Thoughts on the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, and the path ahead

So it’s a little over half a day since the election results became final. President Barack Obama spoke about the election results earlier today (he gave an incredibly gracious and above-board speech about a president-elect committed to destroying his legacy), and Hillary Clinton also gave her concession speech (which I did finally watch in its entirety, as difficult as that was).

I didn’t even mention in the previous posts that President-elect Trump never released his tax returns. That was an important “highlight” I left out, along with some things like the “7-11” gaffe. Then again, what I did mention pretty much stands on its own. The only thing left to do now is hope that Mr. Trump is a better president than candidate. The entirety of his campaign left a lot to be desired. Mr. Trump’s campaign, from the beginning, seemed more like a joke campaign than an earnest campaign for president.

As I’ve said elsewhere (and which I’ll probably repeat), the White House is not the set of the next season of The Apprentice or some other reality TV show, this whole president thing is reality and reality is way different than a reality TV show. Reality television is more television than reality, and perhaps can be more accurately called reality-flavored television. The reality “flavoring” of reality TV can be compared to that artificial barbecue or sour cream and onion flavoring on potato chips. Those flavorings rarely, if ever, taste like actual barbecue or sour cream and onion; in much the same way, reality TV rarely if ever reflects the actual reality of what happened, especially when “creative editing” comes into play. It resembles reality just enough that some people mistake it for that.

We have a little over two months left before President Obama’s term officially ends. If Mr. Trump really intends to be a “president for all Americans” as he said in his victory speech, I certainly hope that he realizes just what Obama’s legacy means to all of us who voted for him, and to many of us who voted for Hillary Clinton in the hope that legacy would continue be honored.

I don’t know how many readers I have left from the early days, but you’ll notice I do tend to lean left on most issues. (If you’re just now finding this blog, I do keep the archives up for a reason.) The inauguration of Donald Trump as our 45th President on 2017 January 20 will also begin a new era for Rant Roulette, as it will be the first day this blog has existed in its current form under a Republican president. (There was a brief period for the first two months of this blog, before I settled into to the current format, where George W. Bush was still the sitting president prior to the inauguration of Barack Obama.)

This is not unlike the situation faced by, say, Rush Limbaugh after the inauguration of Bill Clinton. Far from being the end of Mr. Limbaugh’s infamous radio show, it was a new beginning (he was even on TV for a while). In the same vein, some may have thought, somewhat naïvely, that this is the end of Rant Roulette. Rest assured this is most definitely not the end of Rant Roulette, in fact in all likelihood it’s going to be a new beginning. Whether President-elect Trump fulfills his campaign slogan and truly “make[s] America great again” remains to be seen. But certainly, it’s going to be my goal over the next four years to make Rant Roulette worth reading again, and I will definitely have a lot more to write about come next January. I compare the election of Donald Trump to being handed a bucketful of lemons; there’s plenty of lemonade to be made in the years ahead.

The worst election night I have ever lived through

I’m going to summarize the last five to six hours or so. Basically, the TV has been tuned to KHOU-TV (channel 11 in Houston, our local CBS affiliate) watching the CBS News coverage of the election. Next to the TV, I have the laptop with IRC open and chatting with some people who happened to be talking about the election, with the web browser open to check results of the local elections (I’ll get to those tomorrow). I have watched as Donald Trump has inched closer and closer to the 270 electoral votes required to win the presidency. CBS News has shown both the Trump and Clinton campaigns’ election watch parties. I get why the people at the Clinton watch party are downright crestfallen; some were even crying.

I’m more angry than sad right now. There is still a very faint glimmer of hope remaining that enough of the last few states will turn blue on the map and Hillary Clinton will be our next president. As I write this, the electoral vote tally is 244 to 215 in favor of Trump. The reporters are all talking about how he pulled this off, the campaign stops Hillary Clinton didn’t make, the voters Donald Trump attracted, yada yada yada.

They also brought up that it’s been rare that the same party wins three presidential elections in a row. That may be true, but we’ve never had a candidate this unqualified and who has behaved this badly and this erratically throughout the campaign. That terrifies me. It terrified me this morning before I voted, and it terrifies me now that I’m back home watching the election coverage.

