The biggest disappointment of this election

The Biggest Disappointment of This Election

If I said that the biggest disappointment of the 2016 Presidential election was NOT the outcome, I don’t think you’d think I meant it. So yes, let’s stipulate that for those of us who are disappointed by the outcome, that’s the biggie.

The disappointment is compounded by the fact that Hillary Clinton may have received close to 200,000 400,000* more votes than Donald Trump. (Or maybe more than 1.000.000*.) But they didn’t come from the right places, and so the winner-take-all Electoral College will award the election to Trump. (Thanks, James Madison!) (For what it’s worth, at least the Supreme Court won’t have to decide this one.)

*The election was effectively decided by 107,000 in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

*Thanks to Jill at Rhapsody in Books for pointing me to these updates!

The numbers may not be final yet, but let’s work with them anyway:

I made a quick calculation: Donald Trump was voted into office by roughly 25.6% of the American people. Let’s be clear: this is not an overwhelming base of support.

And another: Nearly half of people who could have voted JUST DIDN’T. (I got 48%, but I didn’t have numbers to adjust for third-party candidate votes so the real percentage might be a little different.)

I realize that there were obstacles to voting for some people. I’m quite aware that we had two “historically unpopular” candidates and that third-party candidates have little impact on the popular vote counts.

But the biggest disappointment of this election is that too many people just couldn’t be bothered to participate in it.

Voting is like vaccinating. It’s not something you do just for your own self-interest or personal benefit.

I realize more voters could have swayed the numbers even more decisively in the same direction. But they could have turned it around, too. We don’t know. We do know that too many people can claim #NotMyPresident because they chose not to get involved in picking one.

But in all seriousness, the REAL biggest disappointment of this election is bigger than numbers.

Ugly American attitudes toward people who look/speak/believe/love differently–and toward women just for existing–are out in the open. This election seems to have validated intolerance and hatred. That’s more than disappointing. It’s frankly horrifying. For some, Trump’s America is already a deeply unsafe place to be. Allies protect each other.


And now for something NOT so disappointing…

I complain about California now and then–traffic, wildfires, vanity–but this week I’m pretty pleased with the state I’ve called home for nearly 15 years. We elected the biracial daughter of immigrants to the US Senate and passed 12 of 17 statewide ballot propositions. We approved funding for schools and hospitals. Schools will be able to teach students in multiple languages. We voted for criminal-justice reform (but kept the death penalty) and new gun control measures. And we legalized marijuana for non-medicinal purposes.

I only work in Los Angeles, so I can’t vote there. But the people who do vote there approved new taxes to fund parks, community colleges, transportation and housing for the homeless.

California is shining a light for progress. That’s encouraging, and it warms my old bleeding liberal heart.


Where are are you finding encouragement and hope right now?

(Seriously, you must have some coping strategies. Share!)

 

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10 comments

  1. The sheer number of nonvoters is a huge disappointment. I think most people expected record voter turnout given how vocal each party was in support of its candidate. I also have the heaviest heart around the fact that so many of DJT’s voters were white and female. It is unfathomable to me how any woman could listen to what he had to say throughout the campaign and still think he is a better candidate than Hillary. Yet, they did, and I probably will never understand why.

    1. Our conversation on Twitter the other day about people’s stupid write-in votes got me thinking about this, so thanks for the inspiration :-).

      I’ve read some pretty interesting pieces trying to pick that apart. Sometimes women are just sucky to other women…including themselves. At this point, I’m hoping his base turns on him in a year or two when they see how much of what he promised has failed to go anywhere–because it was never possible.

  2. My family decided that our coping strategy for this week would be to treat each other like we’d had a death in the family. We wore black. We skyped with each other more than we usually do. I sent my daughter flowers. We got take-out food instead of trying to shop and cook. Next week we will try to find a way to move forward, but we needed to feel the loss first.

  3. Voter turnout has been in decline for many years, and this is no surprise to me, especially given the campaigns and the candidates. Too many people said they didn’t like either one, but liking and ability to run a huge nation — in my opinion — are 2 very different things. I’ve always viewed voting as my civic duty — thanks, Mr. D. — but too many voters probably never received that message about why voting is so important and it is something they need to be doing.

    1. As I understand it, civics and government aren’t taught so regularly in schools now, so I think you have a point there. I also totally agree with you about “likability” and ACTUAL ability being very different things to consider when hiring for a job (which is basically what we’re doing).

      1. That’s what I think many voters fail to recognize. They are voting for someone to do the biggest job this country has. There should be qualifications that they need to see met before voting for that person. It’s not about celebrity or business acumen or personality. It’s about having a basic understanding of how the government works — its institutions — the treaties and foreign bodies we interact with, the relationships that need a tender hand, the relationships that can be relied on in times of crisis. It’s horrifying to me how unqualified Trump is. He knows nothing — hence his cabinet picks are the very insiders he claimed he wanted out of government. It’s just a mess. I am not standing idly by…that’s for sure.

        1. I suspect he really only thought about the competition, not actually DOING THE JOB if he won. And so far, it seems like he’s making staff hires based on cronyism more than competence. There are so many causes for concern it’s hard to know where to start!

  4. That many people didn’t vote and that is a much lower number than it so often is. I do not understand why a person bothers to register to vote and then simply can’t be bothered. I know that there were people who didn’t like the choices this time but there’s always an element of that. Which should have gotten people to start much sooner to encourage better people to run.

    1. Not choosing is still a choice, even (or maybe especially) when you don’t like any of the options. I know a lot of people are pretty fired up right now. On the one hand I’m afraid it’ll burn out before any real change happens, but on the other I’m pretty sure this administration will be able to keep upsetting people.