Donald J. Trump will be the 45th President of the United States. Never thought I'd have to write that, but here we are. While America collectively freaks out--out of joy, bewilderment, fear, anger, disappointment, or any combination thereof--at the prospect of a Trump presidency and its myriad doomsday scenarios, let's not forget all we've lost on the sad, dark road to this historic (?) moment.
Here are 13 things ruined by the 2016 election.
The Mainstream Media
The election of Trump serves as an indictment of the media--that is to say, the "liberal," or "elitist," "left-wing," "mainstream"--
--media, which almost unanimously anointed Hillary Clinton the next president, while revealing the cavernous culture gap across the nation. As for "conservative" or "alt-right" media, well, they've just been validated super hard so say goodbye to "facts" forever.
The amount of misinformation prevalent during this election was beyond troubling--it was catastrophic. With each of us most likely insulated within our little liberal or conservative news bubbles, the opportunity for misinformation to find a foothold in our brains increased with each false story/infographic/poll/etc. And while those fake or heavily biased news items were easily disproved by some independent fact-searching, facts didn't matter in this election. Like, at all.
Faith in Democracy
The 2016 election was like having a front row seat at the making of the American democratic sausage, or maybe its unraveling; at times it was equally fascinating and nauseating to watch.
What it revealed was a complete dissatisfaction with the government from both sides--both Bernie's and Trump's popularity was predicated on a desire to change the status quo because for many people, the status quo had failed them. Or had left them behind. Or they just didn't understand the status quo, or like it, or think it was an American citizen. To some of Trump's followers, a vote for him was, as Michael Moore said, a giant "fuck you" to "the establishment" or something along those vague lines.
Trump was able to walk away with this election not only because he spoke to that general institutional dissatisfaction, but also because, as he so often claimed, the election was rigged. Not in any overt ways, but rigged by the RNC through its very successful efforts at redistricting, minority voter suppression, and the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, so that even if Clinton won the popular vote, the electoral system has been weighed heavily and unfairly in Republican favor. Democracy ain't always what it's cracked up to be.
Remember when Donald Trump would tout all these polls that had him ahead and we were like:
Because nearly every poll showed Clinton with an advantage for much of her run and going into the election--not a big advantage, but an advantage nonetheless. Well, it turns out, that polling this election has been way off for any number of reasons. So it will be a long time before anyone wants to hear anything poll-related outside of a strip club.
The theory that race was no longer an issue in this country arrived with the election of Barack Obama, but that theory was blown out of the water with the increased white nationalist presence around Trump's campaign. This country is built on such a fragile, corrosive, racially-charged history that is impossible to hide and incredibly difficult to change. Trump's election in many ways is the symbolic taking-back of White America, a rebuke of Barack Obama and all that he's come to stand for--diversity, inclusion...cool black dudes. In America, it has been proven--once again--that a white man, especially a white man with money, can say or do anything and get away with it.
The Two-Party System
Bernie Sanders' influence on Hillary Clinton's campaign and the DNC platform--the most progressive in its history--should not be overlooked and for many who felt the Bern during, and after, the primaries, he represented the need for the Democratic Party's reform, or a new party altogether. Meanwhile, the GOP's kowtowing to Trump and the alt-right only caused more dissension within its own ranks.
Though Gary Johnson and to a lesser extent Jill Stein (and to a lesser extent Susan Sarandon) will inevitably be held accountable by dispossessed Democrats, third parties will be an even more viable and vital element in elections going forward. The 2016 election put on display a nationwide disillusionment with the two major parties and how out of touch they've become with their respective bases.
You realize, don't you, that America is now the basic bitch of the western world? We've hitched our wagons to the loud, abusive, misogynistic, racist, etc., etc., etc. guy who promises he'll treat us well but will most likely just end up fucking us over. And since reproductive rights are on the table, there will be long-term repercussions. Donald Trump, with the help of his Aryan brother- and sisterhood, dragged the American electoral process into the mud, breaking all the rules of decorum that had existed for over 225 years. And he's now made it okay for other politicians and would-be politicians to follow in his footsteps by carelessly insulting and alienating entire swathes of people and behaving in a manner that's even offensive for reality TV, from where we will now exclusively find our future leaders.
