ELECTION PLAN B AND THE MORNING AFTER
Early ballot counts inadvertently predicted the 2016 Presidential election outcome. In a nervous and surreal suspension of time, Hillary Clinton held three electors against Donald Trump’s 19 votes, flipping collective liberal stomachs. Watching Trump’s unexpectedly potent challenge of liberal expectations became more than a bad date. The blue condom literally broke, with no Election Plan B to prevent conception.
Rather than spending a sleepless night in conjecture, I joined the many who quit watching during the few minutes Clinton held a marginal lead. After months of foreplay, we (the previously mentioned collective of now exhausted liberals) purposefully skipped the media’s rhetorical attempts at explaining the flawed pundit predictions and Pew polls with Polly-Ana platitudes. I awoke the next day to news of the Trump electoral win, took a Xanax, then went back to bed to ponder a 2016 election Plan B. No morning after pill for this election night screw. Canada, perhaps?
Metaphorically sticking my head in the sand seemed the best advice to avoid anxious apocalyptic scenarios. Scenarios, such as a yellow fluff of hair and a screwed-up face, screaming bigoted vengefulness with a finger on the BIG button.
IS THIS ELECTION PLAN B OR HAS NUCLEAR WINTER ARRIVED?
Ironically, the day after the election was so dreary; even the Houston sky was sad. Checking for signs of a nuclear winter, not a single ray of sun penetrated the overcast sky. No apocalypse, just a grey sky in an eerie show of sympathy to Harris County’s blue feminist and minority constituency.
By late afternoon, I bravely crawled out of my sheet-tent and took the walk of shame to my computer. Megamedia speculations analyzing the largely unexpected Trump win dominated my home page. I searched the headlines for an implementable election morning plan B–some intelligent assessment of sheer stupidity. Radio host and author Garrison Keillor caught my attention with his Washington Post opinion. In “Trump voters will not like what happens next”, Keillor analyzes the outcome and advises brooding liberals.
UNEDUCATED WHITE VOTERS JOIN THE PARTY
Keillor premises that The Donald’s largely uneducated white male supporters joined the Trump movement for the party, small “p”. Caught up in the suddenly socially acceptable raucousness, they joined and enjoyed the madness. Let me even further surmise and clarify with a more accurate statement: They were in it TO party. Trump supporters were rolling on the actual festivities. The beer, the hollering, the groping. No one ever expected him to WIN the damn thing (2016).
Prior to the election, The New York Times reported a possible path to victory for Trump through the largest bloc of registered voters: uneducated white males. Their caveat to this hypothesis was that half of this demographic failed to intercourse with a ballot in the previous election, leaving 29 million sleeping votes. (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/07/us/how-trump-can-win.html). Assured of Clinton’s win, the opposing party brushed aside any such threat, without the protection of an election plan B. After the Election Day results, The New York Times reiterated their claim, and excused their caveat: The pre-election polls were simply unable to anticipate the large turnout of rural, white, working-class voters in key states (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/10/upshot/why-trump-won-working-class-whites.html), which begs the question, was it cognitive inability or technical inability? I boldly claim the former, positing that critical thinking processes were dismissed in favor of computer poll processing.
PLAN C: THE FAITHLESS ELECTORATE AND A RIGGED ELECTION
Now that he has won the Presidential election, let the Republicans deal with him, writes Keillor flippantly. Still, his benign words only temporarily comfort dejected liberals searching for an election Plan B to prevent implantation.
“I’ll accept the election results,” Trump finally acquiesces in a pre-election stump speech, his followers clapping at the ghost of a change in his contentious “we’ll see” stance. Then, after a long pause, Trump caveats his statement with celebrity theatrics: “if I win!” The crowd roars as he rants of a “rigged” election process, possibly the only truthful slip of the tongue during his campaign. That he and Putin share a bed is obvious; the depth of their affair is unthinkably unexpected.
By the first Monday after the second Wednesday in the month of December, the time for an election Plan B passed, and an intense campaign to court faithless electorates failed (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/05/opinion/why-i-will-not-cast-my-electoral-vote-for-donald-trump.html?_r=0). Awaiting inauguration, Trump seems unconcerned that more than one-half of the country want’s him aborted as he fills a nepotistic and conflicted cabinet with assorted billionaires.
THE TRUMP CONSTITUENCY: STUPID, SCARED OR BOTH?
Although we cannot change America’s 2016 choice without changing our country’s founding premise of free elections, we can ignore the 2016 electoral choice…at least for the moment. Then, Americans must examine the decline in intelligence and the rise in fear of our populace; or more concisely, how Americans went stupid with fear. This socio-political phenomenon, first defined by Thomas Hobbes in the 17th century, explains how a frightened and neglected citizenry will choose a despotic leader rather than enter into a “state of nature” (1651) [i].
This is not news, yet the news missed it. Liberal politicians and the educated electorate missed it, too. Statistical demographics of this election largely support the hypothesis that illiteracy, ignorance and fear rule too many American lives. By capitalizing on the seething anger of under-educated eligible voters who suffered most in the 2008 recession, Trump re-enfranchised this previously quiet demographic with loud propaganda and undefined promises to “Make America Great (Again)”.
NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL FAILURE IS NO SURPRISE
“I am now going to pay more attention to teachers,” Keillor writes in his concluding sentence, positing that Trump won the presidency through the unexpected turnout of uneducated white voters. Keillor’s conclusion supports inductive reasoning of educational failure and fearful ignorance. Presently, there is plenty of support for this implicit claim.
Our educational system is broken, has failed us, and we know it. American students rank 23rd in math and 31st in science compared to other industrial countries. Greater than one out of every four adults read below a fifth-grade level (http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/09/opinion/bennett-stem-education/index.html). In September 2016, the Pew Fact Tank reported that uneducated white males preferred Trump over Clinton by 14 points. The same study found that educated white males favored Clinton by a 25-point margin. If the spread holds, researchers then prophesized, the 2016 election “…will be the widest educational divide in any election in the last several decades” (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/09/15/educational-divide-in-vote-preferences-on-track-to-be-wider-than-in-recent-elections/)
But for now, let the Republicans in power worry about Trump; roll out your yoga mats, grow some heirloom tomatoes, and read Jane Austen one more time, Keillor advises. Not necessarily the election Plan B that many would prefer, and so I caveat that advice with this thought: another election cycle is in four years. Liberals, start now to secure impenetrable protection, and have a Trump Re-Election Plan B ready.
[i] Thomas Hobbes’ (1588-1679) socio-political theory defines the “state of nature” as “the war of all against all“. Only a strong, undivided political system could provide the social structure to prevent a “state of nature”, claims Hobbes. Hobbes explains this behavior by concluding that man’s greatest fear is a violent death at the hands of another [human being] (1651, Leviathan). [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellum_omnium_contra_omnes]
*Title inspired by @MxTr3y social media comment.
GARRISON KEILLOR: Trump voters will not like what happens next