Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Final thoughts on this fraud of a presidential election

It is now “official”: The Electoral College has confirmed Donald Trump as president of the United States, despite losing the popular vote by the largest margin in history. After the chaos of the 1824 election, electoral votes have been determined exclusively by popular vote rather than by state legislatures, although not always in the way intended. The electoral vote counts of 1848, 1876, 1884, 1916, 1976 and 2000 were closer by percentage than that of the 2016 election, which means that this past election was the seventh closest of the past 48 in electoral votes. Yet Donald Trump and his surrogates keep blustering “The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history,” which gives you an indication of the amount of “reality” that the Trump universe exists in.  Trump’s 77-vote margin was a bit short of FDR’s 515-vote margin in 1936. Trump’s cabinet picks show that while he successfully played on white racial paranoia, he is surrounding himself with people of power and wealth who have no connection or empathy with “common” laborers. Why do you think the Stock Market has rocketing upward since his election?

Just because Trump won the electoral vote doesn’t mean he has a “mandate,” any more than the Republican elector in Michigan claiming that their 16 votes reflected the “will” of 4.6 million voters in a state count decided by .02 percent. In the 1912 presidential election, Woodrow Wilson won 435 electoral votes (131 more than Trump) despite winning just 42 percent of the popular vote. Did he have a “mandate” despite being the overwhelming victor in electoral votes? In 1928 Herbert Hoover won 444 electoral votes; in 1932 during the throes of the Great Depression, FDR won 472 to the pro-business, anti-regulation Hoover’s 59; this is something that Trump should note, as FDR warned against the kind of “fear” that Trump has exploited and should come back to haunt his ego if his administration goes down in history as the most morally corrupt. In 1936 FDR won 523 electoral votes running on the same themes as Bernie Sanders; in his famous Madison Square Garden speech, he denounced the forces of power and greed that according to Trump will “make America great again”:

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace, business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs; and we know now that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.

Apparently, American voters forgot the lessons learned from the “Great Recession” of 2007-2008. In Trump’s fantasy world, "This election represents a movement that millions of hard working men and women all across the country stood behind and made possible. With this historic step we can look forward to the bright future ahead. I will work hard to unite our country and be the president of all Americans. Together, we will make America great again…a historic electoral landslide victory in our nation's democracy.” The reality is that Trump managed to excite and “mobilize” the racist, xenophobic and nativist elements in this country, and we shouldn’t care if some them have their feelings “hurt” when exposed as such; if the shoe fits, wear it “proud” so we all know what you are. But then again, Trump’s narcissism is exceeded only by his supporters belief in a holographic world of  their own paranoid fantasy.

Meanwhile…did Hillary Clinton actually lose the election because of personal enemy Vladimir Putin’s alleged direction of the email hacking, that revealed a daily dose of not necessarily illegal acts, but ones that demonstrated her to be disturbingly deficient in common sense and personal responsibility (or taking responsibility for her unethical actions for that matter, something that she has been deficient in since at least 1974)? The generality of U.S. intelligence seem to believe so, and Putin obviously preferred Trump over Clinton, because Clinton would be naturally more suspicious of him and has said nasty things about him in the past. On the other hand, Trump’s naiveté can be exploited by Putin, while Trump probably thinks he can get a few pointers from Putin, whose personal corruption has amassed an $85 billion empire in Russia. Like Trump supporters who are not particularly disturbed by his numerous and sundry defects, Russian “voters” don’t care if Putin is corrupt, ordering assassinations of opponents or directing security services to blow-up apartment buildings and blame it on “terrorists,” as long as Putin looks “strong,” something the diminutive dictator thinks is important to his self-image. 

But like in football, where offensive coordinators are often attacked for calling plays that do not result in a positive yardage, it is not the person who called the play, but the players who failed to execute the play who are really at fault. Thus if Clinton and company had not acted unethically, incompetently or irresponsibly as revealed by the emails, then Russian hackers would have nothing worth hacking; they could go back to the more lucrative business of stealing passwords, Social Security and credit card numbers, and sell them to others. Obviously it was the timing of the leaks more than the leaks themselves that hurt Clinton more, since people would claim that they were “old news” just as they did all the other Clinton scandals if the most damaging emails (like the one about the maid) had been released even three months prior to the election. But ultimately, the only person to blame was Clinton herself. Her win-regardless-of-cost in end cost her dear.

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