Usually I try to write posts that might help people solve problems, or otherwise be useful. But today I’m just going to try to sort out my own thoughts re: what just happened with the U.S. elections. And some ranting. So be warned, and check back next week if you want to read something useful (like how I turned my obsolete 2011 Macbook into a screaming fast machine running the latest everything).
Why did Trump win?
He won because 59.7 million people voted for him. Not as many as Clinton’s 59.9 [edit Nov. 21, up to 63.7M vs. Trump 62M] million, but enough to win an electoral victory. Who voted for Trump? It’s tempting to come up with pithy descriptions of these subgroups. Red Pill bros. Muslim-haters. Women who are scared of being raped by Mexicans. Angry white men who want their privileges preserved. KKK members.
But the descriptions don’t matter. Almost 60 million Americans voted for Trump. They each had their own reasons, each one a little different. Common sentiments in this group include economic fear, distrust of government, resentment towards political correctness, and a view of white Christian patriarchy as an American norm. If Trump’s racism, misogyny, shady business deals, and unstable temperament bothered them at all, it didn’t bother them enough to change their minds.
Just as importantly, too many Democrats stayed home. Obama won in 2008 with 69.5 million votes, and in 2012 with 65.9 million. Clinton didn’t come anywhere near Obama’s first term demolition of McCain, or his second term win over Romney.
Why did they stay home? There’s plenty of blame to go around.
I blame Nate Silver.
His percentage estimates gave liberals a false sense of security. When you see that Clinton has an 85% chance of winning, that doesn’t inspire you to work hard for your candidate. Stick to sports, Nate. You’ve failed at political predictions. And Nate Silver fans who tried to calm themselves down by compulsively reading his blog are to blame too. There was never any reason to remain calm.
I blame Facebook.
There was tons of liberal rage at Trump, but none of the conservatives saw any of it. People engaging on social media really do change each other’s minds, at least sometimes, but there was very little opportunity to engage. Facebook made sure like only saw like. Liberals preached to the converted on social media, and felt like they were doing something.
I blame Colin Kaepernick.
Not for protesting–I supported that. But to protest and then not vote, that’s just lame. Fine, you didn’t want to vote for Clinton. But what about supporting funding for California schools, or repealing the barbaric death penalty, or the two dozen other important issues on the ballot? Democrats and liberals lost a huge amount of power because of liberal downballot apathy across the country.
Voting matters. If you still don’t think so, watch what happens during the Trump presidency. It’s gonna be ugly.
I blame myself.
I gave money, and I shared my political views on this blog and on Twitter. But I could have done more. My father-in-law called over a thousand people around the country.
I have a few friends who I’m pretty sure didn’t vote. I should have called them. Maybe I could have convinced them to get to a polling place, even if they were never going to vote for Clinton. It wouldn’t have made a difference in California in terms of the presidential race, but I should get used to having those awkward, difficult conversations.
I blame voting suppression efforts by Republicans.
Republicans worked hard to make registering to vote harder, to reduce early voting, to close polling places, and to intimidate voters (especially African Americans). They succeeded.
I blame everyone who voted for Trump.
So, you want to watch the world burn? You want to roll back civil rights? You want to tear down the system? You want to slap down feminists and Black Lives Matter protesters? You want to accelerate climate change and the destruction of natural habitats? WTF, Trump voters?
Maybe you don’t consider yourself a racist or a misogynist, but you voted for Trump because you think he’s going to bring back U.S. manufacturing or prop up domestic energy production. Good luck with that. Globalization and technological automation/replication are here to stay. This tweet says it all:
the self-driving truck is all but in mass production at the moment and I just remembered this map pic.twitter.com/3oCkiyHNdn
— Findom De Siècle (@griph) November 10, 2016
To smoothly transition to a fully automated global economy (which is coming no matter what) we need to strengthen the safety net and consider a basic income system. Electing Trump made that pretty much impossible.
So what now?
60 million people just declared ideological and political war against legal immigrants (especially Mexicans), people of color (especially African Americans), religious minorities (especially Muslims), people with disabilities, women’s rights, children’s rights, LGBT rights, atheists, scientists, Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, civil discourse, and basic human decency.
My immediate plan is to pursue escapist distractions for a few weeks. I’m working on an epic carrot farm in Minecraft, and I’m considering purchasing Civilization VI. This weekend I will be indulging in the thrilling consensual violence that is UFC 205 (one of the greatest fight cards of all time). I will drink more wine than I usually do, and probably some whiskey too. I may start a new D&D campaign. I’m gonna finish reading Ferrett Steinmetz’s ‘Mancer series. I’ll keep writing science fiction stories and making techno beats.
Once I’m ready to face reality again, here’s my plan:
- I plan to fight cultural regression, to keep my vision of progress alive.
- I plan to be an upstander and protect people more vulnerable than myself.
- I plan to actively campaign for the strongest liberal candidate in the 2020 election, starting now by supporting the potential contenders.
- I plan to continue to express my political opinions, and to engage respectfully with anyone who disagrees with me (provided they show a basic level of respect in return).
And maybe more.
What about you?
One last thing, if you voted for Trump, and you want to share why in the comments, I won’t jump down your throat. I’ll also delete abusive comments of any kind.