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.)
*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:
- Clinton got almost 60.2 million votes, compared to 59.8 million for Trump. (And they probably both got votes that weren’t so much “for” them as “against” the other.)
- The “voting-eligible population” of the United States for the 2016 election is approximately 231.6 million.
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.
- You do it because you live in a society where what each of us does affects us all.
- You do it because it’s your right, and someone who didn’t have that right fought so you could have it.
- And it’s more than your right–it’s a privilege. It’s a great power. And with great power comes great responsibility.
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.
Legalizing pot in California seems to be perfectly timed. A lot more people are going to need it.
— Paul Vasquez (@RamsesTMagnum) November 9, 2016
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!)