What beat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election wasn’t Donald Trump’s well-oiled machinery, American bigotry or the Republican Party. It was God or, if you prefer, “the facts” which did it. Hillary’s real enemy was Obama’s real record of failure added to her own. Low-wage growth, a disastrous foreign policy, a catastrophic Obamacare, and numerous scandals to name a few weighed down on her like an anvil heavier than any insult that Donald Trump could lay upon her.
It’s important for progressives to realize this, for they are even now casting about for something to blame. Paul Krugman tweeted: “I truly thought I knew my country better than it turns out I did. I have warned that we could become a failed state, but didn’t realize …” Realize what? That the electorate wouldn’t notice the last administration’s debacles?
It seems difficult to believe now, but the political establishment actually believed that enough spin, a sufficiently slick Narrative, an overwhelming number of celebrity endorsements, and enough psychological manipulation could triumph over reality. That enough thrust could make a barn door fly. The idea was that the Narrative could beat the Facts, both now and however often it was called upon to do so.
The Hillary machine went up against the facts and the facts won. It’s important to remember this lest Donald Trump’s advisers in his moment of triumph should think it was he that triumphed over the most awe-inspiring, G-damned, awesome, political machine that ever was. He did well, but in the most fundamental sense the facts won in the end.
Now as it faces the real chance of entering the Oval Office it is important for the incoming administration to realize that however important the campaign is, it is even more important to know how to govern. And if you can’t govern at least not stand in middle of the road like a toll collector. For the next president to succeed he must do better than Barack Obama. He must stop the rot. He must tell the truth. He must respect the Constitution and the laws.
It’s not enough to give nice speeches or engage in teaching moments.. The facts are more important. Michael F. Cannon tweeted: “think of your least favorite presidential candidate. Now imagine s/he wins. Doesn’t limiting government power seem like a good idea?” Would the progressives agree with that now?
Put not your trust in princes it is said, though some princes are better than others. Rely rather on factual success. If there’s one lesson the last years should have taught everyone it is that the biggest victim of a lie are those who tell it — and believe it themselves. Never corrupt your database. It may lead you over the cliff in the end. Yet there is in recent events an element of grace. Other countries learn this harsh lesson only through pain, tears and bloodshed. America may have learned it in a relatively painless political exercise.
Maybe G … or maybe Space Aliens still watch over America. Does it matter who? What matters is what.
“Even if HRC pulls it out,” Krugman Tweets, “how does she govern? The GOP has shown itself completely craven; now it will be fully in thrall to the crazies.” How indeed? As Iowahawk put it: “Hillary Clinton got her dream opponent, a barely literate reality show orangutan, AND SHE LOST TO HIM.” There is something definitely wrong with Hillary and they may as well face it. Krugman can’t bring himself to accept that the old political game is temporarily suspended; a casualty of the worldwide pushback against the liberal order that manifested itself first in Brexit and now in Trump. It must be heeded and responded to until it has run its political course. It cannot be dismissed as nonexistent.
Someday there may be left wing president, a woman, even a Muslim chief executive in the White House more to Krugman’s liking after this incoming crop of politicians has contributed, worn itself out and been changed by the electorate. But not today. Today it is someone else’s turn and we should listen to what they have to say.
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