Featured prominently on CNN’s homepage Monday morning was an interview with a group of Hillary Clinton supporters. In the segment, journalist Kait Richmond attempted to pinpoint what exactly cost Clinton the presidential election in their minds. Richmond played the role of “devil’s advocate” – maintaining an objective approach as she posed questions to each of the six Democrats in the studio. The responses she received were mixed to some degree, but the overall consensus was clear: they all firmly believed Clinton lost an unfair, uneven race through very little fault of her own. The real culprits, according to this panel of Clinton supporters, were Russian hacking, racism, and the media’s “love affair” with Donald Trump…
Excuse me, I’m writing this and that last part even made me spit out my coffee.
Now, before this article begins to sound like I’m another angry conservative that’s flabbergasted by the Left’s inability to connect with American people who don’t live next to an ocean, I’d like to clarify my position: I’m not a big Donald Trump fan. In my personal life, I’ve probably participated in as many debates attacking the man as I have defending him (maybe more) and parts of the Republican victory lap that has gone on in social media since the election have legitimately concerned me. Our country is fiercely divided, and many of my GOP registered friends are treating the election like it’s the first touchdown they’ve ever scored, forgetting that the election wasn’t the real game. All we’ve done so far is choose a team captain – a world chock full of different colored jerseys, and real conflicts, potentially awaits. The game hasn’t even started yet.
With that said, any criticisms I can levy at conservatives about their dealing with this election like sore winners pale in comparison to how the Left has responded. For all the down-talking and fear mongering they did before the election about how Donald Trump wouldn’t concede if he lost, they responded in exactly the same way the media told us we should fear conservatives might react. For every level-headed and reasonable Democrat that makes a logical argument about Clinton’s popular vote count, there are three more calling republicans racist, burning American flags, and hurriedly deleting their YouTube videos about fleeing to Canada because they found out that Canada, like most nations, actually has immigration laws.
My concerns about the Democratic narrative of the recent election were fueled by the statements CNN’s panel of six intelligent, well-intentioned liberals made throughout the interview. These weren’t wild-eyed protestors burning down police cars or crazy college kids throwing their participation trophies in the air – they were the same reasonable seeming folks we see at work, drink our coffee next to, and probably see eye to eye with about a myriad of things outside the political sphere… so to see them so unwilling to accept that the Clinton campaign may have made mistakes, that Clinton may have been a poorly chosen candidate, or that Trump could win without the KKK and Vlad the Russian Impaler conspiring to ruin democracy forever was not only disheartening, it was downright upsetting.
“I think it was racism that allowed Donald Trump to win,” Carol Evans told CNN. “I’m not saying that everybody that voted for Donald Trump is a racist … but I do believe that they allowed racism to move into the White House. Let’s say that racism reacted against an Obama presidency, and that racism won.”
That statement, in various forms, can be found on every social media platform, every news site comment section, and in at least one instance, written on the inside of a bathroom stall at an Applebees near my house. In the minds of people who believe this, sixty million Americans went to the voting booth simply to hurt minorities. This concept is predicated on the idea that the American people voted for an African American president twice, but their inherent racism was just too strong to allow them to vote for a rich white woman who shared some of his political beliefs.
This argument boils down to, “you’re racist for choosing the wrong white person,” and it completely ignores the social and economic issues permeating throughout rural America that have gone almost completely ignored by the federal government.
“This election was stolen from the American people by Russia,” said Sally Rosenwasser, who volunteered for the Clinton campaign.
Sally Rosenwasser can’t necessarily be blamed for believing this – that is exactly as it’s been presented on most mainstream news websites and broadcasts, and even Republicans agree that any Russian influence on our election process must be investigated and addressed. While it is true that the Russians may have been involved in swaying some voters, I ask that you take a moment to consider the stances you and those you know had adopted a month prior to the election. Were you undecided? Or had you already chosen your candidate out of utter distaste for their opposition? Russian hackers didn’t change voter ballots or the dissemination of electoral college votes – they released the Democratic candidate’s e-mails and allowed her own shady dealings to effect voter’s perceptions of her, made up some fake news stories and probably complained in the comments sections of the New York Times and Washington Post.
I hate the idea of Russians meddling with our elections, but again, to suggest that Hillary Clinton’s e-mails ended up convincing Trump’s supporters that she wasn’t the woman for the job is ignoring the concerns red state voters took with them to the polls. This argument suggests that Republicans don’t vote for the same reasons Democrats do; which is an underhanded way of dehumanizing the opposition and making them seem more like hate-mongers and less like real people with real problems who could use some real help.
One member of the panel had the wherewithal to suggest that Clinton may have run too negative a campaign, focusing primarily on “not voting for Trump” rather than why one should vote for Clinton – but that bit of rationality was quickly stepped on when another panel member disputed his claim and suggested instead that Clinton ran an excellent campaign, but the media loved Trump so much that they gave him all the publicity he wanted.
“The media had a tremendous love affair with the circus of Donald Trump. Every time Donald wanted to get any media attention, he could.” She suggested. “He didn’t have to come into a studio for an interview, he could call in, that’s unprecedented.”
Richmond responded fairly, suggesting that Clinton would receive the same courtesy had she chosen to call in to CNN. As for the claim that the media’s love for Donald Trump (even if only for the spectacle) swayed the election… I’m not even sure if I can manage a thoughtful response without breaking the part of my brain that’s capable of empathy. If you watched mainstream media coverage of this election and it left you feeling like Trump was the favorite, or that the media was trying to paint Trump in an electable light, we simply must watch television in different dimensions.
While there were a few shimmering moments of rational politics, in which a few panel members said they were reading J.D. Vance’s book “Hillbilly Elegy,” about the plight of the rural working class in American in an effort to better understand those who voted for the conservative candidate, the interview ended on a decidedly negative tone.
“[The Democrats] can’t be the party of yes,” one panelist said. “You have no power at the moment. All you can do is obstruct, and slow down. And Republicans have given us the exact model in how to do that.”
With so much rhetoric throughout the election about how fed up Americans have gotten with politics as usual, it never crossed our minds that the problem may not just be the politicians… it’s us. If the party that railed against conservative stone-walling throughout the Obama years feels that it’s not even worth trying to work with a president that hasn’t even seen his first day in office yet, just what is it exactly that they feel differentiates them from the politicians they hate?
If civil unrest, political gridlock, ignoring the plight of other Americans, and failing to take responsibility for their own shortcomings are the rallying cries of the post-election Democratic party – I have to wonder if any of them were actually voting for the candidate they believed would be best for our nation… or if they were all simply voting for their team. CNN’s recent interview left me more certain than ever that neither party has the moral high ground – and as they fight in the dirt, it’s America that is left muddied.
Image courtesy of CNN