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January 23, 2017

Both Parties Lost the Election

Occupy Washington May Be The Winner

This is certainly not a time of Republican triumph at the presidential level. Trump’s trouncing of Republican establishment candidates (one of whom I supported) was much more overwhelming than his victory over a weak Democratic candidate with many self-inflicted wounds. At least up to the end, Hillary was probably more the candidate of the REPUBLICAN establishment than Trump was. That’s because the establishment is establishment first and Republican or Democrat second. It’s quite possible that Trump would’ve lost to Sanders. Republicans can take pride in the way they’ve been winning state elections.

Democrats, on the other hand, couldn’t win behind an extremely well-financed and experienced candidate running against an opponent whose polling negatives haven’t been matched in recent history by anyone (except the Democratic candidate), who has a demonstrated lack of self-control, and who was opposed by most of his party’s establishment. Yeah, in a close election any one factor can be picked out as decisive – but Democrats have to ask themselves how did this ever get so close in the first place.  The context is that Republicans kept control of both houses of Congress and won control of more states. WikiLeaks and James Coney didn’t do that.

None of the above is actually the party that won the presidential election. If you add up the Bernie voters and The Trump voters and subtract the overlap; I believe you will find a very sizable majority of Americans both in the heartland and on the coasts who are very angry at the establishment and very ready for change. Washington, DC is very practiced at the swing from R to D and back every couple of elections; now it’s being occupied by outsiders.

It’s not surprising that Washingtonians, who gave Trump only 5% of their votes, didn’t turn out in droves to hear him denounce their city as the den of all evils which inflict America. What is amazing and very unfortunate is 1) Trump was surprised by the low turnout 2) (and much more important) his thin-skinned and intemperate reaction to it. He became obsessed; he rained on his own inaugural weekend.

Like most Americans on the left and right, I think we need fairly radical change in many areas. I do think America wanted an outsider (even if they differed as to which one) as their president. Change isn’t easy or even always pretty. Change agents are often strange people. But I also think the new President has to calm down and settle down quickly. I hope he does. I think most Americans feel the same way.

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