because anyone can do that.
- All that said, it seems pretty clear that Clinton could have pulled this out quite easily with a few more visits to the Rust Belt states in general, and maybe a few rural counties in particular. When you have people who are in such desperate straits that they would rather be lied to than ignored, all you need to do is give them something reasonable to hope for, and let them know you're not ignoring them. Social justice is nice, but economic justice should come first, not the other way around. Right or wrong, if enough people feel like you're paying way more attention to transgender bathroom rights than to their destitute towns and prospects, they will never vote for you. Simple as that.
- While "economic anxiety" may be the main reason Drumpf won, it is not the only reason by far. Racism and sexism are baked into this to some extent. More perniciously, the white-power douchebags -- however many they are in number -- have glommed onto Drumpfism like a religion.
- In the meantime, again, take a break, take a walk, take a deep breath. Get mad, get even, but most of all, get ahead. I'm talking to myself as much as to anyone reading this. It's going to be an ugly four years, that's for sure. But already we are seeing some clues as to how it'll really be. Clownstick's visit to the White House the other day showed a lot -- he could barely look Obama in the eye, and when he did, he looked like the proverbial car-chasing dog who finally caught his quarry, only to find out he had no idea what to do with it.
Since obstructionism is all they know, they'll blame Chocolate Thunder at first for all the non-winning, but that only goes so far when you have all the branches of gubmint under your control. 'murkins are bad at math and worse at thinking contextually, but even the dimmest of the bulbs will realize sooner or later that they've been had.
Maybe it's when their kid gets cancer from the newly poisoned water table, and they can't afford treatment because "something terrific" never happened. Maybe it's when they're stuck with another bullshit Walley World job because it turned out all that tough talk about starting trade wars with China and Mexico was just that. Maybe it's when the wall never gets built, and illegals are still here because no one wants to pay ten bucks for a head of lettuce or a basket of strawberries. Please, stop with all the winning, we're tired of the winning! Again, I mostly want to say fuck you, finish eating the shit sandwich you ordered, but it is actually critical that Democrats win 2020 if they are going to redraw districts and stay viable.
The biggest thing the Democrats can do right now is write off the 2018 midterms, shore up what they can, and concentrate on the ground game for 2020. Already there is talk of having Chelsea Clinton run for Nita Lowey's congressional seat, which only proves that they have learned nothing. They have no strategic vision, no real plan. They are, as the old business saying goes, stepping over dollars to pick up dimes. This should have been obvious when Hillary replaced Debbie Wasserman Schulz at the DNC with Donna Brazile. If they had any vision and gave a shit, they would have reached out to Jim Webb, or at least Howard Dean. Instead they went for someone who was stupid enough to get caught leaking debate questions. Seriously, how fucking dumb do you have to be to even need or want that kind of "advantage" when debating a predictable doofus like Clownstick?
If the Democratic Party wants to regain its mojo, they need to stop bringing a spork to a gunfight. Send people like me out to flyover country to talk to these folks; I'm one of them and I'll do it relatively cheap. Give me $100k after taxes and one year and I'll go out there and win them over, seriously. Stop trying to find a different Beltway hack to convey the same tired platitudes, and get someone from outside the same dopey box.
Drumpf's candidacy shattered the establishment norms for what is "acceptable" from candidates. Take advantage of that. Run Anthony Weiner for a congressional seat in 2018, and put some money behind it so he wins. Or at least give him his own MSNBC show. What can they say without exposing their own manifest hypocrisies? Weiner is smart, policy-oriented, quick on his feet, and people love a "redemption" narrative. Have him do a couple "road to recovery" puff pieces in the usual outlets and turn him loose. Dude's a pit bull. Grow a fucking pair for once in your goddamned lives, Democratic Party. Quit letting the assholes have all the fun.
I do think Drumpf is an authoritarian at heart, and I would be wary of impending constraints on the "free press," or even a Reichstag-type of catalyzing excuse to crack down on dissent (the latter especially under DHS head Hunchback Giuliani). But it takes very little to cow the American corporate media. Most of them are venal and gutless by nature. You don't need to threaten them with anything but less access and therefore less money. They will shit their pants every bit as much as if you threatened to physically harm them. Very few of them stand for a goddamned thing besides career advancement. We saw enough evidence of that over the past eighteen months. There are any number of important stories they can and should have covered and hammered on repeatedly. They chose not to.
And the reporters who did valuable work, such as WaPo's David Fahrenthold and Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald, found their great work mostly ignored, proving the point that you can't convert irrational morons with mere facts and evidence. The evidence of influence peddling and money laundering by Drumpf's "charitable" foundation should have been enough, but it didn't get 1/100 of the coverage her supposed emails did. They simply don't care. That doesn't mean that the real reporters should stop trying to do good work, only to watch it go unrewarded. They know that going into this. It is a media landscape that is fighting for its life, in a cultural landscape that does not care about facts or evidence, that has ceded "reality" to a set of entertainment programs that feature spoiled, botoxed, anal-bleached cunts screaming and throwing shit at each other. And if anything, the tenor of the campaign has catalyzed this seedy Stormfront cuck-bro alt-culture that has wasted no time in making itself known. Maybe a few of these inbred cocksuckers can visit Gawd's Cuntry or the 'burbs, and let these dumb-ass "he'll keep us safe" hausfraus figure out what sort of scumbags they've aligned with. Or maybe the simulation is entering shutdown mode after all.
Already the corporate media hacks are mustering their predictable "let's give him a chance" arguments. Again, now's your chance to say fuck you, assholes. He campaigned in bad faith, and there's no reason to suppose he won't govern as such. I will give Clownstick exactly the same chance that the teahadis gave Obama, which was like six weeks. This is simply the tired-ass career hacks trying to stave off their continued irrelevance. Their bullshit "appeals to reason" should fall on deaf ears. Does anyone out there think that a single Republican voter reads or cares what Kristof and Friedman and fuckin' Bobo Brooks have to say about anything? You think they're watching 60 Minutes or CBS This Morning? No, the media are talking to liberals and moderates, and they know it. And it's up to those liberals and moderates to ignore their pleas and platitudes, to pay attention to the facts and stick to their guns.