The problem with political jokes is they get elected.~Henry Cate, VII~ (Father of Henry VIII)
Like a majority of people in the USA before this election, I was certain most voters in our country could easily see for themselves the appalling defects of Herr Trump - not that Hillary Clinton does not have a number of her own, even if nowhere close to Herr Trump's entire train full. I was convinced the sheer weight of the evidence against Herr Trump was so obvious and self-evident that our countrymen would reject this classless, boorish, sociopathic and pathological narcissistic bully out of hand. I sincerely believed all along he did not have the ghost of a chance in the end, even as he piled up win after win.
Tragically, I was so very wrong. My previous faith in the intrinsic wisdom of our US body politic has been shaken to its roots, if not now uprooted entirely.
I am very discouraged to see so many of my fellow Americans buy into Donald Trump's hysteria and horse hooey - hook, line and sinker, teacups to topsails! Every sentence he spoke contained at least one superlative (huge! gigantic! greatest!, etc., ad nauseam), and most of his sentences had his signature 'believe me!'. These hyperboles are the unmistakable signatures of common, insincere conmen and hucksters.
The thousands of gerrymandered voting districts helped Trump too, since Ms Clinton actually did win the popular vote overall. It was not by much in an election where nearly 120,000,000 voted, but still. Another thing to think about is that only roughly 50% of our country's voters actually took the trouble to go to the polls in this momentous election.
Did you know that all citizens of voting age in Australia are REQUIRED BY LAW to vote in federal and state elections, and are subject to a fine if they do not? 21 other countries have similar laws. A wonderful and enlightened way to insure participation as a small price for being a member of one's society I think!
Furthermore, New Zealand allows voters to vote at ANY voting station in the entire country. New Zealand also, by the by, was the first nation in the world to introduce women's suffrage (1893).
I believe one huge factor is Trump's success is the billions of dollars of totally free media publicity he reaped by virtue of his continuously outrageous behavior and statements. Donald Trump played the American corporate media like a well-tuned Stradivarius. The collective media, in their competition for viewers, readers and listeners could not get enough of it. In my opinion, in the media's grasp for profits above all else, all the major ones abandoned all pretense of being anything remotely resembling a responsible fourth estate. The media failed us entirely, not that their track record has been all that stellar in the past. But, this time it was beyond shameless, and very near treasonous in my view - a total abdication of even a pretense for citizen responsibility, And this is their primary argument for their very existence for goodness sakes! I think media owns a major portion of blame for this electoral debacle. There's no doubt about that in my mind. But, you shouldn't expect any acknowledgement or acceptance of responsibility or blame by the media, since that's just not gonna happen!
There is one important silver lining found in this debacle however. This electoral horror will compel BOTH major political parties to reassess their attitude to the voter. Congress has gotten so far out of hand - both parties - that the individual members no longer respond to the people they represent. Congressional approval is at an abysmal 10-12%. The only things impacting the typical politician's thinking is getting reelected and donor money, and the money which most influences them does not come from voters at large.The constituency they almost exclusively represent these days are deep-pocketed corporate donors and their political 'pacs'. These groups now own both the Senate and the House, especially since the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United v. FEC which allows UNLIMITED donations by corporations and unions, and any sums to super PAC's.
Meanwhile the common citizen voter without 'unlimited' money is almost completely ignored - until election time and then they are wooed shamelessly with political promises impossible to keep. We already see Herr Trump walking back on his.
The only attention citizens usually get is being agitated to support or oppose legislation - mostly oppose. The NRA jumps quickly to mind, but there are many others. These are so-called 'hot-button' issues manipulated to agitate the various voting bases - abortion, 'war-against-Christians', immigrants, Islamists, you name it. A far more appropriate name for these so-called issues is 'red herrings'. The extremely well-paid shills pulling the agitating levers behind the scenes are very focused and smart in their efforts. (And it doesn't take a lot of effort to agitate evangelicals after all for example!)
The phenomenon of Mr. Trump's success is in his recognizing, and taking advantage of the massive citizen dissatisfaction with elected 'leaders' which is rampant throughout the nation. People feel ignored and powerless, and now Trump steps into the ring as their 'straight-talking champion', who will 'fix things' and chase the rapscallions out of politics or make them behave. The problem with this scenario is that Donald Trump is the biggest, baddest rascal of them all.
To a much lesser extent the same thing is seen on the Democratic side in Bernie Sanders - also a product of citizen voter rage and dissatisfaction. Both Trump and Bernie Sanders used citizen disaffection with our political system to people their political bases. The biggest difference is Mr. Trump had much broader pool of low information voters to draw from. He knew it too, as proved by his statement about being able to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York without losing a single vote
After falling victim to this horrible case of 'Trumpitis' (for lack of a better term) on November 8, 2016, both national parties are now forced to reexamine themselves. The opinion of voters is unmistakable. Voters are so disgusted with our current political chicanery they came out by the mega-thousands in opposition to the diseased, warped political system ours has now morphed into. Unfortunately for the nation, the current treatment selected by our country's voters is akin to a mega-dose of cod liver oil or perhaps a full-blown, total hysterectomy for our country.
What this means, at least in the short run, is Congress is now forced to actually produce some meaningful legislation in order to protect their very hides. Otherwise the pickaxes and pitchforks will come out. I think the message to Congress is they are already within very close reach now. We WILL see changes, although it is impossible to predict what they will be. My gut feeling is though, we will not see successful wholesale attacks on progressive ideals. A majority of the people in our country will not stand still for that, and Congress knows it, no matter who occupies the White House.
We are living in interesting and momentous times indeed. My current thinking is very well expressed in this opinion piece by Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post: