The 2016 election and you

Before a single vote was cast and before a single moment of meaningful debate, the DNC and the RNC decided whom our presidential nominees should be.

For The Herald

Before a single vote was cast and before a single moment of meaningful debate, the DNC and the RNC decided whom our presidential nominees should be.

The Republicans hitched their machine behind dynasty project Jeb Bush. The Democrats coronated Hillary Clinton and by October 2015 were already mapping out the route through the byzantine maze of election finance laws to give Hillary Clinton the Scrooge McDuck Money Vault she always wanted.

What the elites in both parties didn’t imagine was that the people might not actually accept their choices.

Fast-forward to the beginning of 2016 and the rosy pictures painted in those smoke-filled rooms of party headquarters started to get clouded.  Hillary Clinton did not achieve a landslide victory in Iowa, the kickoff of the Entertainment News’ year long Super Bowl.  In fact, not counting the super delegates she already bought and paid for, the best she achieved was a tie.

Ballot and hand (CMYK)There was someone else running?  What’s going on here?

On the Republican side, Bush quickly became irrelevant.  In a crowded field led by businessman Donald Trump, he wasn’t even in the top 5 of the vote getters in Iowa.

Unfortunately for the party elites, the common folk had skittered out from under their hovels and voted against them and for some very unlikely candidates.  On the Democratic side, a mad socialist from Vermont, who only officially became a Democrat less than a year prior, emerged as a viable alternative to Hillary.  For the Republicans, a flamboyant billionaire businessman from New York quickly became the frontrunner, his only rival a conservative enfant terrible.

So both parties are dealing with insurgent candidacies, which is a problem of their own making.  Their constituents appear to be more than a little fed up with being ignored by the establishment.

The economy and national security rank high among the concerns of voters in both parties. But when they turn on their TV’s they see Democratic leaders obsessing over identity politics and climate change, and Republican leaders promoting Chamber of Commerce causes such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and porous borders.

The conditions were ripe for a populist revolt. Hence, the early successes of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

We were all taught that the United States of America is a constitutional republic, not a pure democracy.  We accept a certain amount of top-down governance in exchange for stability and order, and in a rigid two-party system such as ours we are not surprised that establishment candidates will have significant advantages over the upstarts.  But consider whether the following might merit a little outrage.

We didn’t get too far into the primaries before we heard allegations of what can only be described as voter suppression, which not surprisingly always seemed to work in favor of the establishment.  And it doesn’t seem to matter which party controls the voting apparatus.  The primaries in Arizona (Republican), Colorado (Democrat), New York (Democrat) have all resulted in controversy.  Limited polling places, absurd registration deadlines, and changed party registrations are among the complaints.

In some states shenanigans with delegates have nullified or mitigated electoral victories.  Take Trump’s decisive win in South Carolina, for example. And recall that Hillary’s supposed big win in Iowa was not the result of the caucus process—which at best resulted in a tie—but rather of the super delegates she had already paid for prior to the election.

And speaking of super delegates, why do they even exist?  For the purpose of protecting establishment candidates from grass-roots competition.  DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz shockingly admitted as much.

All this may be cause for even more revolt, as the establishment tactics have gotten even more high-handed the closer we get to the National convention.

What has followed post-Iowa has simultaneously been the most inspiring, exciting, interesting, depressing, maddening, and shameful election cycle in recent memory. There are more columns to come, which will shed light on aspects of the election ignored by the mainstream media.  Stay tuned.

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