The Light at the End of the Tunnel for Democrats
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On November 8th, 2016, the Democrats suffered a heartbreaking loss in both the Presidential and Congressional elections. Republican candidate Donald Trump won the Presidential election in one of the greatest political defeats in U.S. history. As this improbable reality culminated, Democrats across the nation felt a scary and threatening shift in power begin to take place. Trump has been the manifestation of everything Democrats oppose and a threat to President Obama’s legacy. His victory, paired with that of the Republican Congress, is a direct threat to everything accomplished in the previous 8 years with President Obama and everything they hoped to consolidate with Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. This unforeseen loss has left a heavy burden on the Democratic Party, as finger-pointing and blame are exchanged between the parties in attempt to understand it. Some Democrats are calling for a massive reform in the Party and an exodus of the political leaders who are part of the establishment, such as Nancy Pelosi and the Clintons. There has also been widespread criticism of the Democratic Presidential Campaign that failed to convey a strong and influential message to Americans and energize its base. Especially blue collar workers in middle America, who came in droves to Trump’s support, helping solidify his victory. Regardless of who or what factors lead to the precarious identity crisis the Democratic party faces, the challenge is one that must be addressed by all constituents of the Party. The fight for Democrats in the future has not lost hope. Amidst the uncertain future of the Democratic party, there is still a high and bright beacon of hope that their principles and ideas have not been forgotten and ultimately will resonate in our country for years to come.
An important thing for Democrats to remember is that although they lost the election they still constitute the majority of America, evidenced by their candidate’s victory of the popular vote by more than 3 million votes. A big problem this year was that Hillary Clinton’s victory, along with many other things, was undermined by an outdated and flawed system, the Electoral College. The system negatively impacts the will of urban and highly populated areas in the U.S., mainly Democrat-leaning voters, and overwhelmingly rewards the traditional voters in rural areas, who heavily lean for the Republican Party. In California, where a great majority of Democrats reside, a citizen’s vote is worth the least among all states and in Arizona, a traditional Republican state, citizens votes are worth about 560 times more than that of one in California (WalletHub – States power in votes). The lack of representation of Democrats in U.S. Presidential elections is not only unfair for the party, but for the fundamental ideals of democracy in America.
Apart from the detrimental implications the Electoral College has for Democrats, it is also, somewhat paradoxically, their hope. Realizing that they still have the support of the majority of the Country and, with growing diversity in America’s demographics, they will continue to grow in the future. Democrats must embrace this hope for the future of their party. The hope that our country has not abandoned the ideals of progress and equality that the Democratic party stands for. Furthermore, there is hope that the next four years of Republican dominated government, the progress of our country won’t be stymied, because Democrats and progressives outnumber their political counterparts. With that said, strength in numbers isn’t enough for Democrats to push their agenda forward. The pervasive political apathy among Americans has to be upended and Democrats must channel their zeal for action into a unified cause. This is where hope lies. It lies the fervor and passion of Democrats across the country. Lamentation over the misfortunes of the party and the institutions that so heavily oppose it carries no hope for the future. The Democratic party is unique in that their future lies not in the hands lobbyists, wealthy capitalists, or a flawed system of voting, but in the will of each and every individual that dreams and yearns for better and fairer future.
Another important understanding for Democrats and Republicans alike is that this election was without exaggeration an anomaly. With the debates, media coverage, tweets, insults, fights, and everything that made the election a sad reality TV show, nearly all precedents were shattered by the polarizing, populist, and flamboyant character of Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton’s character garnered a similar amount of controversy but for different reasons concerning unsubstantiated reports by the F.B.I. over her email server years ago. As a result, the policies and ideas of each party were lost and buried in the thick of the controversy of each candidate. Many people didn’t vote because they felt their scruples didn’t allow them to support either candidate. The controversy of the election lead to an unparalleled lack of substance in the debates and in the media coverage.
Ultimately, the American people were more concerned with which candidate “won” the debates by having the endurance to match their opponents insults, rather than their ability to articulate their plans for the future our country. This was all exacerbated by the massive influx of fake news during the election as well. Republican supporters, for example, didn’t mind chanting for a wall on the Mexican border or a repealing of Obamacare without actually having any alternative plans to make these propositions feasible. Many Democrats and other Independent citizens, on the other hand, were so lost in the controversial baggage Hillary Clinton brought that they couldn’t see the progressive plans for the future. They couldn’t see the extensive environmental plans she had for preserving our world for the future. They couldn’t see the strong policies for economic equality and mobility for lower classes through holding the rich and powerful accountable. They couldn’t see vast social changes she would render for blacks, women, and other ethnic minorities. Lastly, they couldn’t see the symbolic nature of her presidency as a woman and staunch supporter of the progressive agenda. This is where there is yet more hope. Realizing that the Democratic ideology has not been abandoned by Americans, but overshadowed by the polarizing nature of the election is a sign of hope for their vision.
In retrospect, the Democratic Party can spin its wheels, dissecting and analyzing their errors. Hindsight is always 20/20. Going forward, Democrats and liberals need to find hope in their numbers and fight for their voice. The future of social, economic, and environmental progress may seem daunting but, ultimately, the people determine the future. Their numbers will continue to increase and their ideas will continue to be supported so long the individuals continue to fight and remain passionate. The Democratic party encompasses a colorful and wide variety of supporters that represent the power of individual will. The power of the individual, alongside the refusal to succumb to nationalistic powers, will be their future in navigating the sea of troubles looming over our Nation’s progress. Ultimately, the fight of Democrats to keep their party strong and united won’t be a partisan endeavor, as all Americans will reap the benefits of their achievements. Their vision is one for all Americans. Lastly, going forward, there is good reason for Democrats fears to be assuaged, but this should not leave the party and its constituents complacent or content as their fight must be constantly rekindled and supported. In the words Doctor Martin Luther King Jr: “we must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite Hope.”