November 9th, 2016

don't boo

Some less scattered thoughts on last night's election results

But probably still a little scattered, since I didn't get much sleep last night.

1. I wasn't expecting this because nobody was expecting this. Reportedly, even the GOP's internal polling showed Donald Trump heading for defeat. And yet, here we are. Between this massive miss and Brexit, I hope polling organizations put some work and thought into figuring out what went wrong and how to fix it. Or, if polling is broken past the point of fixing, come up with something to replace it.

2. I do not want to see a single TV segment, article, thinkpiece, Facebook post, or Tweet discussing the issue of low turnout (and it was VERY low for a presidential election, not much over 50%) that does not mention the Voting Rights Act. Voter suppression wasn't the only factor, of course. I don't want to oversimplify the situation. But 2016 was the first presidential election since the Supreme Court effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act, and the 2016 president-elect is a white nationalist. This is not a coincidence.

3. Relatedly, we white people have got to step up and own the truth that Trump is our problem. There is no way to shirk the blame anymore. I'm sure you've all seen the maps going around: how women voted, how Millennials voted, etc. But those maps are lacking some important context: no matter how you slice and dice the demographic data -- by age, by gender, by education, by income -- in every category, more white people voted for Trump, and more people of color voted for Clinton. (The only exception I could find was white college educated women, who just barely went for Clinton. That's a pretty narrow demographic.) None of us get to shirk responsibility on this one. We need to do a better job of educating our friends, our families. I know it's hard. I know it sometimes hurts, especially when it means confronting people we love. But it is long past time for us to step up. Although I'm still figuring out what this means in my own life, considering that I live in a pretty liberal, anti-racist bubble even among the white folks I know, including most of my family, I am committed to finding some way to do more.

4. In some respects, I'm not entirely sure where to go from here. I suspect a lot of people are feeling this way. It should not have taken the election of the worst presidential candidate in American history to be a wakeup call -- that's another mistake we need to own. But, again, here we are, and my preference is always to focus on what comes next. I hope the Democrats can manage to pull together and present a united front rather than lining up for the usual circular firing squad. Unfortunately, I've already seen a number of attempts to point fingers around inside the left. I'm not saying that it isn't useful to figure out what mistakes, if any, might have been made (see above re. polling). But if we are to fight for the future, and we MUST fight for the future, we need to do it together.

Stay safe, everyone. Mourn, heal, and get ready. Hillary Clinton may have lost the presidency, but I still believe we are Stronger Together. May that be her legacy, and may that be how we move forward.

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