I’m not calling it either way right now. I’m hoping something changes big time before CBS News signs off for the night. I’ll be back on tomorrow night with some final national election thoughts after I discuss the local elections.

Thoughts on the 2016 election season

A bit late, I know, but I want to get something out there for many reasons.

As alluded to in the previous entry, I have not ignored the goings on with the 2016 presidential race. I voted in the Democratic primary for Bernie Sanders. Though he did not win Texas, and eventually conceded the nomination to Hillary Clinton, I still feel Bernie would have been a far better choice for president.

When I read Bernie conceded the nomination, it was the biggest letdown I have ever felt over a candidate in the primaries. That day was the first truly sad day of a pretty sad week. It became obvious, of course, that those in charge of the Democratic party wanted Hillary to win at just about any cost–something which sparked outrage within the party, and which led to the eventual resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and not a moment too soon.

As bad as that may have been, what happened on the Republican side is far more terrifying. I have never in my lifetime seen a candidate so obviously unqualified to be president actually win the nomination. I noticed Donald Trump running for the Republican nomination, and I thought it was one of those joke campaigns that had no realistic chance of winning, and that we’d at least see the Democratic candidate (this is before Hillary won) face off against someone remotely qualified to run the country sitting in the White House come next January.

And then, excuse my French, the shit really hit the fan. Mr. Trump showed he was a jerk with no regard for the law on so many occasions it’s hard to remember them all. The “highlights”, some of which happened before Trump actually won the nomination, include inciting a riot in North Carolina, the infamous “grab ‘em by the (genitalia)” tape leaked, instructing security to eject protesters out into subzero temperatures without their coats, and demonstrating a terrifying lack of understanding of foreign policy by asking “why can’t we just nuke Russia”. There’s also building a wall at the Mexican border, his anti-Islamic statements, and last but certainly not least, Mr. Trump has refused to release his tax returns sparking all kinds of speculation. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is, Mr. Trump is the personification of everything that’s wrong with the Republican party as we know it today.

I’m not even going to get into the whole emails debacle. I’ll just say there’s a huge double standard, and that when the Republicans do what Hillary did with emails, they have no problem with it. Yes, that’s ludicrous and hypocritical. No, it doesn’t surprise me anymore.

Adding to the frustration is that the system is horribly broken regarding third-party candidates. When I feel more like diving into details, I may go into this more in another post, but suffice it to say that today, the way presidential debates are organized, only the Republican and Democratic candidates are invited. They are organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is run by leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties. Worse, so many states do a “winner take all” allocation of electoral votes. Meaning, in theory, if Donald Trump has one more popular vote than Hillary Clinton in a state like California or Florida, it’s the same as if he wins by a 90%-10% margin or a 60%-40% margin.

And the rest of the world wonders why the USA is so messed up sometimes.

Perhaps the worst part about it is, the polls showed that Bernie would have crushed Mr. Trump in the general election. Yet Bernie is not who the Democratic Party put out there; Hillary is. Granted, at least Hillary has some idea what the job entails, having been in the White House during her husband’s two terms, and is somewhat qualified having been a senator and Secretary of State in the past. The flip side of that is the awkward truth embodied in the old joke that Bill Clinton is the best Republican president we’ve had (he ran as a Democrat). I wasn’t eligible to vote yet in the 1992 election, and honestly I’m not sure who I would have voted for even if I did. (I used to lean much farther right than I do today.)

I’ll be honest, I don’t like Hillary Clinton a whole lot. But I really, really, really don’t like Donald Trump, and I’m horrified he’s made it this far and that the Republican Party has given him this long of a leash. The presidency is not a damn reality TV show! This is not a four-year-long taping of The Apprentice! Sheesh! (Yeah, I voted for Hillary. I could not risk voting a third party with some of the last polls saying Texas was effectively a toss-up or swing state.)

So, why did it take so damn long for me to write this post? The few times where I had time to start writing a post about the election season, I actually got a bit queasy. It was still difficult getting it all out there today. I’m not sure how to fix this hot mess we call the presidential elections, but I do know there’s a lot that needs fixing.

If anyone has any good ideas on where to begin, feel free to comment below.