In 2006 I was enrolled in freshman English comp. We were asked to write a short piece predicting something in the future. It is a surprisingly difficult thing to do. My piece was entitled, “Hillary Clinton Will Never be Elected President.” I claim no victory from this claim, because not only were some of my reasons for believing this misguided, but more importantly I haven’t believed this for a good 2 years.
Like many of you, I watched as the republican primaries unfolded, watched the Grand Old Party tear itself apart from the inside. I watched as Lincoln’s party abandoned many of what I view as its core values, and ultimately nominate the most unlikely of men. I couldn’t see any path where Clinton wasn’t the next president, and that was before fights with the Kahn family, insults to Ted Cruz’s wife, multiple allegations of sexual assault and a conversation on a bus. Truth be told, I lost all desire for my 2006 prediction to come true. But somehow, inexplicably, it did.
Let’s be clear, everyone got this one wrong. Even those who predicted a Trump win weren’t hoping for Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, a nearly double digit win in Ohio? What happened?
Right, wrong or indifferent, the American people decided that the system was fixed. I don’t think we ever made a big enough deal out of the fact that Hillary Clinton almost lost the democratic primary. Despite dominating the super delegates, despite having far more resources and a much more organized campaign Clinton almost lost. And the system seemed… rigged.
Most of the major news outlets were firmly in Hillary’s camp, or at least that was the narrative. And then came the last straw, the FBI announced that they would not file charges against Hillary Clinton for her handling of government E-mails. And for the last time, the system felt rigged. We will never know what would have happened had James Comey simply announced that they were still investigating. But would the system still have seemed unfair? I would argue that it would not, not in the same visceral way.
In the final analysis, American voters felt that their voice didn’t really matter, and if I’m being honest I have felt the same way for a long time. I wasn’t a fan of either presidential candidate, most Americans weren’t. Both had serious character flaws, lapses in judgement, possibly even criminal behavior. We have made our choice. That was the easy part, now we have to live with it, but at least it was still our choice. Look, I’m not thrilled with our president elect, but someone had to win and for now, surprisingly, it doesn’t feel like America lost.