On November 7th, my roommate approached me in the hallway and asked me who I think is going to win the American election. “Hillary, like 100%,” I answered, “I would bet my entire tuition money on that!
The day before that, I posted the following status on my Facebook page:
“So I’m not going to watch the election coverage because it’s obvious enough who is going to win. It’s like watching a sports match knowing who will win beforehand. Pointless.
Hilary is winning by a landslide. I think this is going to be the most lopsided race in recent American political history.
So I’m just going to go to bed on the night of Nov 8 and wake up to the Democrats having swept the nation. And wake up to YAY FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENT!!! statuses from my democrat friends and some of my “well look on the bright side” republican friends, “well thank god it’s not trump” from my #nevertrump friends, and my republican trump supporter friends pretending to be all shocked.
Hilary is gonna win real big, I tell ya. It’s gonna be huge!
And it’s not because it’s rigged it’s because people are going to vote for her.
So yeah I have other, more fruitful things to do on Nov 8, like homework and readings and get a manicure and cook risotto.”
Yeah, I really screwed up big time. While I did get homework done, I never got a chance to get a manicure or cook risotto. I didn’t even attend the election party down the street, let alone the one at Mike’s Place I had really wanted to go to.
It’s not as if my friends on Facebook didn’t warn me that Trump was winning. I totally didn’t see it coming, but maybe they had a clairvoyance that I lacked.
Or maybe I just was living in a bubble.
Like most millennials, on November 9th, when I woke up in the morning, I was reeling. I thought it was a bad dream, because when I checked my phone it looked like the apocalypse.
I had to double-check the name above the “;( ;( ;(” to be sure it was the liberal pundit I knew from the blogosphere. Surely she wouldn’t be crying this hard for Hillary? Like I know she was sad about Bernie losing but come on!
Everywhere I went, everyone I spoke to, seemed to be in varying states of mourning. Who are these Trump supporters? I wondered. Where in the world were they hiding all this time?
How could this have happened???
When what appeared to me like a post-apocalyptic hangover (based on the reaction of 99% of my American friends on Facebook and in real life) wore off, people started thinking about what the hell had just happened.
Let me give you my two agurot ($0.02):
1. The media circle-jerk is to blame
Maybe if the media didn’t give the impression that Clinton was winning by a landslide (which, to be fair, was how it appeared in their urban bubbles), and gave more Republican pundits and voters a voice, more Democrats would have come out and voted. Instead, people like me were under the impression that Clinton was going to win by a landslide anyway thanks to the media, so they figured, why even vote? The media made it feel like supporting Hillary was so unanimous that Trump supporters felt embarrassed to publicly go against the grain, and felt like they had to vote in droves to try to mitigate the inevitability of a Clinton presidency.
2. Trump supporters were relegated to the margins
In polite company, it was socially unacceptable to support Trump. On university campuses, it was social suicide. As a result, the millennial voice was almost uniformly silent or pro-Hillary: those were the two choices you were allowed to make in our generation if you wanted to keep having friends, or keep being taken seriously by your college professors. Didn’t subscribe to the (Democratic) party line? You were swiftly labeled a terrible person: a racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist nazi. There was no way around it, you could kiss your social life goodbye. Had another reason for supporting Trump that wasn’t related to you being a racist? Who cares. You’re bringing on the rise of Nazi Germany all over again and care more about your stupid little problems than the fact that a racist wants to take over the country! You were dismissed as a deplorable and that was that. As a result, most Trump supporters I know hid behind closed doors – inside their secret Facebook groups, only confiding in people they felt might be understanding or accepting of their differing opinion – in other words maybe one, two max. When Trump was elected, I received a private message from a friend of mine from New York telling me that she voted for Trump, and that she hopes I don’t find her a disgusting racist as a result. I had to reassure her that we are still friends, as she was bracing herself for disappointment, as so many Trump supporters were clearly used to.
3. Trump supporters, not surprisingly, resented being dismissed as “deplorables” for having legitimate concerns about issues that mattered to them.
If a politician dismissed people who shared your concerns as “deplorables,” you might not vote for her either. Hillary was rather transparent, despite coming across as fake and untrustworthy: It was clear that she looked down on Trump supporters as uneducated, racist hillbillies who don’t matter, whom the country would be better off without. Needless to say they resented that. Hillary’s statements inspired them to come out in droves to support Trump, often just to spite her.
