Sunday, November 20, 2016

 

Sunday Reflection: Good-Bye, Hilly Kinton




Last Sunday I was reading the Times and came across Jesse Wegman's piece about a Hillary Clinton action figure (which his daughter called "Hilly Kinton"). It was beautiful and sad. It still is rolling around in my head, and I think it perfectly reflects my mood.

A lot of people are angry about this election, but to people like me it feels more like a deep wound to the soul. Our work has been premised on an idea of America-- one that is fundamentally good, able to change, and moving towards what is better-- and this election seems a repudiation of that idea. I have thought that we are moving along that arc of history far down the line from Bull Connor and the fire hoses. Now I wonder not whether we are still moving forward, but whether that arc really does bend towards justice, or even exists at all.

Here in Minnesota the most prominent minority, Somalis, have the distinction of being immigrants and black and Muslim.  The stories (from eyewitnesses) in the wake of the election are harrowing: fights in the hallways, girls' hijabs being torn off. In nearby Iowa, similar things are happening.

I suppose that this is what if feels like to lose an idea, an idea at the center of your being. So what do we do?

First, I guess we (those of us working on clemency) will try to free the prisoners we can. Now that we know that Senator Sessions will be the AG, I think the right analogy is the last chopper out of Saigon. We just need to make sure it is as big as possible.

Second, we need to accept that elections have consequences. Donald Trump won this election. Those of us who did not support him have to actively analyze why he did, and how we can get a different outcome in the future.  

Comments:
The first party that broke for the establishment lost. It was a torch and pitchfork election. Some of us (I have a few small wagers to collect from people who assured me that Hillary Clinton could not lose; I should have asked for odds), anyway, thought the seismic potential was there. Please know that I did not support Donald Trump.

There was a terrific piece of long form journalism in The Guardian shortly after the election. I can't recommend it enough.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/nov/03/trump-supporters-us-elections

The Democratic party bears heavy responsibility too, for pushing forward a candidate with 50% unfavorables, acquired over a score of years -- unfavorables that stood the test of time. This was really suicidal.

Die hard Clinton fans say, "Yes, but Trump's were that high or higher!" (A genuinely ringing endorsement, no?) As The Guardian article suggests, though, his unfavorables were meltable, did melt, at least among enough people for him to take the contest.

I laid out the Democratic party's role in the loss a little more in a Commentary I had in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Tuesday, as part of my endorsement of Keith Ellison for the new DNC chair.

http://www.startribune.com/in-search-of-a-new-dnc-chair-keith-ellison-fits/401182755/
 
I no sooner hit the "send" button and another opinion piece from The Guardian pops up. The lede is:

"Hillary Clinton has given us back our freedom. Only such a crushing defeat could break the chains that bound us to the New Democrat elites."

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/20/clinton-gone-silver-lining-trump-victory

Good-Bye, Hilly Kinton, indeed.

Well, maybe. I do hear rumors that a Clinton candidate for DNC chair will emerge who has the support of Clinton's big funders. Maybe one already has in Howard Dean.
 
Steve, we did not realize how right Bernie was!
 
Hillary Clinton will be very much part of the "revolution" along with Bernie and hopefully all those who were duped by the republican party. She remains a rare example of what we hope for in public service. Hillary Clinton and public service have been rejected by a misinformed electorate.

Hazem Salem's piece in the Guardian that Steve mentions is a convenient way of looking at our election for all those that saw Hillary and Donald as equal moral and ethical threats to our democracy. The conservative and liberal elites history of not acknowledging the distrust and animus the average guy had for the elite class is better laid out by George Packer in the October 31 2016 New Yorker before the election.

The article is long and is titled "The Unconnected"
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/31/hillary-clinton-and-the-populist-revolt

 
I am afraid, John, that if the Clintons continue to influence the Democrats, we will be like the restored Bourbons; we will have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.


 
For the few of you who are readers of LeftMN, you will undoubtedly read that again.
 
Not sure how right Bernie was. I think the Dems will take the wrong lesson and go hard left. Hillary didn't lose because she wasn't liberal enough; she lost because she took the Rust Belt as a given and didn't spend enough time there talking policy.
 
That piece was heartbreaking, but I'm so glad I read it.

And since we're sharing analysis from the UK, a friend linked to this one yesterday from the London Review of Books: http://www.lrb.co.uk/2016/11/14/rw-johnson/trump-some-numbers
 
Anonymous-- That is the part Bernie was right about. He went to those places and got it. And I do think there are people in the Democratic party who see that-- and the cost of Hillary Clinton ignoring Bill Clinton's advice to decline an invite at Notre Dame and skip visiting Wisconsin altogether during the general election.
 
Megan
The London Review of Books piece was helpful in understanding the rejection of "business as usual". Thanks.

 
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