By accepting Trump as our president, America is telling its citizens and the world that this is who we are now, that this behavior is acceptable, that treating others different from you with suspicion and resentment is okay. It's inconsequential whether Trump's supporters explicitly believe that because with their endorsement their belief is implicit.
Tic Tacs and Skittles
Donald Trump and the under whelming sequel he refers to as his son, Donald Trump, Jr., really did their best to ruin two of America's favorite candies. As Trump's go-to pre-sexual assault treat, Tic Tacs had to distance itself from Trump's lascivious lips. Meanwhile, DJ2--fresh from (I'm assuming) twisting manically to Whitney Houston while wearing a white smock covered in the blood of a dead hooker--likened the Syrian refugee crisis to a bag of Skittles, which left a bad taste of the rainbow in the brand's mouth.
If Hillary Clinton's never ending email dilemma hasn't turned you off from ever sending anything digitally again, then for the love of god, at least never use a private server in your basement.
Wikileaks and Julian Assange really fucked shit up this election, mostly--almost exclusively--for Hillary Clinton, releasing thousands upon thousands of emails over the course of HRC's campaign. Though these emails were fairly innocuous--at worst painting her as an opportunist with uncomfortably close ties to Wall Street and at best, a grandma with little to no understanding of technology--this non-scandal dogged her before she even announced her bid for president. After the 2016 election, Wikileaks and Assange look less like patriots or revolutionaries and more like, at worst, puppets of Russia, Trump, and/or the GOP; at best, like petty pseudo-anarchists with a misogynistic ax to grind.
U.S. - Russia Relations
The U.S. and Russia haven't been friends since World War II and that's just because there was another country throwing its weight around the western world. And while things haven't exactly been lovey-dovey between the two superpowers, this election--and Russia's disgraceful, blatant attempts to intervene in it without even the pretense of a shadow conspiracy--really ruined whatever good will had been left standing after Mr. Gorbachev tore down that wall. Well, the election ruined some good will and the rest was shot to hell by Syria--you know the greatest refugees crisis since, wait for it, World War II.
Your Facebook Friendships
If one word could describe this election, besides "killmenow," it would have to be "divisive." I thought the last 15 months or so really showed how divided the country was when it came to a lot of issues, though with the election results, it's crystal clear how deep that division goes. This political partisanship became social as it bled its way online, where you may have been likely to bump virtual heads with that pro-Trump friend from high school you never talk to and haven't seen since you stopped caring about boy bands, or your conservative aunt you thought was cool until her feed became saturated with Fox News posts.
R.I.P. to those hazily-defined relationships that probably didn't meant that much to you anyway if they could be dissolved with the click of a button or a difference in ideologies.
This morning I saw a lot of defeated, distraught posts on my Facebook feed, to which I say: I get it. And I'm sorry. This sucks, I know, but if anything, this election should be a wake-up call to the other half-plus people that didn't vote for Trump. For many, myself included, this election inspired a level of engagement unseen in previous years. There was a palpable urgency around it that has been redoubled this morning following the GOP's disappointing sweep of the three branches of government, putting all that we've worked for and celebrated and hoped for over the past eight years in jeopardy. It's times like these that spark revolutions and so complacency simply isn't an option anymore. So take your time to mourn, but keep in mind that this is how America works. There's a surge of progress, followed by a backlash against it, followed by citizens standing taller and fighting harder for freedom and equality. After all, America's greatest strength has and always will be its people, therefore the key to continuing our progress is constant vigilance and hard work.
Complacency is no longer an option.
Michelle Obama's Refusal to Run for President
Just sayin'--the streets is talkin'.