’Making America great again’ is a politically correct statement. Hillary Clinton can make that statement. Every party in effect, promises it in a way.
People were calling for pollsters’ heads on election night. The polls were off, the polls were wrong, the polls weren’t even close. Inevitably there will be a discussion on the system of asking and reporting voting intention, but right now everyone is preoccupied with the effect of that polling being off and how a nation is dealing with the aftermath.
Disconnect is not only the word du jour, but arguably, the whole calendar year. It was there in the votes, the polling, the media, the campaigning – it was almost always present for Hillary Clinton. But, the day after the election, she made her concession speech. From The Atlantic:
“But after conceding the election to Donald Trump in the Wednesday’s early-morning hours, she had to concede to the nation.”
And she did – she conceded to a nation that refused a connection with the democratic nominee at every turn.
But despite that, her concession speech revealed even more clearly her deep love of country and system. And this is pure projection – but if you want to, it’s hard not to hear it as someone leaning into a system that you believe must work, somehow, because otherwise the alternative, the flaws, are too much. That after a life committed to that very system you only double down to fixate on things that are at least tangible processes and procedures, because the intangibles seem insurmountable.
Immediately following her speech, it was reported and considered as a moving and emotional moment from a woman who has been labelled robotic and disingenuous since she first engaged in political life. A speech that caused a twinge, or perhaps, even more – a recognition that equality is not a reality – from contingents who never fully warmed to her, and an outpouring of emotion from those who were hoping for a different kind of historic than an eloquent apology and a statement to little girls to believe in their value.
For the palliative attempts at “congressional checks” and whatever else is said on the potential obstacles Trump faces in pushing forth his policies, it’s all for naught for portions of the American population who are afraid for their next four years. What does and does not get traction at this point within the United States is so openly disparate amongst its constituents that what resonates for one group is distinct and polarizing from what does for another.
Since Brexit, much has been said about the disenfranchisement of white, rural voters and their anger and resentment toward a broken system that no longer reflects their needs or speaks to their concerns. Before the election, an SNL skit recently highlighted the similarities between these voters and their concerns and disenfranchised black Americans, but it still ended on a note that made clear there are some divides that can be overwhelming. But the exit polls revealed that the differences are both more complicated and more clearly delineated than the overall population was aware – although segments had their suspicions before the numbers were actually counted and presented in percentages. There are many things about the election – income, race, gender – and how each one is getting addressed reveals the amount of work still needed to get traction for moving deeply entrenched cultural and societal attitudes.
So again, the data. It all suggested it was going the other way. What got traction? Why was it so hard to tell before November 8th? We are just as confused at these results as everyone else. So this week, we revisit an earlier episode, pre-election, when support for Trump was less decided and the odds seemed much more in Hillary Clinton’s favour.