November 15, 2016
In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, we have seen the blame game turned into a national sport. While nearly half the population didn’t vote, over a quarter voted for Clinton (more than Trump), and they are infuriated that their side didn’t win the White House. The feverish, sometimes cathartic blame game targeted over a half dozen suspects. Who’s to blame for Donald Trump winning? Here’s what some say — and then I will offer my opinion of who’s really to blame.
For months, the Clinton campaign’s only response to Wikileaks’ email releases was to say that Russia was intruding in our democratic election and that we should be very concerned. Never mind any concerns that they were making unsubstantiated claims of espionage against a major nuclear power with whom we already have a proxy war. The Russian narrative appeared to many as a strange throwback to Cold War-era propaganda, and it appears the American people saw right through it.
The journalist collective that specializes in publishing hacked information became a relentless adversary of the Clinton campaign during the election, releasing trove after trove of tens of thousands of emails suggesting election tampering and collusion between the HRC campaign, the DNC and the media during the primaries, end even alleged evidence of pay-for-play schemes within the Clinton Foundation (similar potential arrangements transpired within the State Department while Clinton was in office). Obviously, this infuriated the Democrats (the same ones who celebrated Wikileaks’ Bush administration disclosures), who wondered why the group whose Twitter slogan reads “we open governments” was not focusing more on a businessman who had never before held public office.
The history between Clinton and Wikileaks goes back years. Had she been elected, it’s quite likely she would have gone after Julian Assange with the full might of her military resources. The same will likely be true of Trump once the first trove of Trump documents appears on the Wikileaks homepage.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation infuriated Republicans and the Trump alt-right when Comey announced they would not indict Clinton over her private server scandal. Then, less than two weeks before the election, Comey moonwalked back into the political arena by announcing new emails had been found and that the investigation was not over. Many political operatives believe this dramatically changed the election, killing Clinton’s post-debate momentum and reigniting a dejected Trump campaign (in free fall after the tape leak).
It’s worth noting that Comey, who is a (former) Republican, which is rare for an FBI chief, was appointed by Obama.
The Electoral College is a scourge for many reasons, not the least of which is the restrictions it places on third-party participation in the system. Of course, the EC only struck establishment liberals as a problem when it became clear that for the second time in as many decades, the Democratic presidential candidate would lose the general election despite winning the popular vote. The reason the EC facilitates this situation is the weight it gives less-populous states, a precedent originally established to level the playing field for slave states. Now, and only now, is the EC being targeted for destruction because it ‘stifles the voice of the people.’ This is a point third-party candidates and their supporters have been making for decades.
Much has been written about how the stubborn, corrupt political elite running the DNC is largely to blame for Trump’s win. The idea is they colluded to deprive their side of the populist insurgent (Bernie Sanders), who polls showed at a double-digit advantage over Trump. In contrast, Clinton ran neck-and-neck with the Republican victor. Leftist thinkers like Robert Reich, Glenn Greenwald, and Thomas Frank were all quick to note that the DNC’s own internal corruption, laid bare by Wikileaks, ruined their chances of inspiring voters. Author Thomas Frank wrote that the DNC conspired to force a fundamentally flawed candidate into the general election.
“Hillary Clinton was exactly the wrong candidate: a technocrat who offered fine-tuning when the country wanted to take a sledgehammer to the machine.”
While there is no way to prove that third-party voters would have supported a candidate for the Democrats or Republicans, Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, along with their voters, have received considerable criticism for their perceived role in suppressing Hillary Clinton’s election chances.
Contrarily, many analysts generally believe that people who vote third-party have completely disavowed the two-party system and thus should not be viewed as citizens whose vote was siphoned off a Democrat or Republican candidate. This viewpoint, of course, has not stopped Clinton supporters and some independents from excoriating Stein and Johnson voters, some of whom may have exercised a ‘selfish’ vote of conscience. Like Ralph Nader after the 2000 election that went to Bush by only a few hundred votes, Stein and Johnson are seen by some as having delivered the election to Donald Trump.
While it may strike one as utterly absurd to blame the candidate who very likely would have defeated the candidate you wish had lost, many Hillary Clinton supporters continue to blame the man their party defrauded in the primaries. Since the election, Sanders has pledged to vigorously fight Trump on any decision that threatens the rights of minorities. He has also advocated for a new progressive chair of the DNC.
Perhaps the most stunning voter statistic of the 2016 election was the number of people who didn’t vote. Most media outlets report that nearly 47 percent of the United States electorate did not vote. Some of these people chose not to vote strategically in order to not engage with or grant consent to a corrupt government; others might not have been able to take time off from work; still others may have simply forgotten. Whatever the reason, approximately half the country did not vote in this election.
Other recipients of blame for Trump’s win include poor, non-college-educated whites who wanted to send a message to an unresponsive political-industrial complex and blacks and Hispanics who did not show up in the kind of numbers that propelled Barack Obama into the White House.
In the wake of Trump’s win, suddenly revolution bashers called for revolution, and insurrectionists found themselves loving the system. As the tables turned in the most shocking of ways, pundits and politicos found themselves trying to find someone to blame for a result that forever dismantled their monopoly on prognostication. Hillary Clinton supporters found themselves looking for a way to transition from supporting the system to advocating for an overthrow of the Electoral College. Some HRC supporters have actually proposed a campaign to convince electors to change their vote and deprive Trump of the White House (a move that would almost certainly cause violent riots and possible secessions). People who, not days before, had chastised Trump for not pledging to accept the result of the election now refuse to accept the result themselves.
The harder pill to swallow is that the system worked. No one is to blame. The organic constitutional electoral process played out, and while various parties, including the Electoral College, certainly distorted the numbers, the system performed as it was designed to. Many of those who say the result is unjust are the same people who regularly condescended to accelerationist reformers and dismissed out of hand ‘childish’ calls for revolution and insurrection. Over the years, as anarchists and political extremists advocated for a revolution against the globalist oligarchy, they were called immature and unrealistic.
Supporters of the establishment rejected calls for dramatic change or political revolution. Change the system from within, they said. Well, now we can say the same to them. If the result of this election is so intolerable, change the system from within. That is, if you still believe the system is worth salvaging.
Jake Anderson writes for The AntiMedia, where this article first appeared. Reprinted with permission from the publisher. Views expressed in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect the views of the Coalition to Govern America.