I’m a brown man. I get selected for extra screening when I don’t shave for a few days. I have no doubts that the next four years will not only be the worst of my life and those of everyone else who will be brutally impacted – the poor, LatinX folk, the disabled, LGBTQ+ people, Muslims, and almost uncountable others. After staying up to watch the returns come in with an increasing sense of disbelief, I expected waking up wanting to grieve for my country.
I woke up angry.
Let me be clear - I’m not angry at Donald Trump’s supporters. The majority of them are not the irredeemable bigots that many are making them out to be. They voted for someone they thought would break a system that has locked them out of the halls of power for years and callously called them obsolete relics, people whose deaths would lead to a permanent Democratic majority. I vehemently disagree with their choice, but I see why they made it.
I am angry at Hillary Clinton and her campaign. I am angry at their arrogance in believing that white working class people could be safely ignored and left to die in opioid-addicted towns in the Rust Belt. I am angry at their inability to recognize that the people don’t want or need more neoliberal bullshit – they don’t want the “freedom” to pick from 15 different health plans all of whom have premiums that are skyrocketing. They don’t want the job “retraining” that Democrats have promised for years but have never been able to deliver on while manufacturing jobs continue to be decimated thanks to trade deals that Democrats pass.
They don’t care what the hell Lena Dunham has to say about anything. They don’t give a shit that John Oliver “eviscerated” Donald Trump by calling him “Drumpf” or that Samantha Bee’s diatribes condescension-dripping diatribes were well received by the Facebook/Twitter literati. They don’t care about any of it and who could blame them?
This election and the inability of the Clinton campaign to have even a modicum of connection to white working-class people has revealed the astounding moral bankruptcy of the Democratic party. It has become a party of a technocratic, managerial elite (the consulting, banking, tech unicorn types that many of us aspire to be) that demands loyalty from its minority constituents based on the platform of “it’s us or the apocalypse.”
Well, now the apocalypse has come.
The truly scary part? We are all left live in its ruins while the elite get to retreat to their make-work “think-tanks” and the lucrative lecture circuit to lick their wounds.
More than anything else, Donald Trump’s election should make it desperately, blindingly clear the need for some sort of politics that actually works for the forgotten working class – closer to Bernie Sanders than Hillary Clinton. Nothing else can defeat Trump.
We must resist Trump’s authoritarian urges for the next 4 years. We must resist them with every fiber of our being. But we must also rebuild so that we can truly become a party of the people.
The Democratic party must never forget the tragic errors it made in 2016 and if it does, it need not be our party.