4. Hillary’s attitude was gross, and her overconfidence made people want to vote Trump just to smack that smug grin off her face.
Maybe if Clinton wasn’t so smug, cocky, and plastic, maybe if she wasn’t so overconfident that she ran a half-assed campaign because her echo chamber of admirers were so sure she would destroy Agent Orange solely because she was not him, the democrats may have had a chance. Hubris, ultimately, was what did her in. She took Trump’s clear lack of fitness for the job – and the media’s unanimous appraisal thereof – totally for granted, and led an empty and uninspiring campaign. Her sheer arrogance, her certainty that she would win, perhaps made her loss an important lesson.
5. She sort of ignored like half the country because who cares about random hillbillies?
Again with the elitism. The results of the vote fit an almost-perfect urban-rural split. That’s because Hillary, a city dweller surrounded by urban folk, was too confident and didn’t realize that rural folk might have a very different idea of what they want in their president. She didn’t even bother to go to Wisconsin and barely set foot in Michigan, and Wisconsinites and Michiganders rewarded her with a Trump victory in states that should have easily gone to the Democrats.
6. Freaking identity politics
No, people shouldn’t vote Hillary because she’s a woman. Perhaps she relied too much on making history and not being Trump that she focused on identity politics, with the most popular hashtag #ImWithHer. Yes, there are some uberlefties who would vote for a woman over a white man just because she sits one rung on the oppression ladder below a white man on account of being a white woman, but most logical people don’t think this way. In fact, her emphasizing the fact that she is a woman while failing to address in a compelling or profound enough way other issues that were important to people, may have turned people off who were simply fed up with identity politics and political correctness.
7. Freaking political correctness
Speaking of political correctness, lovingly shortened to “PC,” many Trump supporters found Trump’s complete disregard for it absolutely refreshing. I personally find that worrisome that the left has such a stronghold over the words that come out of our mouths that people find any kind of deviation from the rigid rules as “refreshing” no matter how offensive it may be. It’s a sign that the culture that was created to make people feel more included and less marginalized has been taken way too far. People don’t want their words policed, they don’t want the worst expected of them if they by chance blurt out the wrong terminology for something despite good intentions. For example, if I use the word homosexual or gay instead of LGBT, prostitute instead of sex worker, colored person instead of people of color (blurted that out once entirely by accident), I’ll be unfriended on Facebook and dismissed as homophobic, sexist, and racist, with everything I have to say overshadowed by the misused terminology, all the credit I had immediately lost. It’s as if people use my “offensive” misuse of a term as a straw man to shut down my arguments.
8. Her hypocrisy
She speaks out against Trump’s words yet blamed the victims for her husband’s predatory deeds. She talks about helping poor and middle class American families but fails to appeal to them. She has stated the desire to help “all” Americans while preferring the ones who pay the Clinton foundation enough money to have their voices be heard. She gives grandiose speeches about supporting Israel unconditionally yet chose a Vice President and advisory staff that are J-Streeters at best, antisemitic Max Blumenthal at worst.
Not all Trump supporters are racist, sexist homophobes. Many have simply prioritized different issues than Hillary supporters. Others think that destroying LGBT and women’s rights wont be high on Trump’s priority list because he has historically been in favor of marriage equality and pro-choice. Some say that Mike Pence’s abhorrent beliefs in gay conversion therapy among other things don’t really matter when you’re dead, so being tough on terror and on Iran is of utmost importance to them. Others were concerned with how she handled Benghazi as Secretary of State, seeing that as indicative of a major character flaw. Some were concerned that Clinton could be “bought” given the history of her foundation. Remember, to most Trump supporters, they weren’t voting for Trump, but against Hillary, and Trump’s brash, often racist statements were a downside, a con to voting Trump, but they simply felt the pros outweighed the cons, or that Hillary was more dangerous. This is simply a difference of opinion, and does not denote sexism, racism, homophobia, or any of that, and many who do support Trump as the lesser of two evils feel hurt and offended by being dismissed as such.
10. Maybe people just wanted to see millennials lose their minds?